My wife and I were chatting recently about using more greywater in the garden. She told me about a conversation she overheard, where a woman was asking what ‘greywater’ actually was and it got me thinking.
Firstly, how often does my wife eaves drop on other people’s conversations… and secondly; perhaps a vast majority of people are not only unaware of the benefits of using grey water, but are actually not aware of what it is at all.
Greywater, to put it simply, is the used water from sinks, showers, baths and washing machines that can be used to water gardens, trees, bushes and lawns, instead of using fresh water out of the tap. Greywater is not to be confused with Blackwater which contains faecal matter and is not to be used on lawns… just a heads up.
How do chemical cleaners affect our plants?
Water shortages are a reality in South Africa and anything we can do to re-use water is something we can all benefit from and should strive towards. The concern and doubt about using greywater often stems from people being unsure or unaware of the chemicals in their household products and how they will affect the plants and grass in our gardens and are therefore reluctant to use it.
Thankfully there are household cleaning products available that use all natural ingredients that are not harmful to plants, trees or grass and the greywater from these can be used freely to keep gardens looking well-watered and green and healthy over the dry months.
A friend of mine who lives in Kommetjie made his own ‘greywater system,’ whereby all of the used water from his washing machine flows into a set of pipes which are linked to his vegetable and herb gardens. The results have been incredible. He uses Better Eearth Laundry Gel and is safe in the knowledge that it is perfectly safe to use on his prized vegetable and herb patch. I have tried some of his vegetables and they are delicious.
Check out the video on how to make a simple system:
The process of setting up a greywater system is not as complicated as one would think either and there are many easy to follow examples online. More often than not all it takes is a two way valve that you can then switch between a pipe that goes to your garden and one that flows out into the usual drainage. I recently visited a plumbing store and asked about it and it is very affordable and relatively simple to install.
No more worries about your household products
One of the many benefits of using natural household products is the peace of mind that comes with knowing that what you are putting into the earth has no knock on effects to the broader environment and is readily bio-degradable. There is so much to worry about in the world but this is thankfully no longer one of them.
A good example is using grey water when camping. My family and I love camping and there is nothing like reconnecting with nature by sleeping out under the stars in a tent. Unless you forget to put in the guy ropes like I did and the tent tries to blow away with your family inside!
With us and most people, “leaving only footprints” is the order of the day when we are packing up after our stay. While it is easy to pack and clean up, our worry used to be about the chemicals used to wash dishes and clothes, which would often end up making its way into the surrounding environment.
With all natural products, like the Better Earth Dishwashing Liquid we felt safe in the knowledge that we could wash our dishes and then simply empty the wash tub right out on the grass nearby where it would nourish the lawn.
Making new friends around considerate living
One of the things we enjoy about camping is the outdoor community and making new friends with fellow like-minded adventurers. So on a recent trip we were proud to be able to use our Better Earth Natural Dishwashing Liquid and then throw the used water in the nearby bushes. Some campers nearby were washing dishes and we got to talking and they were very interested in the dishwashing liquid we were using. Fantastically, once they learned what we were using, were very keen to try some and told us they would like to stop using the traditional dishwashing liquid they had brought with them. (In fact we gave so much away, we are going to bring extra next time we camp).
We all need to do as much as we can to save water as it seems weather is becoming less and less predictable and we are seeing warmer and warmer temperatures. Watering the garden is simply no longer an option unless it is with greywater and all natural cleaning products make it possible to do and much safer for our plants and much better for the earth.
by Craig Lees
Editor’s note: Yay I am rocking all the Better Earth products now and what a pleasure! And yes, my grey water flows freely into the garden. Good idea to have that collection drum to filter the water first, and then target specific plants. Very useful video? Even I could make that.
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