Going for Straight As

According to the WWF, only 10% of Canadians give themselves an “A” when it comes to being green. The irony is that with this self-grading, the more you know, the less of an impact you feel like you’re having. I’m pretty damn green: no car, no dryer, cloth diapers, pee wipes, etc. but still I don’t give myself an A.

What could I do better?

– eat more local, less imported stuff

– buy less packaged food

– get Bullfrogpowered

– a miriad other small things,

and . . .

– recycle greywater.

I’ve always just sortof assumed that since I’m in an apartment, there is no realistic way for me to recycle my greywater. I can’t change plumbing, and I don’t have a garden to receive the rescued greywater. Plus, we don’t pay the water bill–the landlord does–so the motivation isn’t quite as high as if it would actually save us money. (I’m into enlightened self-interest here!)

But this weekend, watching the water empty into the sink from our portable washer, I had a brain wave: how easy would it be to catch this water, reserve it in a 5 gallon bucket, and use it to flush the toilet? Turns out, very easy.

Recycling GreywaterIt’s astonishing how much water we use. Watching it go down the drain, you just don’t get the sense of how much water we use and waste every day. Catching it in a bucket, you see: here are 5 gallons of almost clean water flushing down the drain. Using that water to flush the toilet, you realize: I’m using a couple of gallons of greywater to flush, but normally that would be drinking water.

Argh. So I’m a bit obsessed with this water thing at the moment. The only problem, it’s a damn pain in the ass. I mean, we already have a diaper bucket and a diaper bag hanging out in our tiny bathroom. Now I’ve added a 5 gallon plastic bucket of greywater, just waiting for my daughter to accidentally knock it over and cause thousands of dollars in water damage to our downstairs neighbour’s apartment. We just don’t have the room . . . and yet . . . it’s like using hankies and cloth diapers. Once you stop throwing something away, it just feels so wasteful when you use the disposable version.

So, for now the greywater bucket stays. But for how long?????

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2 thoughts on “Going for Straight As

  1. What a great idea!
    I’d love to use the greywater from our portable washing machine for something useful.
    Unfortunately there’s barely room for us to sit on our toilet as is!

  2. A greywater system is on my list. I would love to divert the grey water to a tank and use that to flush the toilet. If you use an eco friendly dishwashing detergent then I would assume you could use your grey water to water house plants. There are some products that make this claim.

    If there was one thing I would do to be more green, it would be to grow my own veggies. I am in the process of making this a reality. I found 50 bales of non-certified hay that was grown without pesticides. I wanted Straw but that is not available in rectangular bales (just the huge rounds). So I will wet down the hay and tarp it to kill the seeds. Then I am going to build raised beds with them, and fill them with organic compost – this is the pricey part. And then plant my seeds. The best part I can add Storms in the winter to extend my garden season.

    Over the next three years my bales will begin to break down and I will increase the size of my beds with new bales. Or other eco materials.

    Very excited about what this means for my Urban front yard. I see a run in with my local net office, since the bales will be out well before fall 🙂

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