Greywater recycling benefits reduces pressure on scarce water resources, particularly in drier parts of the country where individual households, farmers, and even wildlife suffer from the dilemma of limited water supply.
The term greywater is used to refer to gently used water from the home. This can include water from showers, tubs, bathroom sinks, as well as from washing machines. Greywater, however, does not include water that has been soiled with any kind of fecal material.
Apart from simply draining this greywater, it can also be reused for specific purposes. For instance, greywater recycling benefits can easily include the ability to irrigate fruit trees, water flowerbeds, and recycle the water to mulch basins. In addition, this water can also be used to flush toilets.
All this is beneficial in the sense that this reused water helps lower the water bill, saves energy, and greywater irrigation replaces otherwise clean, drinkable water.
How to Recycle Greywater
Since greywater is an easy source that can be used twice, many people indulge in DIY greywater recycling. The most basic way of doing this is to simply collect the used water manually in a bucket or basin and toss it over your flower garden. But greywater can also be recycled in the following ways.
Greywater from bathroom sinks requires a little more effort and compliance with local building and health codes. The sink drains can be re-plumbed into a greywater system by manually bailing out water in buckets or removing the J-trap from underneath the sink. The trap is then replaced with a large bucket to catch the running water.
With this method, diligence will need to be exercised to prevent the bucket from overflowing. This water can be used for flushing the toilets and watering house plants.
One important consideration is to avoid discharging the greywater in the same spot as it may create a bog in the yard.
Greywater from Laundry
Greywater from the laundry can be recycled and reused by installing a laundry-to-landscape system. Keeping in mind that harsh laundry detergents or chlorine bleach is not used in the washing machine, the system can be set up by removing the discharge hose from the washing machine and linking it to a longer hose which reaches the yard outside. This setup will allow homeowners to reuse greywater every time laundry is done.
Greywater from the Bathtub
To use greywater from the bathtub, one option is to have a three-way valve installed which allows water to be sent directly to a greywater system or to the sewer line. The other option is to manually bail out the water by placing a bucket under the shower or letting the bath fill up.
A more elaborate system can involve putting in a sump pump and linking it with a tube that pumps the bath water out the window into a barrel for collection. This water can be used for water landscaping.
Greywater from the Toilet
Reusing greywater from the toilet will involve the installation of a toilet greywater recycling system. These systems are designed to rest inside the vanity and hold up to a certain capacity of reclaimed sink water. Accompanied by a small pump, greywater is transferred to the toilet reservoir and used as needed.
Properly Handling Greywater
While it is considered gently used water, greywater is still very different from clean water. This makes it important to keep both greywater recycling advantages and disadvantages in mind. Greywater contains some bacteria and pathogens rendering it unsafe for personal use, so it is best to avoid direct contact with this water.
Plus, it may also contain soap residue and other chemicals that are not suitable for irrigation purposes. Therefore, before deciding to use greywater for landscaping or irrigation, it is important to make sure that that there is no chemical residue in it which may harm plants. The best option is to stay away from bleach or other toxic ingredients.
When using greywater for irrigation, it may be used on edible plants, but only on those where the edible part is off the ground. Never use greywater to water root vegetables.