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How to recycle grey water around your home

By now you may be well aware that certain municipalities have placed strict limits on water consumption as dam levels have shrunk to alarming percentages over the last couple of months. And, with parts of South Africa still caught in the grip of drought, water conservation should be a top priority for all citizens. Even if you live in a region where water is slightly more abundant, your household is urged to reduce its water footprint.

Not only will water conservation help lower your utility bill so you don't have to turn to a Personal Loan to make ends meet, but grey water recycling can also help prevent water pollution in local dams and lakes. In this article, written in collaboration with Hippo.co.za, we present ways how you can put grey water to good use. These tips are adapted from Hippo.co.za's original post How to Save Water and Recycle Grey Water in Your Home.

What is grey water?

Grey water is usually meant to go down the drain after you are done showering, bathing, doing the dishes or the laundry. It is waste water that contains relatively small amounts of chemicals from soaps, shampoos, and washing powders, which can be safely reused to keep your car shiny or your grass looking great.

How to harvest grey water manually

Usable waste water can be captured with minimal manual input through a grey water system; however, these can cost a pretty penny. Fortunately, extracting grey water can be done without special equipment if you’re willing to put in the effort.

  • After washing the dishes, use a dish pan to scoop water out of the basin and into a bucket.
  • If you're washing your hands or rinsing vegetables, place a bucket under the tap to collect the water.
  • When showering, place a bucket in the shower with you.
  • Connect the drain hose of your washing machine to the sealed laundry sink where you can collect the water. If possible, point the drain hose directly to nearby plants if the water can flow into that direction without creating a mess.
  • Unused water from your pet's bowl can be emptied directly into pot plants.

Grey water systems

You can opt to have a grey water system do all the work for you. When installing a grey water device, you can consider either a diversion system or a greywater treatment system. Diversion systems distribute grey water without using biological processes to convert the water into a purer form. This system normally transports grey water directly to the garden or toilet; however, they can also be equipped with a surge tank to help leverage the pressure of water flow as well as filters to remove particles such as hair from the pipes.

A greywater treatment system goes the extra mile by disinfecting and removing all chemicals from the grey water, which can be used for laundry or your irrigation system. This option is more viable if you need to use the water for a vegetable garden or if your area is severely affected by water shortages when you can put purified grey water to other uses besides the garden or your car. Water is a valuable resource which is why it's vital for everyone to do their bit in making sure each drop counts. For additional water saving tips, read the full article on Hippo.co.za's blog.

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