Photo credit: aotaro
Lately we’ve been getting a lot of questions around greenshield organic® headquarters about greywater. And, given the drought conditions in California and other states as well as the desire to be more sustainable, this isn’t a real surprise. So we thought we’d take a minute to answer a few common questions that our fans have about greywater systems.
But first, a little information about utilizing greywater around your home. Greywater is waste water generated from the shower and bath, washing machine, and sink that is then recycled to be used to water outdoor plants and trees. It is NOT toilet water (That’s called blackwater and should never be recycled). Greywater often contains tiny particles of food, hair, grease, dirt, and small concentrations of household cleaners, and it looks “dirty.” The good thing is that, as long as you are using safe household cleaners, none of these tiny particles will harm your plants or your drinking water. An effective greywater system can save you money on your water bill as well as saving wear-and-tear on your septic system. The average American uses up to 40 gallons of water each day bathing, doing laundry, and general cleaning, but a greywater system can reuse between 25-40 of those gallons, increasing your home’s sustainability.
The most common question that we get is, “Are your detergents and cleaning products safe for greywater systems?”
Yes! Because we don’t use toxic chemicals, bleach, or boron in our products, our cleaners and detergents are safe for greywater systems.
Another commonly asked question is, “How long can I store my greywater before use?”
The standard recommendation for greywater storage is to keep it no longer than 24 hours. It should never be stored longer than that, and it is best used immediately after collection. In fact, the most common greywater systems bypass holding buckets and barrels and send the water directly to the plants through tubing.
Once people have set up their greywater system, they want to know, “What can I use greywater for?”
Primarily, people use greywater to water their plants, trees, and gardens. It is important to remember that greywater should never be allowed to pool or runoff. You also want to make sure that when you water your edible plants and vegetables, you are only using it on plants that grow upwards, keeping the edible portion off the ground. Greywater shouldn’t be used for root vegetables.
People also often want to know, “Are greywater systems allowed in my area?”
Unfortunately, we can’t answer that one for you, but we strongly encourage you to check your local and state laws regarding greywater. Many municipalities and states have recently changed their laws to allow for greater use of greywater.
For more information on greywater systems, please check out these resources: