There has never been a more important time to cherish and preserve water, which is why so many people are starting to recycle their water for further use.
There are many different techniques that you can implement to recycle water at home such as reusing water from washing fruits and vegetables, setting up a rain barrel, investing in a water recycling system, washing cars on lawns, bucket showers, and repurposing poured drinking water.
Many people often fail to recognize that water is one of our most precious and valuable resources. It is the most essential component of life on the entire planet and although it is easy to assume that we have an infinite supply of it, the sad truth is that it is actually quite scarce. In recent years, we have been seeing more water shortages in areas around the country than ever before, which is forcing a lot of politicians and everyday people to consider ways to save this finite resource. Although there are many different lifestyle changes and strategies that we can utilize to save water, one of the best ways to approach it is to recycle water. Keep reading to understand everything that you need to know about how to recycle water.
After years of working as a representative of the Environmental Protection Agency that deals with water management, I have had an extensive amount of in-depth experience analyzing the different ways that we can conserve and preserve water within the United States. My experience has taught me that one of the best ways to save water is to recycle it.
Water Recycling Techniques
One of the most important reasons for us to begin utilizing different methods and strategies to save water in our society is that we are using more of this limited resource now than ever before. A major aspect of this comes from the rise in human population around the globe but a lot of our water mismanagement comes simply from our misuse of it right at home. We have forgotten the importance of valuing our water supply - given that our easy access to it leads many people to believe that we will have it forever.
Unfortunately, this is not the case. Although the majority of our planet is made of water, the actuality is that only about 3% of it is freshwater - of which the majority is locked in the polar ice caps. The total amount of water that is accessible to us is only about 1%, which is staggeringly low to meet the human world’s water needs.
Luckily, much of the world is waking up to the dilemma of recycling water - with water shortages happening in various places around the planet and global warming being in full swing, it has never been more vital to take direct action to save our water supply. One of the best ways to achieve this is to start recycling water.
So much of the water that we used actually gets misused. A lot of people abuse water without even knowing it, which results in billions of gallons of water being wasted around the world every year. It is estimated that the average American wastes roughly 30 gallons of water per day and that a family wastes just under 10,000 gallons per year. Given that so many people in the world still do not have access to safe drinking water, this is a resource that we can not afford to be mismanaging any longer. By utilizing water recycling, we can save as much as 1 billion gallons of water per year, which is roughly 6% of our total water supply. To help you understand this further, we are going to take a closer look at how to recycle water in more detail.
Reuse Fruit & Vegetable Wash Water
A great way to recycle water is to reutilize the water that you use for washing your fruits and vegetables. Every time we go to wash our produce items, we leave our sinks on with precious water that simply flows straight into the drain, which is incredibly wasteful when you calculate a lifetime of washing fruits and vegetables.
This water is more or less clean, contains zero toxins, and can be reused for so many different purposes. The best way to recycle this water is to keep a small bowl or bucket underneath your hands while you wash your produce.
Given that this water is still very clean, you can then use it for things like watering your plants, garden, or even filter it for drinking water. Implementing a basic system that allows you to recycle the water that you use to wash your fruits and vegetables could result in your household saving hundreds or even thousands of gallons of water per year with just this one technique.
One of the best times to utilize water recycling is when it is raining. Although water supplies can be quite scarce, this valuable resource does fall out of the sky from time to time, which provides a perfect opportunity to implement a very effective water recycling strategy.
Rainwater accounts for so much of the water that could be used efficiently in society but it generally tends to just flow through our drainage system and into the ocean.
A great way to capture and recycle your rainwater is to set up a rain barrel at your home. A rain barrel is essentially a barrel or water container system that you set up with your gutters. You can attach your gutters through a basic routing system of pipes that go straight into a water container or you can take an even easier route by simply placing a barrel underneath your gutter drain.
This water is perfect for recycling and repurposing as it is clean, safe, and can be used in so many different ways at home. Many homeowners connect a garden hose to the base of their rain barrels and use this water for watering their plants and their gardens.
However, you can also take this a step further by using this water to take care of some of your showering needs or you can even filter it and then have it be some of your drinking water supply.
Water Recycling System
One of the most innovative ways to recycle water is to install a water recycling system at your home or business.
A water recycling system is undeniably a bit more work to set up and it will also require a larger investment to get the operation in motion. The way it works is that you have your home’s wastewater from your sinks, showers, and other drainages all routed to a water recycling system.
There are a number of different water recycling systems out there. Some of them are quite basic and simply pour wastewater into a storage container (similar to a rain barrel). Whereas other more sophisticated water recycling systems actually go so far as to treat your water and make it clean again.
This water will need to be properly filtered again before drinking most of the time. However, there are some water treatment systems that can actually make your wastewater so clean that it is safe to drink.
If you do not opt for such a high-tech system and simply want to recycle your home’s wastewater, a basic system is more than enough for you to utilize your recycled water for things like watering plants, washing dishes, or washing your car.
Water Your Car On The Lawn
Did you know that when you wash your car in your driveway that you use up to 100 gallons of water to get the job done?
That is a lot of water that just ends up flowing into the city drain, which could have ultimately been used for something else. A great way to recycle this water from washing your car is to water your lawn with it at the same time.
Instead of leaving your car parked on your concrete driveway, park your vehicle on your lawn while you do your washing. As you wash your car, all of the water that you use during the process will end up going straight into your yard where it will benefit your grass and your soil.
So, if you have got a timer on your sprinklers, you can set it to skip the week that you wash your car, as 100 gallons should be more than enough to water your grass. Given that so many Americans have cars and lawns in their front yards, this is a highly effective way to recycle water and save millions of gallons of it per year.
We all need to get clean and have showers regularly but the amount of water that we waste during the process could be greatly eliminated by using bucket showers instead.
The average amount of water that is used during just a single shower of less than 10 minutes can be as much as 20 gallons. This is an unnecessary amount of water wasted to keep up with basic hygiene.
Instead of turning on your shower and letting the majority of the water simply flow into the drain, try filling up a bucket with the amount of water that you actually need for your shower and use that instead. You can fraction the amount of water that you would have otherwise used by doing this and you will feel just as clean after.
You can take this a step further by implementing a second bucket to catch the wastewater from your shower for more recycling. You can then use this wastewater for things like watering plants in your yard.
Reuse Poured Water
A golden rule to keep in mind when wanting to conserve and recycle water is that if you pour it down the drain, it is probably getting wasted. So, if you ever catch yourself pouring water, tea, or even coffee down the drain, you should think about another way that you can use it.
It is common to have water glasses or bottles lying around the house that have been half drunk and will likely end up getting poured out. While this may seem like a small amount of water to recycle at first, it all adds up in the end.
You can use this poured drinking water for things like watering any plants that you have in your house or you can even use it for drinking - since that is what it was already meant for! Another great way to recycle this water is to have a container near your sink that you can pour water into to save larger quantities for later use.
About THE AUTHOR
James Parker has a Masters degree in Sustainability with a focus on land management, permaculture and regenerative agriculture. He also has experience managing sustainability projects, and is passionate about conservation and sustainability.Read More About James Parker