Save Money by Reusing Greywater

••• Reusing Greywater. Photo © Erin Huffstetler

Reusing greywater- it's touted as being environmentally-friendly, but it's actually wallet-friendly, too. Learn how to reuse the greywater that your household generates, and save on your water bill.

What is Greywater?

Greywater is the wastewater generated from activities such as dish washing, clothes washing and bathing. While no longer safe for consumption, greywater is still deemed safe for many other household uses, but unfortunately– unless you take measures to capture and reuse it – it just goes out to the sewer or your septic tank after one use.

What a waste!

Simple Ways to Collect Greywater

  • Place a bucket in the shower while you're waiting for the water to warm up
  • Save unused drinking water
  • Wash your dishes inside a dishpan instead of directly in the sink
  • Wash fruits and vegetables in a bowl of water, instead of under running water
  • Capture the rinse water from your washing machine
  • Use a bucket to scoop out your water after a bath
  • Save the water from dehumidifiers

Ways to Use Greywater

Greywater can be used to water your indoor and outdoor plants. It can also be used to flush toilets. Just pour a bucket of greywater into the bowl, and the toilet will flush without the use of any fresh water.

Greywater Safety Tips

1. Water from toilets and dishwashers should never be reused.
2. Do not use water that is contaminated with fecal matter (the rinse water from a load of dirty diapers, for example).
3. Water that is contaminated with bleach and other harsh chemicals should not be used on plants.

4. Do not reuse excessively dirty dishwater.
5. Do not use greywater on edible plants.
6. Do not apply greywater to plants with a sprayer, sprinkler or hose, as this could spread any bacteria or chemicals present in the water.
7. Keep open water containers out of the reach of children and pets.
8. Use water within 24 hours of collection to avoid the spread of bacteria.

More Considerations

1. To eliminate concerns about the presence of chemicals in your greywater, switch to plant-based, phosphate-free cleaners for all of your household needs.
2. Some areas have rules about how greywater can be collected and used. Check with your local government before using greywater outdoors or before setting up a greywater system.

Why Bother with Greywater Collection?

According to OasisDesign, greywater makes up 50-80% of the waste water that leaves our homes. Just think how much your water bill would shrink if you started using that water twice.