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A Device That Recycles Shower Water To Wash Clothes

Showers and washing machines waste a lot of water. One solution: recycling water from showers into washing machines. It’s not as dirty as it sounds.

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It’s the greenest clean: a shower that reuses water to wash your clothes. But before you turn off the tap on the idea, it’s not as dirty as you might think, and could save you more than money.

Each year, millions of dollars and billions of gallons of water go down the drain. Showers and washing machines account for just under half of our household water use. Washing clothes are the main culprit. A four-person household consumes about 12,000 gallons per year (30 to 40 gallons per load x 300 loads), according to the Alliance for Water Efficiency (although newer models cut that figure in half). Even a four-minute shower draws about 20 gallons of water.

Dmass points us to a design concept called Washit that merges two cleaning activities into one. Created by Ahmet Burak Aktas, Adem Onalan, Salih Berk Ilhan and Burak Soylemez, four industrial design students, the Washit makes sure that shower water never goes to waste. Although still a work in progress, Washit, an opaque white shower pod with a sleek bubble on one side (the only indication a clothes washer lurks beneath), snagged an iF concept award in 2012.

A simple filtration system pulls water out of the shower cabinet and filters it through a grey water system that uses carbon, organic, and chemical filters before starting to rinse your clothes. It’s relatively cheap and effective to filter out bacteria, hair, oils, and soaps in grey water, reports New Mexico State University, and the Washit concept makes it easy by adding sleek canister filters to the device. At the end of the shower, an integrated washer/dryer delivers freshly washed clothes (as well as a clean owner) using just a fraction of the water compared to conventional processes.

The concept has not yet been engineered into reality and the the name needs some work (some decidedly dirty connotations hide in the name "Washit"), but the design is promising. Perhaps rinsing off will have a new meaning in the future.

[Image: Sergey Peterman/Shutter Stock]