Super simple grey water system


I hate to waste water, my wife does too. She grew up in a town where water was really scarce during the dry season. Every drop counted.

Today the town has most of the water it needs, but waste is not good in any way. And every drop still counts, here and anywhere on the planet.

One way to save water is water reuse.

Grey water is waste water that doesn’t come from the toilet. It can be water from the shower, bath tub, dishwashing or laundry.

This can be used to flush the toilet. If the soap or detergent used is biodegradable, which it should be anyway to not contaminate, it can also be used to water the plants and lawn.

Grey water systems are usually a bit sophisticated because they may have some filtration and traps, and tubing and drip irrigation systems installed, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Some toilet makers have models where the cistern’s cover is a washing basin, so you wash your hands with the water that fills de cistern after you flush, and that grey water will be used in the next flush. There are kits to convert a normal toilet to this system, too.

A big source of grey water, and wasted water if not used, is the laundry machine. And it can really be a lot of water, even if you have a very efficient model. Well, I had an idea to stop wasting it and it didn’t require a big expense in tubing and plumbing or other devices.

I had a big plastic waste bin in a corner, which we weren’t using anymore, and put it to good use in this project. I placed it next to the laundry machine and stuck the draining hose into it. That’s it!

Now, after its wash or rinse cycles, the bin fills up with the water and we use small buckets to empty it, watering the plants around the house. We can also leave the water in the bin and use it to flush the toilet if we want to.

This same thing could be done with dish washing machines too. This is not complicated stuff at all.

We don’t feel so guilty about doing laundry now. :)

A blog without open source


I’ve been thinking how one could create a simple blog, yet pretty complete, without using any open-source script.

The most complex and sensitive part seems to be the users management and commenting, but if they are limited to the comments section, that is now easily solved using a free service one just adds to the page, e.g. Disqus.

One could even do without a database and use just files to store the content for each page. That means one would do the updates with a text editor and FTP client.

The posts would include all the data unique to that post, while a template file would include the unchanging elements in all pages.

Sorting the blog posts would be done using the file names. Using a format that includes the date it is meant to be posted, one could back-date or schedule a post easily. URLs can be made nicer using .htaccess rules.

Although categorization and tagging are harder and less efficient to achieve without a database, a single file could be used to list the tags and categories with their posts in arrays, I guess.

A database may not be much more trouble, though. Same with a simple form to create and edit the posts.

Searching can be done using Google’s site search.

For files use Amazon S3, or Flickr and YouTube for added social exposure and potential word-of-mouth. No need for fancy file managers in the blog script.

I’d need to create a script that generates the feeds.

Pinging can be done by hand with a free service like Ping-o-matic, but it’d be better to figure out how to automate it.

What am I missing?

It sounds like an interesting project. I may attempt it…