3 Ways to Reuse and Recycle Water

Ideas to make good use of your water without wasting it

Water is a valuable resource, and we in the United States use much more than our fair share of it. Water conservation can help save money, and it can help save the environment. In addition to simply using less water, there are some ways to use the same water for multiple purposes right at home. Here are three ways to reuse and recycle water.

Use "gray water" on gardens and plants

"Gray water" is a term for water that has already been used in showers, bathtubs, sinks or dishwashers. This water is certainly not fit for human consumption, but it is clean enough to be used in gardens and on plants around the house.

Bathwater or shower water is best, but water that has been used to wash dishes is also okay, as long as there's not too much grease or food left on the dishes before they go into the washer. Water may be collected manually by scooping it out of the bathtub, or drainage pipes can be re-routed to a small storage tank.

According to the UMass Extension Landscape, Nursery, and Urban Forestry Team, a group of educators and specialists from different biology and ecology-based disciplines, one square foot of healthy soil can generally handle a half gallon of gray water each week. So if you've got a 10X10 ft. garden plot, you can recycle up to 50 gallons of gray water each week.

Use sink water to flush toilet waste

According to the Centre for Alternative Technology, a European ecological organization dedicated to developing earth-friendly technologies, 13,000 gallons of water are used by each person each year in developed countries to flush away only 165 gallons of waste! To make water usage more efficient, some water can serve two purposes before it leaves the home. Since it's not necessary to flush a toilet with clean water, pipes can be re-arranged so that gray water from the bathroom sink will fill the toilet's tank. Of course, Rover may be a little disappointed that his favorite drinking source tastes a little funny, but simply keeping the seat down can solve that problem.

Harvest rainwater

Just place a barrel at the bottom of a downspout and collect rainwater there. The EPA claims that a house with a 1,500 square foot roof in a region that gets at least 20 inches of rain a year could potentially collect 18,680 gallons of water annually. This water may then be used for watering lawns and gardens. Or, like some rainwater harvesters, you may even incorporate your own purification system, and be able to use this water for drinking.

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