Water is essentially a precious natural resource. This resource is adequate for our needs, and even so, there is increased pollution and depletion of this resource. Hence, there is a need to conserve the water we currently have, which can be done through recycling. Recycling water will help save the environment and also preserve water stores. Water can be recycled at various places from the schools to the workplace, home and every other place.
We live in a disposable society. It’s easier to throw things out than to fix them. We even give it a name – we call it recycling.
~ Neil LaBute
Therefore, below are the 15 ways to recycle water at home.
1. Water and soap used for cleaning cars can be drained into the shrubs or lawns. Normally soapy water does not hurt the shrub plants and lawn. Hence, when a person is washing their cars they can park the cars close to the lawns and shrubs. When washing the cars, the water flows down to the floors and it is in the process drained to the nearby plants or it is absorbed.
2. Instead of using a dishwasher to clean utensils, one can use a plastic tub of water. The dishwashers whether fully loaded or not use a lot of water. Further, the rinsed water can be used to conduct a number of activities such as clean sinks, floors and toilets, water flower pots and houseplants among others.
There are times when this water has grease, in this case a few drops of lemon or lemon dish soap can be added to make it grease-free. In other circumstances, baby shampoo can be used to make it grease-free. All in all, the water will be reused in other activities instead of being thrown out.
3. One can install a rain barrel. Usually when it rains the water moves directly to our sewage system. This is so much chemical-free, clean water that one could put to good use. This rainwater can be collected in barrels and boiled for drinking. The water can also be used to clean the house, sinks, toilets and dishes.
For those areas that get a lot of rain, one can install rain harvesting systems. The stored water can be used to feed the livestock most especially for those people rearing livestock in their homes. These barrels most of the time have taps which help control how much water is used for other purposes/activities.
4. Collect rainwater through gutters. Usually when it rains the water flows drown from the roofs of the houses to the ground and in the process, this clean water is lost. This water can be reused in watering flowers in pots, plants in the garden and around homes. It can also be used to wash veggies, cook food and be boiled before drinking it.
There are some areas where getting access to this precious commodity is very hard and there is a need to look for other ways or collect it when it is available. This water once collected is stored and used when the need arises.
5. Lots of water is consumed when one uses showers as compared to when one uses buckets of water. On this account, gallons should be used when taking showers as it saves a lot of water. In the event that a person decides to use showers then they can collect water using buckets when the water is still warming.
This collected water can be used in cleaning the bathrooms, toilets and even floors. When one shower they use around 7 to 10 gallons of water of which some are lost down the drain. The excess water can also be used to wash cars or water the lawns.
6. Reuse of the water that has been poured into cups and not drank or the water bottles and not used. Never pour away the water which has been left out in bottles or glasses half drunk. Some people may shy off from reusing this water even after it has been boiled so it can be used instead to water the plants. People need to know that if this water is boiled then it is safe for drinking.
Some small holes can be made on the water bottles and then they are used to water plants just like an irrigation system. After making the holes they are inserted into the ground soils as they let out water slowly to the plants. This way, the water is not wasted by pouring it away, but it is used for other important activities.
7. Buckets can be used instead of the showers or hose pipes. When using buckets, the amount of water that is used is less as compared to when one uses a shower as the water running from the showers tends to be more and besides it could be wasted. With the buckets, excess water can be saved and used for other activities such as watering plants.
Additionally, when washing cars water buckets can be used instead of hose pipes as through them water is wasted while it is run and with the buckets, water can be saved and not allowed to drain.
8. People should dry sweep their driveway instead of hosing them down. The best results come in when one dry sweeps their driveway before washing their cars. Through this, they place their cars at the driveway and then wash it such that the soapy water cleans the driveway in the process.
In this case, then both the driveway and the cars are cleaned at the same time with the same water. Furthermore, this water can be drained into the lawn and used to water the herbs or shrubs. This water thus serves several purposes and it is used more than once instead of thrown out.
9. Water used to clean hands when preparing food in the kitchen can be reused instead of thrown away. Even though this water may be dirty it can be used to water plants, herbs or shrubs. The water can also be used to clean the floors, toilets or even bathrooms. It can also be placed in the flushing bowls and used later on instead of taking up clean water.
10. Pasta water or water used to clean veggies can be saved. This type of water can be reused in the kitchen gardens to water our plants, herbs and shrubs. The water that has been used to boil pasta water can be used to prepare soups as it is a starchy solution. The water also leftover from boiling veggies can be used to make soup stock.
Instead of using some saved clean water to prepare soups, the used and stored water can be reused to make soups instead. Furthermore, instead of rinsing the veggies under the running water, one can rinse them in a bowl of water. Even if this water would contain some veggie peals or bits of mud, it is still good for outside use.
11. Install a greywater recycling system. This system saves up to around 35% of the water that one would otherwise flush out in the drain. It is connected to the homes plumbing system. It works in such a way that it automatically treats used water from the bathroom, kitchen and laundry rooms for reuse.
For example, one can fit their tub’s outlet with either an outdoor or indoor water recycling system. Through this once a person finishes their bath they can turn on this recycling system so as to drain water from the tub for other needs.
12. A rain garden within the home compound can be created. It functions by taking advantage of the land’s natural water runoff so as to nourish plants that live there. Instead of this water may be collecting in a particular place and forming breeding sites for mosquitoes that cause malaria, the water can be used to water plants.
13. Water used for washing clothes can be recollected and used to clean the floors instead of taking up clean water. The water, in this case, is not that dirty to be used to clean floors and thus clean water cannot be taken instead. This water can also be used to clean the toilets, bathrooms and even driveways. Furthermore, the water can be used to water herbs, shrubs or other plants in the compound or in the garden.
14. Water that drains out of the flower pots can be reused. Irrespective of the size of the pots, a bucket or plastic paper can be placed under the pot so that any water that drains from this pot is reused in the kitchen gardens. The excess water does not have to be left to drain out when it can be reused for other activities.
15. Kitchen water can be reused. Water that is used to clean dishes can be reused by dumping it in the toilet bowl for flushing. In this case one does not have to use clean water to flush their toilets rather this water can be reused in a more beneficial way. The kitchen water can also be used to flower plants.
Advantages of Reuse of Water
The advantages of using wastewater as a resource rather than a waste product are:
- Reduce water bills, thus saving money
- Use fewer water resources
- Irrigate the garden during drought or water shortages
- Reduce the amount of pollution going into waterways
- Help save money on new infrastructure for water supplies and wastewater treatment
- Decrease demand on infrastructure for sewage transport, treatment and disposal, allowing it to work better and last longer.
Disadvantages of Reuse of Water
Reusing water at home is a good practice; however, a number of precautions need to be taken to ensure it is safe and environmentally sound.
- Avoid watering vegetables with reuse water if they are to be eaten raw. There is a chance that some pathogenic organisms may still be present even after treatment.
- Check your detergent and cleaning compounds. Most laundry detergent contains high concentrations of sodium and chloride compounds. These make the water dangerous to plants.
- Excess nutrients may run off or leach through the soil to enter waterways, contributing to algal blooms and other water quality problems
- Soils can become physically clogged with organic and suspended material or damaged by salts in the wastewater.
- Greywater can contain significant numbers of pathogens that spread disease. It also begins to turn septic and smell if stored for longer than 24 hours untreated. Therefore it must be treated and disinfected before storage and general reuse.
- Avoid skin contact with greywater. It may cause skin diseases.
How to Overcome Reuse Problems?
- Planning your garden carefully considering outdoor water use; landscaping and garden design.
- To maintain the health of your garden, the level of reuse of wastewater needs to be balanced with the amount of water, solids and nutrients that the plants and soil in the garden can absorb.
- Switch to biodegradable phosphate-free and salt-free liquid or environmentally friendly detergents if you plan to recycle this water for your garden. Avoid using any cleaners that contain boron, bleach, or sodium. Ammonia cleaners are a safe substitute.
- Pre-filtering to remove solids.
- Wearing gloves while carrying the buckets and using greywater.
The primary thing towards reducing your impact is to know where and how to reuse water around your home. The next step is to start doing it. Before you know it, you’ll be saving hundreds of gallons of water every week.