In the spirit of World Water Day, we looked at one of the lesser talked-about ways we waste water in our everyday lives. Surprisingly, it was more common than expected.
We ran an online survey of 1,113 adults in the US and found that close to one in three adults would let the bathroom faucet run while they were in the bathroom.
This was just one of several methods that people used in an attempt to mask the noise. Others resorted to turning on the shower, flushing the toilet as they pooped, turning on music, placing toilet paper in the bowl, or even doing some fake coughs.
Embarrassment was the primary reason for people taking such actions. Some participants shared more specific motives for trying to hide the noise.
• "I am embarrassed that my fiancé will wind me up about me going to the toilet"
• "As I suffer with irritable bowel syndrome, I can produce a lot of noise. Whether I try to hide the bathroom noise depends on who is in the house!"
• "I only do it when I have an upset stomach. Just don't really want anyone to hear and then see me afterward, even though I know using the bathroom is a natural necessity"
• "I don't want others to judge the situation as it's quite personal"
Unfortunately, leaving the water faucet on as we use the toilet leads to the waste of precious water. To give you some perspective, the amount of water wasted would equate to the following if the survey results applied to the whole adult population in the US.
We were curious to see how these results compared with other countries so we asked the same questions to adults in the UK and Australia.
Turns out the UK adults weren't so different from their US counterparts with 35% of participants turning on the faucet while they are in bathroom. The Australians, on the other hand, were more conservative with their water usage with only 22% of participants turning on the faucet.
While the sound might be embarrassing, there are definitely more environmentally-friendly ways to deal with it. The Japanese, for example, seem to have already figured this out a while back by adding a music-playing feature to their high tech toilets.
More affordable options would be to set up a white noise machine or to simply play your favorite tunes on the phone.
Have any other great environmentally-friendly suggestions? Please share with us by using the comment form below.