Greywater: Panalo ka sa Tipid

Simple lang naman. Make it easy to collect greywater and use it to flush your toilets.


Two things come into play when it comes to water. First, the monetary cost to the homeowner. The estimated numbers we are talking about are such: A large pail, around 5 gallons, costs ₱3. Using greywater for a month (and this was just previous vs the month), did bring down my water bill by ₱20. And everyday for a year, this would total to about ₱1,065. Second, there’s the whole-picture cost to the environment where we are learning that every single thing we do, from the obviously bad-for-the-ozone, use of oil in cars or raising cows, to the not-so, such as building a road or turning on a light bulb have a big impact on the environment because there are so many of us who do it. So this means if all of us waste 5 gallons of water, that’s humongous. So we have to consider everything that goes into bringing those 5 gallons to your faucet, manufacturing pipes, building waterways, running pumps, and purifying that water. All of these product greenhouse gases, apart from taking natural resources. 

And while I’m not at the point where my carbon footprint is zero, I still run an aquarium for example, I do try to make everyday changes, hence the use of greywater.


1. Container availability: have a pail for greywater for each toilet you have. If you’re worried about smell or mosquitoes, get those with covers.

2. Filling up the containers: bring them along any place you have water waste. Here are good candidates:

  • dishwashing: I was surprised that I actually filled 2 buckets every meal I would wash for. The tip here is to wash the container-like dishes first, i.e., was utensils over the rice cooker inner pot, or any deep pots.
  • showers: take a shower with a pail under you, another surprise because even if not all water goes into the pail, I would still collect a lot of greywater
  • aquarium water changes: this is a morning routine for me. Toilets are unflushed from 9pm onwards, and I do my greywater changes the first thing I wake up
  • rice washing (special mention): this is Pinoy tradition because water used to wash rice is excellent for watering plants
3. Coordinating the use of greywater: Running my aquarium has a zero net effect on my water because of my process:

  1. I stop flushing toilets at night and just keep the lids closed (toilet lid down is good feng shui practice anyway)
  2. In the morning, I fill up a bucket of greywater from my aquarium, flush, and then pour it in the toilet tank.
  3. I fill up a second bucket of greywater, so after my next flush of the day, I can refill the tank with this second bucket of greywater.
  4. I also use some of the aquarium water to water my plants
  5. Washing dishes is always an opportunity to fill up any greywater buckets that have been used. Since greywater from washing dishes might be a bit dirtier, I flush down the toilet directly and not through the tank.

So what’s not so good is not flushing right away, but I do solve this somewhat by putting in toilet cleaner bombs.

Aside from lowering my water bill, an unintended side effect is that my plants grow so well with the aquarium waste water.  Many plantitos and plantitas known that direct from faucet water is bad for plants because of chlorine and chloramine. Aquarium water has stood in open air so that the chlorine will have evaporated already. The nitrates from fish waste are just ambrosia for plants. 

And there you have it, my little part in saving water. A quick search online will show you many automatic ways to be even efficient with greywater use: I’ll try to get to that level.

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