Enviro-tips,  water wisdom


My mother had a pink plastic bucket — oval-shaped, a bit unusual. We’d dump much of our waste water into it, and she’d haul it out to water her precious roses and other ornamentals. This was in the drought of the 1970s.

These days, my bucketting practices don’t usually involve a bucket. I’m much more direct.

My kitchen opens to my patio, thus I’m fortunate to have easy access to all my patio pots. Large bowl of water from washing veggies — does the dwarf apple tree need it, or is today the kumquat’s turn? Small amount of water from rinsing my teacup — out it goes to the trailing red geraniums.

If you live in a rental, condo, or apartment, you can use bucketting to water your container plants on your balcony, patio, or stairs. And bucketting to the landscaping around the complex is a way you can help keep the trees happy, even as the landowner decreases irrigation water. Who knows, maybe you can convince your neighbors to join in!

If your home isn’t set up so that you have direct access to plants, dump your available water into a bucket, like my mother did, to carry it out to your landscaping.

What goes in your “pink bucket”?

  • water from washing your hands (kitchen and bathroom)
  • potable water when you run the tap waiting for warm water (sink, bathtub, shower)
  • final rinse water when you’re washing dishes
  • pasta-cooking water, cooled to room temp
  • veggie-steaming water, cooled to room temp
  • soaking water from home mani-pedi – do it in a bucket or basin
  • handwashing fine laundry & sweaters — do it in basins, not directly in the sink

I have a large metal bowl which fits nicely into my sink. Easy to plop the bowl in there before I wash my hands or rinse a dish.

What doesn’t go in your “pink bucket”?

  • heavy fats, for instance washing a skillet
  • heavy soaps, for instance the initial pass when washing dishes

Change-maker DavidF adds: “the option of reusing saved water to flush the toilet is a viable option. Sometimes carrying a bowl/bucket around down the stairs/elevator is unfeasable. Perhaps not as satisfying as watering plants but not spilling water everywhere counts for something.”

At first, bucketting might not seem like much, kind of a “drop in the bucket” (pun intended). But focusing on reusable water raises consciousness: it helps you see the true scale of what you’ve been throwing “away” down the drain hole. And every little bit adds up. Imagine the scale if LOTS of us start doing this!