If you ever carry a bowl of bathwater outside to water the plants then you are already recycling some of your greywater. Greywater is the wastewater from baths, showers and hand basins. It can be relatively clean – depending on how much soap, shampoo and shower gel you use – and it can be collected and reused.
At the moment, greywater reuse systems are not common because of:
- The expense – they can cost a lot to install and maintain and the payback period may be long.
- The quality of the water – after some basic treatment greywater is usually clean enough for flushing toilets but when left to stand in a greywater storage tank, water quality can to go down as bacteria levels rise.
The British Standard BS8525-1:2010 (Greywater Systems Code of Practice)will tell you that greywater should only be for toilet flushing, garden use and washing machines, as long as it has been treated enough. It shouldn’t be used for bathing, dish washing or anything that needs safe and wholesome water quality, because of potential higher health risks.
Because greywater recycling technology is quite new to the UK, and plumbers are not always familiar with them, we have produced some guidance and advice to help.