Monday, July 03, 2006

A Little Bit of Anything Adds Up

I watered my garden yesterday with 10 gallons of water that would've gone down the drain. I've always dreamed of having some sort of graywater recovery system, but retrofitting one into this house would be a major and expensive project. So I decided to do something small to recover just some of the graywater - put a five gallon bucket in our shower, and whenever we turn on the shower to warm it up (which takes awhile on the second floor because the water heater is in the basement), the cold water that's running can go into the bucket. It's a shame to waste all of that clean water just because it's not warm!

After a couple of weeks of trying it, I'll say that the bucket system is working really well. Best of all, when you start looking at saving one little wasteful bit, it really opens your eyes to all the other bits that you're also throwing away. Now when I drain my cooler after camping, I drain it into a bucket. If I don't want to use it right then, I can just pour it into our rain barrel. And when I shower, I'm more cognizant of the amount of water that's being wasted, so I only turn the water on halfway - it still feels like a full shower, but it's using half as much water!

Sometimes it feels overwhelming to think about all of the things we'd like to change to become more sustainable. Making just one small change is easy though, and so many other changes can flow naturally from that. I recently read some wise words: "Walk in the direction you want to be going." It sounds so simple and it's really true. You don't have to get there today, but if you put one foot on the path, you're headed there eventually.

1 comment:

Danielle said...

Good for you! Sometimes it's easy to look at the new greener houses and become wistful about all we're not doing, isn't it?

We've kept a pitcher in the kitchen sink for a while now because it takes so long for the hot water to come up. I use that to water all my patio containers and some plants in the garden if I have extra. I also use all the "dirty" animal water in the barn for my plants.

My big change is to try to recover some of our washer water to water my garden--I do *so* many loads of wash with the kids. My plan is to divert the rinse into my laundry sink and then use buckets to carry it out. I need to try it first on various settings to make sure it can hold a full rinse cycle! And, of course, I'll be using a green detergent without phosphates.

After the 10 inches of rain we got last week, though, I haven't been in a real rush to try it.