How to save and recycle water around home
As we head into what’s shaping up to be a long, hot and very dry summer, I thought it was a good time rehash and extend my list of water saving tips for you. I have added to this list as people have shared their ideas and tips with me so please, keep them coming and I will keep adding to the list for you all!
Obviously, my number one tip is to use all Tri Nature products throughout your house. That way, ALL your grey water can go on your garden!
- In our house, the washing machine hose goes out the window of the laundry and all water from the washing machine goes straight onto the grass and the garden. This isn’t an issue for the grass or plants because I use Tri Nature products. The hose we have is really long so I can move it around as needed.
- An alternative is to have the hose, and all the water, go into a wheelie bin with a hose connection fitting on it. Then you can wheel the bin around the house and use the water wherever you need it on the garden. We made our own version of this but you can buy these wheelie bins with hose fittings on them from Bunnings and other hardware stores.
- Always do full loads in your machine. Don’t waste water to wash one or two things. It’s never hard to fill up the washing machine in our house.
- Soak stained clothing in a bucket instead of the sink. Use Tri Nature and then you can throw the water onto the grass or garden when you have finished soaking, instead of down the drain.
- Keep showers to a minimum. 4 minutes is always the goal.
- Bath or shower small kids together.
- Have a bucket in the shower with you, or more than one, if you have them. This will catch lots of shower water before it goes down the drain. You can then use it to water the garden or flush the toilet (you can “bucket flush” the toilet by just tipping the water into it with the same force as a flush would use).
- If you have a motorised pump rig, you can pump water from bath into a wheelie bin for use on the garden. If you don’t have one of these, you can bucket the water out onto the garden.
- When it comes to the toilet, in our house, we apply the saying “If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down.”. We don’t flush unless the loo is getting too full of toilet paper or it’s smelly. Flushing less often saves water and using the half flush at every opportunity saves a bit more.
- Don’t leave the tap running while you brush your teeth. Wet your toothbrush, turn it off, brush your teeth and the turn it on to rinse your toothbrush. Use a cup with some water in it to rinse your mouth.
- When washing your hands, apply hand wash and rub all over, then turn on the tap to rinse off. Don’t leave the tap running while you apply soap.
- Turn off the shower while you shampoo your hair or lather yourself.
- Replace shower heads with water saving models. Many water companies and councils have these available for free if you swap them for existing ones, or at a reduced price.
- Hang your towels up to dry and reuse instead of increasing washing. You don’t need a clean towel every time you wash. You have only used it for drying off clean water.
- Use your dishwasher for everything. Dishwashers use much less water than hand washing your dishes does.
- Don’t rinse your dishes before you put them in the dishwasher. Use cutlery to scrape off any excess food and then load them up in the dishwasher. There’s absolutely no need to rinse something clean before if goes into the machine designed to clean it.
- Again, full loads only. Or half loads if you have a machine that only washes half.
- If it takes a while for your hot water to come through, catch the cold water in a jug or a bucket and use it on the garden or in the kettle instead of letting it run down the sink.
- If you can, set your dishwasher up the same way as the washing machine above. Send the hose connection outside so the water goes onto the grass or garden or into a wheelie bin for distribution later.
- Put your glass under the tap before you turn it on so you make sure you catch every single drop.
- Reuse water from boiled or steamed food for other food, or wait til it cools and use it on the garden.
- Put leftover ice cubes from your drink into a pot plant instead of in the sink.
- Soak all your fruit and veggies in one sink together instead of rinsing each piece as you are about to eat it.
- Any water that hits our roof goes into rain water tanks and is used on the garden. We have evaporative cooling which dumps water onto our roof every 3 hours when it’s on, so even though it hardly ever rains here, we still get water in the tanks. It’s easy and affordable enough these days to buy IBC’s (old 1000L plastic shipping tanks in cages) off marketplace or Gumtree and divert your rainwater into those instead of the drains. You don’t have to invest in big, expensive water tanks and a plumber.
- For any plants in pots, put a saucer or tray underneath. This will catch any water that drains out and the plant roots can suck it up as they need.
- Water your plants at night. Watering in the morning or during the day means you run the risk of much of the water evaporating before it can be absorbed by the plants. Wait until the earth has cooled down of an evening and water your garden then.
- If you mulch around your plant base, this helps retain moisture in the soil.
- Many studies have been done that show planting into grassy ground, instead of tilled and harrowed soil, actually benefits the plants you’re planting. Grass, rather than competing with your plants, actually helps to put more nutrients back into the soil and improve the soil’s water retention. This can be harder to get your head around, especially because it looks messier than your conventional garden.
- Indigenous plants are generally less thirsty than imports.
- Native grasses are also less thirsty and far more drought tolerant than others. If you know what to look for, you can gather up seeds from the side of the road and spread around your grassy areas to encourage it to grow.
- Mow your grass long. Taller grass retains it’s water better so you don’t need to water as often.
- Fertilizers increase water consumption so use the minimum amount required if you must use them at all. Consider making your own fertilizer with a worm farm.
- Leave your flowers growing in the garden rather than cutting them for display. Fresh cut flowers can use up a lot of water to keep them alive. Consider living pot plants instead.
- Check all your taps, hoses and fittings for leaks and repair them as soon as you can.
- Eat foods with a higher water content to help keep you hydrated without needing to drink as much!
- If you are washing your car at home, make sure you do it on the lawn so the grass benefits from the run off. And make sure you are using Tri Nature products so you don’t kill the grass.
- Wash pets and cars using a bucket, instead of a running hose.
- Use a broom instead of a hose for cleaning tiles, driveways, etc.
- Turn taps on slowly, not straight to full blast like my kids seem to do every time.
- Teach your kids to be mindful of their water use and to be less wasteful.
- If you have a pool, get a pool cover to reduce evaporation.
- Report any broken pipes in public areas.
- If you have to buy any new equipment or machinery, consider and compare water efficiency.
Try doing just one thing each day and remember that Every Drop Counts!