The Be the Change Project’s Top Tips for Regenerative Living #2 Greywater



This is the second installment of our Be the Change Project’s tips for regenerative living. Here is the first.  We’re out to restore and improve the environment while also improving our quality of life through closer connections to people, place, and purpose.

What comes up in your mind when you hear the word “greywater”?  Several years ago before we lived with greywater systems at several places across the country I would have pictured some fancy system of pipes and filters, probably a storage tank, maybe even a pond with cattails and some fish.  It would probably involve some expensive gizmos, maybe a pump, too, that had to be found online and was made in China.  But what did I know then?  Very little.

Creating and maintaining a greywater system is easy to do. Don’t let the word, “system” scare you, though, because a system is just a solution with multiple parts.  Sure, a big system like health care can quickly become complex but we’re just talking about dribbling your water into your backyard.  A hole in the wall, a couple pipes, and a hole in the ground (technically called a “mulch basin”) are the basics.  There is a strange tendency in people to complicate systems so consider yourself warned as you start your research.  And, fine, depending on your home’s foundation or your living circumstances you may need a pump or a bucket or a hose or some other stuff made in China but that’s OK.  Just remember that in most cases simple is the rule and learning (read: mistakes) will happen along your journey. 

Check the laws, too. I’m pretty sure every system I’ve lived with was not code-approved, God help us, but every system worked and served a higher purpose.   

Having a greywater system is, to be clear, another responsibility.  In terms of effort it falls somewhere between owning a cat and having a pet rock: not much but it’s there.  We have to remember that we can’t expect meaningful connections to nature and place to just happen around our conventional toxic homes in cities or suburbia without some conscious input.  A walk on a lovely beach and Bam! you’re in the moment with the cosmos. My backyard that backs up to a busy road with crummy condos perched above our doings?  Not so much.  Connection and regenerative living takes a little something.  But, this responsibility is a good thing because what living with greywater does is create a positive feedback loop that impacts what we buy, what we throw “away” and how we live. One has to be a grown up and change their habits to do right by greywater.  Follow along with me as I wax poetic about our own Greywater experience to see what I mean:

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