Even without modifying your plumbing, you can recycle grey water at home today if you’re willing to put a little elbow grease into it. Collect shower or bathtub water in a bucket. Dump the bucket into toilet bowls to flush the contents or use it to water the yard. Don’t let collected grey water sit for too long: Within 24 hours, bacteria and other pathogens can multiply, turning safe grey water into hazardous (and stinky) “blackwater.”
For a little extra cash, you can also buy “toilet top sinks” that pull water for flushing through a tank-top sink first. Wash your hands and the grey water gets used to refill the toilet tank immediately. Available systems (details here and here) install without tools or plumbing know-how.
- Pros: Basically free — and it’s a renter-friendly application if you have enough uses for the water.
- Cons: Definitely not a set-it-and-forget it system. Requires continuous elbow grease to keep the bucket system operating.
- You need: A bucket and strong arms.
- Estimated Cost: $5 for a pair of buckets per bathroom. $100 and up for a toilet-top sink.