Welcome to Green Boot Camp

Welcome to Green Boot Camp blog, a 52-week program to help you become a greener you in 2008. This is the companion blog to The Lean Green Family (formerly Suddenly Frugal).

Monday, September 8, 2008

Week 34--Reusable Water Sources

This past weekend we were treated to the remnants of Tropical Storm Hanna, which dumped about four inches of rain on our thirsty landscape. As most gardeners know a great way to get your potted plants watered without wasting water is to set them out on your step or in the front yard when you're in for a good downpour. The plants will get a great drink, and you won't have to turn on the tap to quench their thirst.

There are other ways that you can create reusable water sources throughout your house, and this week in Green Boot Camp, I want you to figure out what those reusable water sources are--and how you can use them.

For example, my daughters take refillable water bottles to school each day in their lunch boxes. At night when I'm cleaning their lunch boxes out, if there is any water left in the bottles, I'll use it to water the indoor plants. Sure, the easiest thing to do would be to dump it down the drain, by why not get a second use out of it?

Over the summer, when we were swimming in our pool nearly daily, I had everyone get into their post-pool shower with their bathing suits on. I explained that you could clean yourself and your suit at the same time. That is after soaping up with shampoo, you could take your bathing suit off and let it wash itself in the bottom of the tub. Then, when you rinsed your body, your bathing suit got rinsed, too. This saved me from having to hand wash bathing suits, and the quick washings has extended the bathing suits' life because we're getting the chlorine off of the fabric pretty quickly.

I've also found my dehumidifier to be a terrific source of free water. Here's how I've taken to reusing that water:

* Pouring it into the washing machine as I'm filling a load. I have to do this when the load is filling, otherwise the water goes right down the drain. I figure that if the dehumidifier water helps to fill up the washing machine's tub, I use less water (which I pay for, now that we're on a public system) when washing my clothes.

* Using it to flush the toilets. Yes, I admit that we often subscribe to the notion of "If it's yellow, let it mellow. If it's brown flush it down." That is, if you don't have to flush the toilet every time you use it, don't do it so you can save water. Of course, if I were having guests over or I was at someone else's house, I wouldn't ever do this. I'd flush with each bathroom use. But when it's just the four of us around, it works for us.

* Filling the kitchen sink with the water to let dirty dishes soak. Because dehumidifier water isn't potable--and therefore I can't refill the dog's water dish with it--I can use it to soak of stuck-on gunk before placing anything in the dishwasher.

* Dumping it in the pool. Of course, this option will stay viable for only as long as the pool stays open. But, then again, I tend not to run the dehumidifier during the cold weather months, because it isn't humid out.

Let me know if you come up with other ways to reuse water during this week of Green Boot Camp.


Anonymous said...

Using water left over in a water bottle is a good idea unless you've already over watered your plant. It makes for a messy flood, using three towels for clean up that will now require washing, probably using more water than if I'd just dumped the water down the drain. But it is a good idea! :>)

Leah Ingram said...

I'm guessing you learned this over-watering lesson the hard (or should I say wet) way? Sorry about that.