Just because residential water is cheap and plentiful here in upstate New York is no reason to waste it, and the average household does plenty of wasting: A single flush consumes three to seven gallons of water. Inefficient toilets and long showers are two of the biggest water wasters, together accounting for more than 40 percent of the 350 gallons of water used daily in a typical American home. But my eco-home is anything but typical—its graywater recycling system can save at least 110 gallons a day.
Graywater refers to the runoff from sinks, showers and washing machines (as opposed to blackwater, which contains solid waste). With some basic plumbing and a storage tank, it’s easy to recycle that water to flush my house’s four toilets. By using the water twice, I’ll also save wear on my septic system.