Want to know how to use kitchen waste water for gardening? Read the complete article.
Sustainable living aims at limiting the amount of natural resources you use. Those living a sustainable life or planning to give it a try swear by water conservation as the first step.
Looking for avenues to conserve water and reusing water from the kitchen is what this article is all about. It specifies techniques on how to use kitchen waste water for gardening.
Why should we use kitchen waste water for gardening?
The answer to why kitchen waste water needs to be reused can be found in statistics of water consumption in the US.
According to statistical research, an average American household uses about 80 – 100 gallons of water every day and wastes nearly the same amount. Water wastage does not only mean leaving the taps running or not fixing a leak. It also means not using water frugally.
This results in wastage of above 900 million gallons of water annually in the US alone. These figures are alarmingly high and the need to conserve water becomes even more important.
In the kitchen, there are a number of ways in which water can be reused. Right from the water used to wash fruits and vegetables to the water used to rinse out utensils, there is always a possibility to reuse water. let’s have a look at how to use kitchen wastewater for gardening.
Can kitchen waste water be used for gardening?
A few people often ask, Is kitchen waste water good for plants? Can kitchen waste water be used for gardening? Let us try to find out.
Over the years a lot of research has been conducted on the classification of used water. The two broad classifications that scientists have zero downed on are Grey water and Blackwater. The one question that keeps popping up is can kitchen water be used for gardening? is kitchen water grey water or black water?
Considering that the distinction between grey water and black water is simple yet a little controversial when it comes to kitchen water.
Grey water in a definition is categorized as water that is free from sewage. It can also be defined as municipal water that is used and then reused. Some experts believe that waste water from the kitchen comes under the black water as it contains grease and other oils while others argue that it is grey water as a majority of the water used does not contain oily components.
Not that is clear that kitchen waste water can be reused let’s have a look at how to use kitchen wastewater for gardening.
How to recycle kitchen waste water at home
There are a number of ways in which water from the kitchen can be reused. Most of these methods do not require additional equipment all you need is the presence of mind and a willingness to bring about a change, however minuscule it may seem.
Before planning on how to reuse waste water it is important to pay attention to your routine and see where the maximum amount of water is used. Focus on your kitchen and the amount of time you spend on it.
Here is a checklist
- Do you have a dishwasher? yes / no
- If no, how do you do the dishes, under running water, or a basin filled with water?
- If yes where does the water go? Is it connected to the main drain line / does it have a separate outlet?
- What do you do with the water-filled in your nightstand bottle or bottles you use around the house, once it gets old?
- How do you wash fruits and vegetables? Under a running tap / in a basin filled with water?
Answers to most of these questions will indicate that we in one way or the other use water lavishly. This is not a bad thing, but what if you make a few alterations? Do you think it will help save water?
let’s find out how to use kitchen waste water for gardening by making a few alterations in our regular routine.
#1 Save waste water from bottles
As a habit, most of us throw away unused water from bottles. This can be water that we filter at home and bottled or commercially bottled water. If instead of dunking this water into the drain we have a collection tub or bucket in the kitchen itself we will be able to collect a lot of unused water.
Taking this further you can have collection hubs around the house for those who would like to make the task a little simpler.
Another option when it comes to the use of bottled water is having a few plants in the bedroom or kitchen and emptying the bottles straight into the pot. this way you will not need to come all the way to the kitchen to collect unused water.
The third option is having an external pipe on windows. This pipe will carry the water either to a collection bin or to the irrigation plant of the garden, depending on the scale of your garden.
Tip: Empty the collection bins regularly or seal them properly. There are a chances insects or microbes will start to breed in them.
#2 Using pasta and rice waste water
The water used to boil pasta and rice is a good source of starch not only for us but for plants as well. As a rule of thumb, the water used to boil pasta and rice is thrown away. Some of it may be used to flavor the sauce but most of it is discarded.
If this water is collected and added to the compost pit it can add several nutrients needed for plants to grow. Another option to use this water is by watering the plants directly with it. either mix it water that you use to water the plants, or add it to the soil as it is.
This method of conservation will not only save water but will also provide much-needed nourishment to the plants.
#3 Using waste water after washing fruits and vegetables
If you make a list of all kitchen activities that require water. Washing fruits and vegetables will rank number 1 or 2 on excessive water usage. This is an unavoidable task and it is advisable to rinse out fruits and vegetables thoroughly before consumption.
Generally, we leave vegetables and fruits under running water and wash them one at a time. This wastes a lot of water considering the fact that we will need at least 5 minutes to clean all vegetables and fruits we have purchased.
A number of reports have suggested using a bowl filled with water to rinse out veggies and fruits. In theory, this is good and it claims to save a lot of water but when done practically it just doesn’t seem to be enough.
On the other hand, it is also not very practical to wash veggies in a single tub of water. None of us will want to take a chance with the health of our family and hence we continue to use running water even though we are aware of the amount of what that is being wasted.
To continue to do this and save water at the same time might seem impossible but there are ways in which it can be done.
Method 1 – Collecting kitchen waste water in containers
The water used to rinse out vegetables can be collected in containers without letting it into the drain. One way of doing it is by using a strainer while washing the veggies or fruits.
Strainer or perforated containers are a good way to collect the dust and grind coming from vegetables and fruits. Such containers coupled with a collection container at the bottom gives you the perfect device you can save a lot of water with.
Simply wash the vegetables or fruits as usual and collect water in the container. This water can then be used to water your plants.
This is an incredible and non-expensive way in which you can use kitchen waste water for gardening.
Method 2 – Using limited water to wash fruits and vegetables
This method is time-consuming and is along the same lines as using a tub of water to wash all your produce.
In this method, we focus on fruits or vegetables that do not need running water. some that need just enough for a quick rinse, in such cases they can be washed in a basin filled with water. In this way, you can get rid of external dirt on produce and also save water.
This can be done by filling a container with water and rinsing the fruits and vegetables using the water from this container. You can have a small bowl or tumbler to scoop out water. Use this water to wash your veggies or fruits in another container which can then be used in the garden.
This method is a little time consuming but it works effectively to keep an eye on the amount of water used. It is also a good way to teach kids how to conserve water and be mindful of the amount of water they use.
Method 3 – Using tap attachments
There are a number of attachments for taps available these days to reduce the amount of water used to wash vegetables and fruits. These shower-like gadgets reduce the amount of water used with a technology similar to that of a jet spray used while washing cars. They spray less water at high speed in a way that the vegetables are thoroughly cleaned.
These devices combined with a container to collect the used water is perfect for water conservation.
#4 Using waste water after washing or rinsing utensils
Like washing fruits and vegetables rinsing utensils take up a lot of water. In kitchens across the US people either use a dishwasher or choose to do the dishes manually in the sink. In both cases, there is a lot of water that is utilized on a regular basis.
Secondly, in most cases, we would rinse vessels before using them. This is another way in which water is used for utensils. These make washing utensils another way in which a lot of water is wasted.
In order to conserve the water used when using the sink, you can use a container to collect water after washing utensils. This water can then be used to water plants.
Some may argue that the soap used while washing utensils can make the water unfit for use.
This is true, if you use regular soap there are chances that it will do more harm than good. It increases the acidity of the soil and it can hard the plants and may cause long-lasting damage to the soil. But this is no reason to stop water conservation.
These days, more and more companies are coming up with washing solutions that are not harmful to the environment. These products can be used when collecting kitchen waste water without a second thought. This makes it reason enough to check the contents of the dish wash solution you use.
#5 using leftover ice
Most of us throw out leftover ice without a second thought. But, did you know that this can also be used in gardens? You can scatter leftover ice on lawns and allow it to melt.
If you do not have a lawn consider dropping them into containers that you use to store other kitchen water. in this way, you will save a lot of water by just including leftover ice.
These are simple ways in which waste water from the kitchen can be collected. Most of these methods do not need much effort or monetary investment. It can be done the day you decide you want to start.
We all have containers and basins lying around in the house that is not used. You can make use of these containers to collect water in the beginning and then move on to bigger containers or invest in a full-fledged system.
Other than these there are more permanent ways in which kitchen waste water can be used for gardening.
How to recycle kitchen waste water
If you are wondering how to use kitchen waste water for gardening in a manner that is more permanent and less time-consuming you can opt for one of the methods specified below.
Method 1: Installing a plumbing system
In order to reuse or recycle kitchen waste water, you can install a plumbing system in a way as to collect water used in the kitchen sink before it connects to the main sewage line.
If you would like to know how to use kitchen wastewater for gardening, you can start with installing a plumbing system that supports the cause. As most plumbing in modern homes is concealed it becomes a little difficult to make insertions and alterations.
One option is to leave the plumbing as it is and add an external extension or regulator. An external regulator works in two ways one will reduce the amount of work you will need to put in while changing the plumbing system and two it is easily accessible and also easily repairable if you face a problem. This can be done on your own or you could get a plumber to help install the PVC connections.
There are a number of videos available over the internet on how changing the plumbing will help conserve water. These DIY methods have proved to be beneficial to use kitchen waste water for gardening. Simply put a connection made by splitting the inlet – in this case, used water that comes from the sink into two sections instead of the original one that connects the main drain.
With the help of a split pipe connection, you can either direct waste water directly to the garden or it can be stored and then used.
The water used from the sink in most cases will need treatment and filtration. This will help reduce the number of impurities. For this you will also need to install a filter, a thin wire mesh or cloth filter will work just fine to filter out grease, oil and scraps.
Method 2 – Installing an external collection device
Installation of an external collection device can be the easiest way in which you can collect the water used in your kitchen sink. This can be done by installing a collection tank, under the sink with a pipe that takes the water to the garden.
In this way, you will not need to alter the existing connections and will be able to collect the waste water under the sink itself.
If there is not enough space under the sink you can have the tank right outside the house with an inlet for the kitchen waste water. This can then be connected to your garden watering system.
Grey water reuse for kitchen gardening
Grey water can be reused for kitchen gardening? The methods explained in the previous sections help understand the methods in which greywater from the kitchen can be reused for gardening. With the number of technological advancements, you can get an entire system installed in a few thousand dollars.
These systems are designed especially considering domestic use. They have filters pumps and also storage and dispersion plants that make the conservation process simple.
These plants can be connected to the irrigation system of your garden. You could also use perforated pipes that run across the garden to create a system of your own.
Grey water can be used for kitchen gardening
It may so happen that you do not have an extensive garden due to the lack of time or space. Either way, if you still want to have a garden you can opt for kitchen gardens.
These are best for small-scale gardening where you concentrate on growing a few plants in and around your kitchen. If the scale of the garden is reduced you will not need an extensive plant.
This way a small pump fit in a collection tank along with minimal PVC piper will do the job just fine. All you need are a few planters and plants that can be grown using grey water.
Grey water can not only be used on plants in the garden but it has also been proven beneficial to ornamental plants.
Tip: there are a few plants that cannot stand grey water. Check the needs of individual plants before planting them in a garden sustained by grey water.
Like all things, there are also advantages and disadvantages of using kitchen waste water for gardening.
Advantages of reusing kitchen waste water for gardening
By understanding how to use kitchen waste water for gardening you can:
- Reduce water bills by a considerable amount: This is a given. With the cost of living in the US increased every year, a penny saved is a penny earned. By conserving water and reusing waste water you will not require a separate water connection or tank for your garden. This will in turn help reduce the amount you spend on water every year.
- Conservation is good for future generations: Water we use at home comes from natural resources and conserving it is not only good for us but will also benefit future generations.
- Irrigation is the way to go: Along with using grey water, if you plan a system that relies on irrigation, you will not only save time but will also save water. this way you are covered when it comes to draughts and on days and months when there are restrictions on the amount of water you can use for your garden.
- Reduce pollution in waterways: When you have provisions to utilize grey water at the source itself. You are sending out less water in the local waste water system. This way you are doing your bit to reduce pollutants in waterways.
- Motivation to grow more at home: When you have a system in place you are naturally motivated to grow more. In this way, you are contributing towards building a cleaner and greener ecosystem. You will also be able to produce vegetables and fruits that you are sure is organic and free of chemicals.
Along with advantages, there are also disadvantages of reusing kitchen waste water for gardening
- The most obvious disadvantage of installing a full-fledged system is the cost. Households across the US find it difficult to install a system that’s so elaborate in a single go. The costs associated are a major drawback considering the fact that there is no subsidization or monitory benefits associated with installing a fully functional commercially installed system.
- The second disadvantage is that there are a number of external factors associated with water collection and purification that are not in your control. For example
- The rules and regulations with regards to the installation of the plant in your area.
- The cost of water in rural areas that are fluctuating and the scarcity of water in rural areas.
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To sum it up
We can say that using kitchen waste water for gardening is not a difficult task. All you need to consider is the amount you are willing to spend on the solution. You can opt for DIY methods to conserve and reuse water or go in for full-fledged solutions. It depends on the extent of your garden.
While looking for permanent solutions on how to use kitchen wastewater for gardening you will also need to consider holidays and periods when the system will not run. Check the implications beforehand and methods in which you can reduce spoilage.
I’m Elsa, and I love gardening. I started GardeningElsa.com as a resource for other gardeners, and I offer expert advice on gardening topics such as plants, flowers, herbs, and vegetable gardening. On my website, I share my latest tips and tricks for creating beautiful gardens. When I’m not working on my website, you can find me in my own garden, tending to my plants and flowers. Read more about me.