What is grey water, you may be asking? It refers to water that is not suitable for drinking, but could be put to other uses. For example, you may not want to drink the same water that you used for rinsing fruits and vegetables (there’s a reason you rinse all that dirt off your food before you eat it), but there’s no reason that water can’t water your garden. So, rinsing your veggies into a bucket and using that water later is one easy way to reduce your water use. What are other ways you can re-claim your own water? I bet you love hot showers. And, I bet that it takes a few seconds for your shower water to heat up to the temperature you like. Imagine if you could keep a bucket in the shower, and let those first few seconds of cold water run into the bucket before you wash yourself. You could collect gallons of water a day – plenty to feed your lawn.
How about the water you drain after boiling pasta, or potatoes, or anything else that gets boiled then strained?
One note of caution when it comes to water you use to wash. If you use dish soaps that are nature-friendly, this water can also be reclaimed and used to water your garden, but some soaps can be harmful to plant life. Review the label on the back of your dish soap before using that grey water.
A similar note applies if you hand-wash your clothes. If your laundry detergent is plant-safe, feel free to use your leftover water in your lawn and garden, otherwise, you’ll want to just dump your chemical-filled grey water. Unfortunately, not all water can be reclaimed.
If you don’t garden or have a lawn, but still want to implement grey water in your own home, you can pour your excess water into your toilet tank. Each time you flush, your toilet empties its tank, so adding water to the tank in advance will lead to your toilet using less water with each flush.
Other uses could include the washing and cleaning you do, which can use non-drinkable water. Next time you want to give your car a nice wash, you can use your grey water. Or, if you want to scrub your floor, or do any kind of cleaning, you can repurpose this water any number of ways around your home.
Have ideas of your own you’d like to share? Post them here!