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Greywater, Sustainable Living, and You: A Beginner’s Guide

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With global warming topping the news agenda in countries all around the world, it’s no surprise that sustainable living is more prevalent than ever. At The Whirlpool Bath Shop, we naturally work with water quite a lot, and it’s this reason that sustainability is becoming a key focus in both our product range and our ethos. With that in mind, we thought we’d take today’s blog post in a greener direction by discussing a topic which ties seamlessly into whirlpool baths and showers – and that’s greywater.

What is “greywater”?

It may sound like something Gandalf uses to takes a bath, but greywater is much more than that. Put simply, the term “greywater” refers to all the excess water produced by a household which is not contaminated with anything potentially hazardous – like water from the toilet, for example. The most common sources of greywater in a UK home are:

  • Bathtubs
  • Showers
  • Bathroom basins
  • Washing machines
  • Dishwashers

The excess water being produced by these sources may well have traces of soaps and other cleaning products, but it will not be hazardous to the health, as the water from toilet or sewage systems can be. The name for this kind of ‘in between’ water is greywater.

How greywater can benefit household sustainability

To be totally clear, greywater is not a form of pure water. In fact, greywater can still contain potential pathogens due to the fact that water used to clean our bodies may contain bugs and other nasties. That said, greywater is nowhere near as dirty as water sent to sewage via toilet plumbing systems. For this reason, it’s much easier to filter and re-use greywater, which reduces the strain on conventional sewage treatment systems and reduces the overall water usage in a home. There are a couple of key ways that greywater can be leveraged to improve household sustainability:

  • Flushing the toilet can use more than 10 litres of water, which can be pretty wasteful when it’s done several times a day. By diverting greywater, like that used to wash clothes, back into the toilet system, non-sewage water can be re-used to reduce the wasted fresh water produced by flushing.
  • Garden irrigation is another very popular form of greywater re-use. Rather than using processed fresh water, which increases strain on treatment systems, diverted greywater can be used to water plants in the garden.

How do home greywater systems work?

The key to a home greywater system is the redirection of used water into a tank where it can be lightly processed for re-use in the ways we’ve discussed – among others. These systems usually do some basic water treatment, like removing large debris from the water and automatically flushing any unused greywater after it’s been standing for a certain length of time. Because greywater isn’t fully treated and cleaned, these processes exist to ensure that the redirected water remains useful for its purpose. When a greywater system is implemented in a home, you can expect to see water savings of 30% or more – and that’ll show in your budget too, so it’s well worth considering.

For more info about saving water in the home, be sure to read our recent blog post Don't Pull That Plug: How Recycling Water Can Save More Than Money. And if you’d like to know more about running your bathroom more sustainably, or simply discover our range of eco-friendly whirlpool bath options, feel free to call our friendly team anytime on 0800 028 6174. 

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