With the current hot weather in the UK (ie. ‘summer’), a hose pipe ban has been issued in Northern Ireland and councils in other parts of the UK are beginning to edge in that direction. That means it is a good time to start thinking about grey water. Being a relatively water-rich nation, we tend to use potable (drinkable) water for all sorts of purposes for which water that is a bit grubby could serve instead. Meanwhile, even with a much loved garden, my water usage is relatively low because I make some effort to not waste good water. If it came to it, I could still go further, but here are some ideas that I do use:
- Clean off food scraps for compost or food waste, pour oil into a container to put in the bin and scrape off fat deposits before going near the washing up water – it doesn’t contribute to ‘fatbergs’ in the sewage system and makes the washing up water go further. Pre-soaking or even just pre-wetting items loosens dirt and you can use washing up water that is starting to get too grubby for washing for this purpose rather than tipping it away, because all the items will have a proper wash before they are used again.
- When running the tap to get the water warm, don’t let the run off go down the plug. In the kitchen it is good for doing a pre-rinse; in the bathroom, it can be collected for flushing the toilet.
- Flushing? Waste water in the bathroom gets collected in a bucket which gives a decent flush as long as you can handle the weight and raise from a low starting point to a higher position during the pour (to minimise splashing).
- Shower with the plug in – you can keep the water for a day or two (depending on how grubby you are and how much shower gel and shampoo you use) and use it either for flushing or siphon it outside to use on ornamental plants in the garden or for giving the car a rinse.