Maybe my late blog gives me away, but 2016 has started out a little rough.
My first night in the container house was December 23rd…. my first day of running water was 2 days ago. The 2 weeks in the middle were a little more like squatting in my own house than living in it. I had been hauling water by the bucket (which I understand is a reality for many people) and showering at my parents’ house. It wasn’t luxurious, but i gained a lot of perspective in that time.
The majority of us, in the western world, have ample access to clean, running water, mostly right in our very homes. This is a privilege I can honestly say that in the past, I have absolutely taken for granted. This experience has prompted me to do some research and look into all the ways we can better use that water, and waste as little as possible. By doing this we can be respectful of our planet, the global water crisis and communities without such luxuries, as well as being humble first world citizens.
A large portion of unnecessarily wasted water is “Grey Water”. It is the water from our sinks (including dishwater), bathtubs and laundry machines that is not totally unsanitary and could be used again for purposes other than direct consumption. Think of the places where we use fresh water where it is not required, toilets and gardens for example (these are the big ones in my house).
Disconnecting the j trap under the sinks and allowing the water to run into a bucket is an easy way to save your grey water for repurposing. It may require a watchful eye to make sure your bucket doesn’t overflow, but being mindful is the name of the game, non? From there you can dump that water in the tank or bowl of your toilet to flush it. Toilets are responsible for 31% of overall household water consumption. You could stand to save 31% of your water bill, couldn’t you?
Plants and gardens are also a big one for me. I love gardening and have many houseplants that at one point i was watering with fresh water until i learned about the grey water method. As long as you are using environmentally-friendly soaps, dishwater and bathwater are perfectly fine for your plants and gardens (actually they might even be better for them!). I found a great instructable that shows the easy way that the author rigged her laundry washing machine to drain out to spaghetti lines that water her garden.
But it doesn’t have to be a plumbing project, saving grey water can be as easy as showering with the plug in and scooping it out later.
Besides grey water, the same methods can be used with harvested rain water or snow melt. If you were raised at the lake, like me then these are probably all methods you have used or at least heard of before. I didn’t, but could have mentioned the old, “If it’s yellow, let it mellow…”…