The other day, I had a delightfully long bath and did not let the water out of the tub at the end of it. There’s gotta be a use for that water, despite not having a grey-water recovery system. Best used in homes and businesses that use a lot of water, this kind of water-saving system reuses wash water for flushing toilets, or watering the terrain.

Of course, then I get the No Doubt “Bathwater” song stuck in my head.

Here are things you can do with your old bath water before you pull that plug:

  • While it’s still warm, if you are so ambitious, you can mop the floor. Just add vinegar.
  • If you wait and mop the floor another time, add a blast of hot water and/or floor soap to the mop bucket.
  • You can wait until it’s cool, and then water your plants with it. You can even dunk your plants for bottom-feeding if you let out all but 2 inches of the tub.
  • If you really wanted to, you could transfer it by bucket to a top-loading washing machine and do a load of laundry.
  • You can also flush the toilet with it. The flush happens because of the sudden influx of water – it doesn’t matter if the influx comes from the toilet tank or from a bucket. This is, in the end, what I did with most of it, after watering the plants.

The water that you take from the tap, which is fresh water treated for drinking, is a resource. Reusing water in appropriate ways will conserve the amount of water your home uses. If your home is on a water meter, it’ll save you a few gallons over the long run.

Grey water systems should probably become a default building code for dwellings of 6 units or more, for basic non-potable use and landscaping.

But as for landscaping, rainwater collection also helps. And any water saved for use in landscaping, reduces the amount of treated potable water spent. Any water saved from going down the drain by going to your yard and garden will also cut the amount of water sent to our sewers, which flows untreated into our watersheds.

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