Ocean Beach man lives off the grid and reduces his water use by 95 percent

Rob Greenfield uses only 2 gallons of water a day

OCEAN BEACH, Calif. - Rob Greenfield lives way off the grid.

He has a home, a kitchen, a garden, and transportation.

However, he has no bills, no expenses, and produces very little waste.

“I am testing the boundaries of the human experience,” said Greenfield, who is a bicycling conservationist environmentalist. An extreme one.

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10News first met Greenfield when he took reporter Joe Little dumpster diving for food. He wanted to show how much food Americans waste on a daily basis.

Now amid California’s drought, Greenfield has reduced his water use by more than 95 percent.

Greenfield lives in a very small “home” that he has placed in someone’s back lot in Ocean Beach. He charges a small light and his computer with portable solar panels and he harvests water off the neighbor’s roof. He collected more than 200 gallons during San Diego’s last rainstorm.

“That 200 gallons from the last rainstorm will last me about three months,” he said. The average San Diegan uses 200 gallons in two days.

Greenfield has reduced his use to two gallons a day.

He’ll wash his hands over a plate, use the same water to wash the plate, and then collect that water to put in his garden.

“I am living off the grid.”

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He also can’t shower or flush a toilet without any plumbing.

Greenfield hasn’t showered in two years. He bathes in the Pacific Ocean and goes to the bathroom in a bucket. After using the restroom, he’ll place leaves on top of his waste. He dumps the bucket in a compost pile once it is full enough.

“You have to let it sit for an entire year before you use it,” he warned. Bacteria will decompose the waste while the leaves and food waste help mask the odor.

“It doesn’t smell like anything,” I said.

Unfortunately, nothing Greenfield is doing is legal in the City of San Diego. 

“No matter who you are, people think you’re nuts,” he said.

Greenfield said his goal is to lead by example and prove to people it can be done.

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Rob Greenfield lives way off the grid.He has a home, a kitchen, a garden, and transportation. However, he has no...

Posted by 10News – ABC San Diego KGTV on Tuesday, June 30, 2015


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