In a drought prone country like Australia finding ways to save water is so important so today I’m here with my guide to greywater! Let’s talk all about what it is, how to use it and also what to be aware of. I’d love to hear your thoughts as well!
What is greywater?
Greywater is domestic wastewater created predominantly in bathrooms and laundries, but not wastewater from toilets, which is known as blackwater. The most common sources of greywater are washing machines, showers, basins and baths.
It is estimated that half the water used in our homes could be recycled as greywater. That could result in a huge reduction in your water use! An excellent way to save money whilst also helping the environment!
How can you collect greywater?
The simplest way to collect greywater is just by using a bucket! Keep one in the shower or laundry tub or divert your washing machine into a bucket. This is by far the cheapest and easiest option, although it is much trickier to capture all the water that way.
The next level up is a diversion system which can include things like a hose or diverter valve which directs water straight into your garden, to tanks with pumps. These are likely to need to be professionally fitted and may well need a Council permit as regulations differ State to State.
The third type of greywater systems are filtration systems, also known as closed loop systems. These treat the greywater and return it into your home to be used for toilet flushing and clothes washing. These definitely need to be professionally installed and will require Council approval. There are also often rebates available for installing these kinds of systems, so look into that as well!
How can greywater be used?
The easiest way to use greywater is on your garden, in particular ornamental plants and fruit trees. If you’re using untreated greywater then avoid putting it straight on herbs and edible plants, especially if you’re eating them raw. It’s also great for lawns, particularly those that get a lot of sunshine as the sun will kill off any bacteria that might exist.
If you’re treating your greywater then as well as plumbing it into your toilet and washing machine you can use it however you like on the garden!
What to be aware of
If you’re planning on collecting up your greywater then make sure that any cleaning products you are using are eco-friendly, looking out in particular for phosphorus free and low-sodium options. They should also be biodegradable and obviously free from bleaches and disinfectants. This includes washing powders, personal cleaners and even the products you use to clean your shower – although if you make your own cleaners you’ll be a-ok!
You should also not store the greywater for more than 24 hours – so use it as quickly as possible after creating it. If someone in your family is sick then avoid using that water as well, same goes for any water used to wash nappies. Make sure your animals don’t drink it either.