We over-use clean water.
We take purified water that’s been sent to and from a water treatment plant and use it to flush our toilets, to water our gardens, to wash our cars. We send water that’s perfectly able to flush toilets and irrigate landscaping out the bottom end of our sinks and washing machines and out to that same water treatment plant, only to have it treated and sent back to us so that we can flush toilets and irrigate landscaping with it, paying and paying and paying for the privilege to waste clean water the whole time.
But what if we didn’t do that? What if we diverted our greywater out of our sinks and washing machines, away from the sewer system and into our gardens? Would you eat persimmons from a tree that has been irrigated with greywater from the washing machine where you wash poopy cloth diapers? Would you sunbathe on a lawn that’s been irrigated with the water that you used to wash your hands?
Greywater gardening, and humanure composting, are regaining the popularity they once had before modern plumbing, and as more experts and average citizens write about their experiences and offer tutorials, they’re becoming ever more viable ways of maintaining our water resources, saving money, and gardening more efficiently.
If you’re intrigued by the idea of using greywater, check out this short list of resources:
laundry to landscape: Here’s a system that will divert washing machine greywater (including all that poopy diaper fertilizer!) into an underground irrigation web that can support trees and other permanent landscaping.
simple laundry greywater system: This method collects laundry greywater in a barrel, so that you can use it where you’d like.
using greywater: It can be as basic as keeping a bucket in the tub while you’re showering. Read through these do’s and don’ts to see if greywater would be a good fit for your gardening needs.
The Wastewater Gardener: This book, by one of the scientists who lived in Biosphere 2, is a comprehensive introduction to gardening with human waste and greywater.
As for me, I’m *really* tempted to add a greywater bypass for the washing machine to my DIY to-do list…
[diaper change image via Shutterstock]