Grey Water Recycling

So we have installed a grey water recycling sink in one of our bathrooms.  We have two sinks in the master bath and are doing the grey water recycling system with one of them until we get the hang of it.  What is a grey water recycling system you ask?

Basically we unscrewed the plumbing under the sink and placed a 5-gallon bucket under the drainage pipe.  When we brush our teeth, wash our hands, shave, etc., the water drains into this bucket.  When we do our “biz-ness” on the toilet we use this water to flush.  At first I thought this sounded like too much work, mostly because I thought that I would have to dump the water in the actual toilet tank, but that is not how it works.  You simply pour about a gallon of grey water (used sink water) into the toilet with the water valve turned off and the toilet flushes on its own.  Replace the bucket under the sink and start over.

Although we had heard about this simple system and wanted to use it upon our return, we first saw it in action while we were at The Simple Way community in Philadelphia.  Click here if you would like to go to their website and read about the system, among other things.  I also posted most of the information below.

A Simple Grey Water Recycling System

4 Easy Steps — To Flush with the water under the sink.

  1. After using toilet, lift toilet seat to prevent splashage.
  2. Gently but briskly pour about 1/3 (about a gallon) of the water from the bucket into the dirty water in toilet (NOT in water reservoir above), and toilet will flush automatically.
  3. Clean up any splashage, lower toilet seat, and replace bucket under sink.
  4. Pat yourself on the back for living responsibly and spread the word about simple but significant techniques of sustainable living like “Grey Water Recycling”.

We have decided to do this for many reasons, one being that it cuts water bill costs, but another simply because it is the right thing to do.  The average American uses approximately 40 gallons of water per day, half of which is flushed down the toilet.  Why in the world would we flush perfectly fine drinking water down the toilet when over 1 billion people worldwide do not have access to clean drinking water?  You’re right – there is no good reason!  Especially when you could use grey water instead.  Plus, after you brush your teeth it makes the toilet smell minty fresh!

Here are 10 reasons posted on The Simple Way website:

  1. It’s easier to find jewelry when you drop down the drain.
  2. When we listen to the water drip under the sink we are reminded that 1.2 billion people, about one third of the world’s population, have no access to clean water.
  3. A child dies from a preventable waterborne illness once every 10 seconds. 76 million people will die from preventable water-related illnesses between now and 2020.
  4. For hundreds of years water has been an important symbol for Christians – baptism, holy water… and Jesus calls himself the “Living Water”.
  5. The world’s population has tripled in the last century. Meanwhile, water use has increased sixfold, drying up rivers and ravaging about half the world’s wetlands.
  6. Jesus says in Matthew 25: “When I was thirsty you gave me something to drink… for when you did it to the least of these you did it unto me.”
  7. World wide demand for water is doubling every 21 years. To date, in order to meet the human demand for water over 60 percent of the world’s largest 227 rivers have been dammed.
  8. The World Bank’s vice president for environmentally sustainable development, is on record as stating that many of the wars of the last century (20th) were about oil, but wars of this century (21st) will be about water.
  9. When we carry the bucket to the toilet we can remember those who walk miles every day just to get clean water.
  10. It just doesn’t make sense to use good drinking water to wash down poop, eh?
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4 Responses

  1. This sounds like a great idea.. now where do you put all of the stuff that is carefully organized under the sink? Eh?

  2. We have simplified to the point that we don’t have anything organized (or unorganized) under the sink 🙂

  3. Great Idea. We have talked about a 5 gallon bucket to catch the wasted shower water while we wait for it to get hot. But the idea of carrying a bucket of water through the house is less than exciting for me. I love the idea of using it for toilet water! Thanks for passing it on.

  4. Great idea … now to pitch it to two teenagers . Perhaps Dean & my bathroom would be the best place to start. 🙂 BTW, we will talk about Friend’s Church this Sunday and let you know. Love you!

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