It was all that panicked handwashing at the start of the pandemic that got me really thinking about water use. The more I thought about it, the more obscene it seemed that we routinely used gallons and gallons of clean drinking water to flush away our pee and poop.

I quote no experts or studies here. It’s just common sense, and common courtesy to our Mother, Earth.

If you don’t have the money to outfit your home with a pricey system that recycles your gray water, you can use a few bucks to buy a couple of plastic (or metal) basins and a 2- or 3-gallon bucket. The basins fit into your kitchen and bathroom sinks; the bucket sits beside your toilet.

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Even the water we use to rinse food off plates before putting them into the dishwasher fills that kitchen basin pretty fast. Add the rinse water from pots and pans, and before you know it, it’s almost overflowing, ready to pour into the bucket.

That basin in the bathroom fills up quickly too, as you let precious water pour out of the spigot until it’s hot enough to wash your face with.

If you leave your bath water in the tub, it heats the room a little and is another huge source of water for toilet flushing.

Francette Cerulli: Potty training for grownups

A fringe benefit from using secondhand water: It always has a little soap or detergent in it. Your toilet becomes almost self-cleaning!

Scooping and carrying a few gallons of water every day is also a boon for upper-body strength. After a few weeks, you’ll look for any excuse to roll up your sleeve and show off your water-toting muscles.

Just ignore that stray spinach leaf or occasional noodle in your toilet from dish rinsing; it’s nowhere near as disgusting as using earth’s pristine drinking water for flushing our body’s waste away.

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Donate nowFiled under:Tags: flushing toilets, francette cerulli, gray water, secondhand water

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