Grey Water

Thinking about wrangling your old, unruly house or apartment into a smaller carbon footprint? Tara Rae Miner is here to help. Tara's book Your Green Abode: A Practical Guide to a Sustainable Home is loaded with green home tips and best practices to your carbon footprint. To get started she suggests small lifestyle changes. Consider your grey water, for example.

Grey water is leftover from cooking, washing, brushing our teeth -- water that could be used again. Dish, shower, sink, and laundry water make up about 50 to 80 percent of residential “waste” water. The average household wastes 150 gallons of grey water a day -- easily enough to sustain a small kitchen garden.

Your Green Abode can show you how to recycle water by reusing grey water in and around your home, creating an instant list of benefits.

“The benefits of grey water recycling are many,” says Tara. “Besides the obvious pluses of lowering your freshwater use, you'll put less strain on septic tanks or sewage treatment plants, you'll conserve energy and use fewer chemicals because less water is treated, and you'll help with groundwater recharge, promote plant growth, and reclaim the otherwise wasted nutrients found in gray water.”

According to Tara, using grey water in your home can be as simple as buying a few good buckets. Here are three ways to recycle grey water:

  1. Feed your houseplants kitchen grey water.

    Did you know that houseplants love the nutrients in the water you've boiled your eggs or veggies or pasta in? Just allow leftover water to cool before serving to your happy houseplants.

  2. Catch grey water in your shower.

    Plug your drain during brief showers. Not only will you be able to see how much water you've really used to get clean, you will also be able to siphon or bucket off the water to flush your toilet.

  3. Outfit your sink with a re-purposed basin for grey water recycling.

    Place a bowl, pot, or similar receptacle in your bathroom sink.  Catch the water you use to wash your hands, face, etc.  This method not only curbs water usage at the sink, but it also promotes purposeful hygiene routines.

You may find after implementing a few household grey water reclamation projects, you are inspired to take water conservation in the home to the next level.  You can find other ways how to recycle water, as well as advice on green living, green remodeling, and green gardening in Your Green Abode.

—Adapted fromYour Green Abode: A Practical Guide to a Sustainable Homeby Tara Rae Miner, $19.95, paperback.

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