Finding ways to reuse water around the house becomes a whole lot easier once you realize just how much you’re using every day. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the average American uses 80 to 100 gallons of water per day between toilets, showers and faucets.
Why worry about using so much water? If you’re in a drought-prone region, every drop of water saved goes a long way towards keeping the taps running. But even if you’re in a water-rich part of the country, reusing water helps reduce your impact and, not to mention, your monthly water bill.
Intrigued? Get started by trying out these water recycling methods in your home.
Place a Bucket in the Shower
The easiest way to start reusing water at home is to collect some of the water you use in the shower. A plain old bucket will do, just place it under the stream while you’re waiting for the water to warm up and then move it in front of you once you hop in. You can then use the water to flush the toilet or water the garden.
Besides Reusing Water in the Bathroom…
Use a cup when brushing your teeth instead of letting the water run. You can actually save several gallons of water a week this way.
Reuse Water From Old Drinking Bottles
Have a small collection of half-drunk water bottles in your car? Gather them up and use the leftover water on your plants and lawn.
Use a Rain Barrel to Save Runoff From Your Roof
In addition to reusing water from inside your home, you can also reuse water from outside your home. Placing a rain barrel under your downspout will allow you to collect all the rainwater that would otherwise float downstream, leaving you with plenty to use for gardening or even washing your car.
You can either buy one from your local home improvement store or build your own rain barrel using these instructions.
Water the Plants With Pasta Water
Making spaghetti tonight? Rather than dumping the water in the sink, wait for it to cool down and use it to water your garden.
Besides Reusing Water in the Kitchen…
If your kitchen faucet starts to leak, don’t put off fixing it. A drippy faucet can waste 140 gallons of water or more in just one week.
Reuse the Water You Washed Your Veggies With
As with pasta water, any water you use to wash vegetables or fruit can also be used to water your indoor and outdoor plants.
Install a Grey Water Collection System
With a little plumbing work, and a small investment in a grey water collection system, you can reuse the water from your clothes washer to irrigate your lawn. This water recycling method may be illegal in some areas, so check with a local plumber or your city’s building department before hooking up your own system. The Water Wise Group offers a variety of systems, as well as a few educational articles to get you started.
Besides Reusing Water in the Laundry Room…
Only run your clothes washer with full loads to maximize efficiency. If you only run yours with half-full loads you can end up wasting over 500 gallons of water a month.
Scatter Your Leftover Ice on the Lawn
Another not-so-obvious way to reuse water is to put your unused ice cubes to good use. Rather than letting them go down the drain, throw them in a bowl and scatter them across your lawn. The sun will take care of the rest.
Knowing where and how to reuse water around your home is just the first step towards reducing your impact (and water bill). The next step is to start doing it. So, grab a bucket before you step in the shower tomorrow morning. Then in the evening, save your leftover pasta water. Before you know it, you’ll be saving hundreds of gallons of water every week.
Looking for more ways to go green? Check out the Green Living section of our blog for more ways to live sustainably.