Category Archives: rain barrels

18 Smart and Easy Ways to Reuse Wastewater in 2018


Domestic water consumption makes up 8% of total global water use according to UN-Water 2010. It therefore means that our homes alone generate about 8% of the total global water used. As much as it has been advocated for people to cut back on water use and minimizing wastage to conserve water, it is even more rewarding to collect and reuse waste water as it ultimately saves water even more.

Waste water recycling is one of the most sensible and winning options for promoting water sufficiency and it can range from simple home methods to sophisticated industrial wastewater filtration systems. Reuse of different types of waste water is hence a way to optimize water use at home. It can either be reused directly or treated and reused as discussed in this article. Here are 18 Smart and Easy Ways to Reuse Wastewater in 2018.

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1. Agricultural waste water reuse

Waste water can be used for agricultural purposes such as watering landscape gardens and lawns. It can equally be used to irrigate vegetable and fruit nurseries or flower and fence bushes. As much as irrigation increases crop yield, it should be used according to the WHO (1989) guidelines for the safe use of wastewater in agriculture by monitoring the water contaminant levels of waste water.

If not monitored, humans and animals may end up consuming contaminants from the crops which is not good for health. Also through the monitoring program, it is possible to prevent excessive soil-nutrient runoff and salinity from irrigation by the use of salty water, which inhibits plant growth. Subsurface irrigation systems are designed to spread water evenly around the garden and as such, are recommended for irrigating with untreated water.

2. Redirecting drain water (Grey wastewater systems)

Grey water refers to wastewater from non-toilet plumbing fixtures such as showers, basins and taps from domestic household use. It is slightly used and is not in contact with feces but can contain some elements of household cleaning products, grease, hair, food or dirt. The reuse method involves diverting waste water from the drainage sinks and washing machines then directing it into a grey water collection system.

Showers and sink only require a simple grey water collection system as opposed to trapping used water from washing machines. With the installation of the system, the grey water can be used outdoors for cleaning the veranda and the driveway, watering grass, or even washing the car and doormats.

3. Recycling dirty aquarium water

The water in the fish tanks must be routinely changed to get rid of excess toxic materials and waste dissolved in water that could harm the fish if left to accumulate. When refilling aquarium water, instead of disposing of the dirty water, one can use it for agricultural reuse like watering potted plants, vegetable nurseries or lawn gardens.

As a matter of fact, the water is very good for plants because it contains materials such as nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium and ammonium and other microorganisms found in soil sediments, which can act as natural fertilizer. In doing so, however, it is advisable not to water plants with used water from salt water aquariums as it can harm the plants due to high salt content.

4. Collect shower water

Collection of shower water is the easiest and simplest way to reuse water at home. Water from the shower can be reused after a bath by plugging the drain and letting the bath fill up. It can then be manually collected from the bathtub using a bucket. Alternatively, one can stand in a basin or bucket when taking a shower to collect the water. After bath, the collected water can be reused for watering outdoor flowers and lawns.

5. Trap rain water

Collecting rain water is equally part of water reuse that many people do not recognize. The installation of gutters for diverting rain water to where it can be stored does the work. After collection, the water can be used in the garden to water plants, for laundry and many other purposes as rain water is considerably clean and safe compared to other types of used water such as grey water.

6. The use of coarse filtration

Coarse filtration of used water can be done to improve its reuse purposes. It entails the removal of large particles in the used water such as grease, hair, plastic dirt and food just to mention a few. With coarse filtration, the grey water from the house is collectively then directed into the filtration system where the coarse particles are removed. Once removed, the outflow can be connected to an irrigation system for use in watering plants and other purposes such as washing the car and outdoor cleaning.

7. Fine filtration of water for reuse

Just like coarse filtration, fine filtration can as well be used to make waste water more useful. The difference is that fine filtration is majorly used to remove microbes from water. If properly filtered, the water is fit for human consumption and cooking. There is a basic structure recommended for a fine filtration system and once it is set up, the grey water can be filtered then directed to a collection point where it can be used for various purposes.

8. Reuse of water from laundry

Waste water from laundry cleaning can be directed for outdoor use. It can be collected from washing machines by removing the discharge hose from the house drain and connecting it to a longer run off hose that can reach the yard which will enable the collection and use of waste water every time laundry is done.

During laundry the pipe can be moved to different points in the yard to avoid erosion and ensure the lawns are watered evenly. The laundry water can also be used for cleaning the pavements and the driveway.

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9. Save pasta water

One of the most nutrient rich kitchen water is that used to boil vegetables and pasta. It can therefore serve a very good purpose in watering plants. Vegetable and pasta water can be collected in pots and after it has cooled down, it can be used to water the garden.

10. Catch warm-up shower water

This is water that runs from the shower as you wait for it to get to the perfect temperature before starting to take a shower. Instead of letting the water to be wasted down the drain, one can capture this warm up water by simply placing a basin or large bowl under the faucet when the shower is turned on then simply moving it out of the way when the water gets to the preferred temperature for bathing. The water can be used directly around the household because it is very clean or can be used outdoors to water garden plants.

11. Reuse unwanted ice

Instead of dumping ice from over stayed ice trays from the freezers or ice coolers in the drain, spread it on the garden grass or around plants and let the ice melt into liquid.

12. Reuse unused drinking water

Drinking water stored for a long period of time has a stale taste, is murky, and also has a great probability of being contaminated by bacteria. Instead of disposing it by pouring it out, you can use it for washing utensils and other household chores as it is not that dirty. Stale pet water can also be used on potted plants.

13. Employ the use of rain barrels

In most cases, rain from the roofs of our houses is just left to run off into the sewer systems. In a bid to save this water from going to waste, rain barrels can be used to collect the water by placing them under the gutter’s downspout. The water can then be used for various purposes such as laundry, watering plants and general cleaning in the house.

14. Install sink-to-toilet system

A sink-to-toilet system is one that has an adjustable sink toilet top attached to the toilet’s refill cycle. The system works by filtering sink drainage after which it stores it in a reservoir, which is used to flush the toilet. Particularly, it redirects water from the pipe to a valve which then drains the water into the toilet bowl.

15. Collect the overflow from watering plants

Every time when potted plants are watered, there is always water overflow or water running out of the drainage holes of the pots that goes to waste. Instead of letting this water flow away, it can be collected then by placing the plants in deep trays and used to water other smaller plants or the grass.

16. Save water used to wash fruits and vegetables

The water used to wash fruits and veggies can be collected then used for watering potted plants and gardens. The rinse water for utensils can also be saved and used to water houseplants or for other cleaning purposes in the house such as floors, toilets and sinks.

17. Build a rain garden

Rain gardens can be built effortlessly as it does not require any superior skills. It is just a matter of putting up rain gutters that directs rain water to the garden. Several holes at strategic points can be punched under the pipes to simulate overhead irrigation. Alternatively, the gutters can be used to direct the water and run it through plants from hanging baskets after which it flows to other plants in the lower parts. With this easy method, less water is needed for watering the garden.

18. Reuse the water used for washing your car

When washing the car, it can be done in such a way that the water drains into the lawn instead of it being directed down the drain. Soap water cannot harm the grass. So, by moving the car very close to the lawn before washing it is an impressive technique of saving the clean water that would have been used to water the grass.

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Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

Latest posts by Rinkesh (see all)

18 Eco-Friendly Home Projects to Complete in 2018


Do you have any home improvement projects on the radar in 2018? Why not make them eco-friendly? Eco-friendly or environmentally friendly are those products that claim reduced, minimal, or no harm upon ecosystems or the environment. Environmentally conscious updates to your living space can save you money and help preserve the environment.

With just couple of days left for new year to set in, let’s start this new year with some easy and eco-friendly projects that have minimum impact on the environment. Here are 18 eco-conscious home improvement ideas for 2018.

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1. Start Composting

Instead of tossing organic waste into the trash, start a compost pile in your backyard. The EPA estimates nearly 25 percent of the waste dumped into landfills each year could have been composted. Additionally, composting improves soil quality and decreases erosion.

Composting also helps deter pests in your garden. You’ll save cash on pesticide costs, increase your produce yield and grow healthier, more organic food for your family.

2. Give Your Kitchen a Facelift

Are you in the market for a new kitchen? Instead of trashing your old cabinetry and drawers, try re-purposing them and changing their layout. Refinishing old cabinetry and changing out fixtures, knobs and handles is an environmentally friendly way to get a new look without breaking the bank.

3. Upgrade Your Flooring

New flooring can brighten and completely change the look of a room. Make your new choice eco-conscious by choosing linoleum over vinyl. Vinyl flooring can emit VOCs over time, which can degrade indoor air quality and lead to respiratory illnesses. Choose linoleum flooring instead. Linoleum is nontoxic and won’t leach noxious gases.

4. Repaint Your Home With No- to Low-VOC Paint

A fresh coat of paint can make any room look cleaner and more open. While color is important, so is paint quality. Choose a paint brand that won’t emit VOCs, or at the very least, emits them in low concentrations. Standard paints often release toxic VOCs, similar to vinyl flooring. You’ll improve your indoor air quality and your health.

5. Switch to Geothermal Heating

Geothermal systems use the Earth’s stable ground temperature to maintain a comfortable climate in your home. A pump sends liquid 300 feet beneath the Earth’s surface and returns it to a geothermal heater, which then distributes the temperate liquid through the flooring in your home. In the hot summer months, heat is drawn from the air and deposited back into the Earth.

On average, geothermal systems use 80 percent less energy compared to traditional heating systems. Additionally, they don’t require fossil fuels to operate. It’ll take approximately 10 years before your geothermal investment pays off.

6. Purchase Used Furniture

Consignment shops, antique stores and garage sales often offer excellent deals on high-quality, gently used furniture. Purchasing preowned furniture limits the amount of waste that may make it into landfills and usually costs less than newer options.

7. Add Larger Windows

Are you looking for a more drastic change? Add larger windows to your home or change their layout. Optimizing the natural light that enters your home can help lower your energy bill by reducing heating and lighting costs. Larger windows will also help improve air circulation throughout the year, which can help improve indoor air quality.

8. Install Solar Panels

The cost of installing a solar energy system is on the decline, thanks to technological improvements and solar energy becoming a more mainstream option. Additionally, many state governments, in addition to the federal government, offer tax incentives for homeowners interested in converting to solar energy.

Before you make the jump, have an expert or industry professional analyze your home to determine whether it’s suitable for solar panels. Factors to consider include your local climate, the slope of your roof and tree cover.

9. Reinsulate Your Home

New insulation won’t change the overall look of your home, but it will change the overall feel. Insulation degrades over time, leading to gaps in coverage. Poor insulation will allow air to escape from your home and can dramatically increase your heating and cooling costs throughout the year.

Some insulation can last up to 100 years, but leaking roofs, punctures, animals and other factors can drastically reduce this timeline. Review your home’s history and energy bills to determine if your home can benefit from new insulation.

10. Perform an Energy Audit

Hire an energy professional to perform an energy audit in your home to determine where you can make the most impact. Energy auditors review your home to see where you may be losing energy and provide recommendations on where to make the most impact. Energy auditors can help homeowners can save anywhere from 5 to 30 percent on their energy bill.

11. Invest in Energy Star Appliances

Appliances account for up to 30 percent of home energy usage. Switching the appliances in your home to those with the Energy Star label can save you money on your energy bill and help preserve the environment.

The government backs Energy Star appliances and guarantees they will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and operate more efficiently compared to non-Energy Star competitors. When shopping for replacements, check to see whether an appliance has the government-certified Energy Star label.

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12. Do a Little Spring Cleaning

Set aside time to dig through the attic, your closet and the other areas in your home where you’ve been storing unused or unwanted items. Instead of throwing things directly into the trash, donate them to a local thrift store or hold a garage sale to earn some extra cash. Repurposing unwanted items helps keep them out of landfills.

13. Greenify Your Living Space

Houseplants can help improve indoor air quality by reducing carbon dioxide and absorbing airborne toxins, including benzene and formaldehyde. Not all plants are created equal, however. Spider plants, snake plants and rubber trees are among some of the easiest plants to grow with the best indoor air quality benefits.

14. Switch to Energy-Efficient Windows

Poorly sealed or aging windows can decrease your energy efficiency dramatically. Consider investing in a more energy-efficient option to improve your home’s overall comfort and reduce your energy costs.

If new windows aren’t in your budget, try repairing or updating your existing ones. Improving the caulking around window seals, installing storm windows and adding treatments can also help reduce your overall energy consumption.

15. Install a Low-Flow Toilet

Low-flow toilets use 25 to 50 percent of the water used by conventional toilets per flush. Over one year, the average family of four can save up to 22,000 gallons of water, which translates to nearly $100 in savings on your annual water bill.

A variety of options exist depending on your budget and the type of toilet you’re looking for. Some systems recycle greywater from your sink, leading to further water conservation and even lower water bills.

16. Update Your Landscaping

Adding native plants to your yard can provide additional habitat for local wildlife and reduce your water bill. Local plants are better suited to your environment and won’t require the same amount of water or fertilizer to flourish.

Excess fertilizers can wash off plants and soil in heavy rain events and into local waterbodies. The excess chemicals are harmful to marine life and can lead to an overabundance of algae and other plants, which reduces oxygen levels in the water.

17. Invest in Rain Barrels

Rain barrels capture excess stormwater from your rooftop for future use. They are relatively inexpensive to install and provide a free source of water for use on your lawn or garden.

Additionally, rain barrels prevent excess rainwater from contributing to stormwater runoff. Water flows faster over hard surfaces and can lead to more instances of flooding.

18. Install a Rain Garden

Properly installed rain gardens act as small wetlands. They reduce excess stormwater runoff while the plants neutralize pollutants in the water. When stormwater runoff flows over hard surfaces, it picks up pollutants from oil and gas spills and fertilizers. Rain gardens prevent these contaminants from making their way into water bodies.

With a little effort, you can reduce your family’s carbon footprint and make your 2018 a little bit greener.

Image credit: pexels

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him. Follow him on Facebook here.

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