6 innovative techniques to recycle reverse osmosis (RO) wastewater at home

For years, humans have been overusing resource known to be constant, especially water. Water scarcity is a crisis that may affect South Africans in the future. This is mainly due to the high levels of pollution, urbanisation, deforestation, damming of rives and industries. 

Now the time has come where everyone; households and businesses, must be water savvy. Luckily, technology has made it easier with treatment processes. That allows you to easily reduce, recycle and reuse water as much as you can. Over the years, industries have also found effective ways to follow the three ‘R’s’, and it’s time for households to do the same.

To save water, industries have installed containerised water treatment plants designed for different industries. To name a few, there is municipal water treatments, residential water treatments and commercial water treatments. These treatment plants have played an effective role in ensuring wastewater is purified before it goes back into the environment. 

But saving water isn’t just a crisis for business owners, as water shortages affect everyone. According to Water Wise, households also use a large amount of water, for example: 

  • Low-income homes use 73% of water for toilet use, whereas mid to high-income homes use 37%.
  • Low-income homes use 19% of water for baths and showers, whereas mid to high-income use 32%.
  • 17% of mid to high-income homes use a washing machine. 
  • 8% of low-income homes use water for cooking, dishes, drinking, clothes, whereas mid to high-income homes use 14%.

With water scarcity, these percentages can, along with the business sector, cause water stress. This is why there are other efficient methods you can use at home, like using reverse osmosis (RO) wastewater. Now, you may be wondering what reverse osmosis wastewater is. 

Well, RO is a water purification process that removes contaminants from drinking water. But just like any other process, RO does produce wastewater. And although you can’t consume it, there are other ways the wastewater can be used:

  • Wash your vehicle: according to the International Car Wash Association, washing your car at home uses 360 to 630 litres of water. This is a large amount of water to use for a car. With the water scarcity, the best way to clean your car is by using wastewater. Washing your car with RO wastewater is safe but always bear in mind that the water must have total dissolved solids (TDS) of 1200 – 1500 Parts Per Minute. If your TDS levels are above the ones stated, then you need to dilute the wastewater with clean water. 
  • Watering plants: RO wastewater can also be ideal for plants. But to be on the safe side, it is advisable that before you water all your plants, you should test the water on one terrace plant. This is just to ensure your plants agree with the change, and it can help you see whether your plant blooms or not after being watered. 
  • Washing dishes: another great way to use your RO wastewater is by washing your utensils. The RO water will do its job perfectly. In order for you not to forget, you can keep a bucket of RO wastewater near the kitchen sink. 
  • Moping the floors: this is one of the simplest ways to reuse wastewater. You won’t have to worry about the water being harmful. Moping already uses up a large amount of water so that will be an effective way of reducing water while keeping your home clean. 
  • Laundry: RO wastewater can also be used when washing clothing. However, be careful of using RO wastewater that is high in TDS as it may damage your clothing, especially delicate garments. 
  • Toilets: as mentioned previously, toilet flushing uses the most water. But now you can save water significantly by using RO wastewater instead. This water can be used either for flushing or toilet cleaning, allowing you to save plenty of water.

Final thoughts

Reducing water is necessary, not only for industries but for households as well. If South Africans want to have clean drinking water for future generations, then the change needs to start now. If everyone starts working together, then it is possible to see a significant drop in the quantity of water being used on a day to day basis. Of course, the best way to save water is by using as little as possible, but there are tasks that require water. But even the smallest change can have a huge impact.