The environmentally-conscious bathroom renovator knows disposing of old fixtures can be a waste of time and money.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australia has a strong dependence on landfill as a form of waste management. The majority of waste that is not recycled or re-used in Australia is disposed of in the nation's landfills.
Landfills can impact air, water and land quality. Landfill gas, mainly methane, is produced by decomposing organic waste which contributes to global warming when released to the air.
Water moving from, or through, landfill waste forms leachate, which has the potential to contaminate nearby surface and ground water. Potentially hazardous substances can also migrate through the surrounding soil via leachate or landfill gas.
Between 2001 and 2007, the volume of waste deposited to landfill increased by 12 per cent. In 2001, 19 million tonnes of waste were disposed to landfill, and by 2007 this had grown to more than 21.3 million tonnes.
Other indicators show that during 2006–07, nearly half (48 per cent) of all waste went to landfill sites. Approximately 60 per cent of municipal waste, 44 per cent of commercial and industrial waste, and 42 per cent of construction and demolition waste went into landfill in 2006–07 (EPHC 2009).
Increases in Australia’s population and per capita income over the period are likely to have contributed to the rise in waste production. This is due to the link between waste production and economic growth, whereby more waste is produced through the increased production and purchasing of goods and services.
In 2007-08, there were 31.7 million new televisions, computers and computer products sold in Australia. A further 16.8 million units reached the end of their life that year, and of these, 84 per cent were disposed to landfill (Hyder Consulting and PricewaterhouseCoopers 2009).
The bathroom is not only an incredibly expensive room to renovate in any given property, but it also involves an incredible amount of waste adding to our landfills every year.
Quite often, the fixtures and fittings in older bathrooms are of high quality but often not reused because of their outdated color schemes.
Bathroom re-enameling will not only save a significant amount of time and money, it is also a safe, environmentally friendly way to upcycle a bathroom. It has the potential to add another 15 to 20 years to the room's lifespan.
There are a range of companies out there that can do this work, but when choosing who to use, make sure that the enamel they use to resurface bathroom sanitary ware is epoxy-based and not a polyurethane (which contains dangerous isocyanates). Epoxy coatings are much safer to use and are usually tougher and long lasting.
An added benefit is that homeowners can always change the colour again in a few years time if trends change and they are looking for an update. It is an easy job to recoat the surface again in a modern decorator colour.
So rather than rip an bathroom out and add the perfect fixtures to Australia’s landfill, consider bathroom re-enamelling. It's surprising how much time, money and waste it will save and you can have peace of mind knowing that not only have you done your part for our increasing landfill problem but your new bathroom comes with a written guarantee.