Greywater is domestic waste water from activities such as laundry, dishwashing, and bathing. Unlike sewage water (which is referred to as blackwater), greywater can be safely recycled for use in the landscape without the use of any special treatment systems. Because we use large amounts of this type of water for daily household activities the average bathtub uses 26 gallons, in extreme drought conditions greywater can be a great way to conserve water.
The organic contaminants in some greywater, such as food particles, can supply plants with valuable nutrients for growth. However, greywater that is heavily contaminated with salt, soap residues, fats, or grease can be toxic (to both microbial and plant life) and should be avoided. Some types of domestic greywater are better than others for use in the garden. In order of preference they are: shower, bathtub, bathroom sink, and utility sink, provided bleaches or strong detergents have not been used. Water from dishwashers and washing machines is not safe to use as it contains too much detergent.Depending on your home's air quality, the water you collect from your dehumidifier may also be used. In fact, water from this source can actually be better for your plants than the water from your tap. Unlike tap water, a dehumidifier condenses water vapor out of the air so it contains none of the dissolved minerals that are sometimes present in tap water. It's unsafe for human consumption as there may be bacteria growing in it, but it should be fine to use on your plants.
About The Author: Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services.
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