Want to Save the Planet? Stop Flushing!

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A Classic Australian Dunny, Picture Credit: MurfoMurf

Are we all really doing our part to save the planet? Not according to Mr. Jack Sims, founder of the World Toilet Organisation at a recent World Toilet Summit in Australia as he said “the concept of flushing is not sustainable.”

Mr Sims also said “a culture where people flushed their loos but disregarded the thousands of liters of wasted drinking water each year was one of sanitation’s greatest challenges. This ‘flush and forget’ attitude creates a new problem which we have to revisit.”

Last Friday was World Toilet Day. I have never heard of this day. I wondered if everyone took the day off from or for their toilets?

Experts call for the end of flushing on World Toilet Day.

As the world celebrates World Toilet Day, sanitation experts have called for the end of the flushing dunny to save water and provide fertilizer for crops.

Leading health advocates have called for the use of “dry” toilets which separate urine from feces and remove the need to flush. There have already been calls by Australian experts to reduce the amount of water wasted through toilet flushing with a proposed new toilet tax. Householders would be charged for the amount of water they flushed down the drain under a radical new blueprint to cut consumption. The scheme would replace the current regime which sees sewerage charges based solely on a home’s value and not its waste water output. Source: News.com.au

Toilet facts:

  • The average person spends three years of their life on the “john”.
  • The average person flushes a toilet about 2500 times a year, while using about eight sheets of toilet paper per day.
  • An estimated 2.6 billion people worldwide do not have access to proper toilet facilities, particularly in rural areas of China and India.
  • Lack of suitable toilets and sanitation kills approximately 1.8 million people a year, many of them children.
  • According to Jack Sims, a further 500 million toilets are needed to bridge the gap in sanitation.
  • The first flushing toilet was invented in 1596 by Sir John Harrington, a British noble and godson to Queen Elizabeth I. He only invented one, as he was ridiculed by his peers, but he still used it for himself.
  • Most toilets flush in the key of E flat.
  • On average, a person will use 22 litres of drinkable water every day flushing a toilet.

If you are really not into a back to nature toilet system or want to move beyond conventional flushing, the “Integrated Personal Cleansing System” is just for you. Just What A Crappy Economy Needs: a $5000.00 flusher.

Your comments would be appreciated on using less water by flushing less.

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38 Responses to Want to Save the Planet? Stop Flushing!

  1. A. Sceptic November 24, 2008 at 9:34 pm #

    I live in a high-rise condo. Suggestions?

  2. jobob November 25, 2008 at 12:39 am #

    if its yellow – let it mellow, if its brown – flush it down.

  3. checkouthumanure November 25, 2008 at 3:18 am #

    The real problem isn’t really the water as much as it is the waste of the value as fertilizer. Water limitations are merely another name for failed energy policy. Given low cost energy from sources like utility scale solar thermal you can create water anywhere anytime simply by extracting it from the atmosphere. So, the “water shortage” is really just an energy shortage.

    But the concept of a flush toilet is problematic not just because of the water issue. It’s also about a lack of stewardship for the powerful fertilizer that exists in excrement. An excellent introduction to the topic is available by searching for the term “humanure”.

  4. derek shirtington November 25, 2008 at 4:25 am #

    Damn it, environmentalists. First you make littering uncool, now I might have to stop flushing? get jobs, you unhygenic simpletons!

  5. DeanofHealth November 25, 2008 at 6:21 am #

    i dont get it. What is the alternative to a flush toilet?? If you do not flush it away and it sits in a hole then you have major sewage problems right beneath your home….

  6. ChemicallyGreen.com
    chemicallygreen.com November 25, 2008 at 10:02 am #

    @ A.Sceptic: Thank you for your comment. I recommend large ziplock bags with the special seal lock.

  7. ChemicallyGreen.com
    chemicallygreen.com November 25, 2008 at 10:04 am #

    @ Jobob: Thank you for your comment.
    You got the idea.

  8. ChemicallyGreen.com
    chemicallygreen.com November 25, 2008 at 10:13 am #

    @ checkoutthemanure: Thank you for your comments.
    Humanure” is a neologism designating human excrement (feces and urine) that is recycled via composting for agricultural or other purposes. The term was popularized by The Humanure Handbook, a 1994 book by Joseph Jenkins that advocates the use of this organic soil amendment. Humanure is not traditional sewage that has been processed by waste-treatment facilities, which may include waste from industrial and other sources; rather, it is the combination of feces and urine with paper and additional carbon material (such as sawdust).

  9. Don't touch the rim November 25, 2008 at 11:23 am #

    I urinate into plastic milk jugs. When they are full I take them outside and dump them on the lawn. I doubt that the contents soak through more than 6 inches of dirt. No water wasted.

  10. John November 25, 2008 at 11:25 am #

    Here in eastern Canada water falls from the sky roughly half the year. Rivers and lakes pour into the ocean day after day. We have snowfall from December to May, and we flush with abandon.

  11. Carole B. Clark November 25, 2008 at 10:58 pm #

    Has anyone heard of Dr. John Todd, Bioneer. University of Vermont, Living Machines, Constructed Wetlands, Man-made bogs, purify the water with plants and snails. Keyword Oceanarks. I have been reading about this for 20 years. The technology is there. Onsite wastewater treatment. It works. Outer Space technology.

  12. ChemicallyGreen.com
    chemicallygreen.com November 26, 2008 at 1:49 pm #

    @ Don’t touch the rim: Thanks for your comments. Do you rinse or recycle your gallon jugs before reusing?

  13. ChemicallyGreen.com
    chemicallygreen.com November 26, 2008 at 1:56 pm #

    @ DeanofHealth: Thanks for your comments. Surely, you do not want to use the crapper under your house.

  14. ChemicallyGreen.com
    chemicallygreen.com November 26, 2008 at 2:00 pm #

    @ dirk shirtington: Thanks for your comments. Just letting you know what is happening to the flushing circle in Australia. Why do you think I am a simpleton?

  15. ChemicallyGreen.com
    chemicallygreen.com November 26, 2008 at 2:04 pm #

    @ John: Thanks for your comments. Sounds like you live in a great place.

  16. ChemicallyGreen.com
    chemicallygreen.com November 26, 2008 at 2:10 pm #

    @ Carole B. Clarke: Thanks for the informative comments. CG will check this out.

  17. Carole B. Clark November 26, 2008 at 2:32 pm #

    Dr. John Todd was associated with LIVING MACHINES.
    They had an office in Burlington, Vt. when I lived there. Vermont has backward zoning regs. He has purified waste of cheese factories, hops from a brewery, some place in Scotland, resorts, and the Vermont roadside rest area on an Interstate Highway. I saw their greenhouse used for his study with the city wastewater that ran out of funding. It was like a jungle. He had tanks, screens midway, roots dangling into the wastewaters which flowed from tank to tank. Finally it was tested more pure than believable. Yet, it is undiscovered old technology. He has written two books.. both of mine were stolen. Can’t remember titles.

  18. ChemicallyGreen.com
    chemicallygreen.com November 26, 2008 at 3:06 pm #

    @ Carole B. Clarke: Hello Carole and thanks for your additional comments. I Goggled Dr. John Todd and there was a wealth of information about Dr. Todd. His technology for cleaning wastewater from sewage is just fantastic. If only a few other town and cities got the message. Might do a post about Dr. Todd on CG.
    Thanks again for your information.

  19. Zelda November 27, 2008 at 12:05 pm #

    Compost it. There are books that tell you how. When it’s done right, the heat will kill all pathogens.

  20. cooler choice November 30, 2008 at 3:22 pm #

    interesting post toilet

  21. Jack Nimble December 4, 2008 at 11:14 pm #

    You are a coward, Steve. It is that simple.

  22. ChemicallyGreen.com
    chemicallygreen.com December 5, 2008 at 10:21 am #

    @ A Sceptic: The comment I made earlier was meant to be funny. This post on flushing was meant to be a funny and enjoyable read. I did not make the comment to be a jerk. Unfortunately, several people made comments that were full of cuss works and I deleted these comments. Trust you enjoyed the post and will continue to be a reader of Chemically Green.

  23. ChemicallyGreen.com
    chemicallygreen.com December 5, 2008 at 10:23 am #

    @ Jack Nimble: Thank your for your comments Jack. Why do you say I am a coward?

  24. Carole B. Clark December 5, 2008 at 11:55 am #

    I’ve been responding because this is a serious issue. I am in favor of the constructed wetland, man made bog, etc. method as well as composting toilets (not great for cities) but what is chemicallygreen recommending? Are you selling chemical toilets that are biodegradable? I found the title of Dr. John Todd’s book. Your post was informative and not funny.

  25. ChemicallyGreen.com
    chemicallygreen.com December 11, 2008 at 7:07 pm #

    For all the people who commented about water toilets. no flushing and you want to help save the planet, check out the link about the dual flusher that only uses 1.6 gallons of water when you push the handle. A full flush is available for heavier loads.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/ljurban/2608508112/

  26. Jamy December 24, 2008 at 12:17 pm #

    You just need to make a system where the rain water gets stored somewhere and is used to flush your toilet. There already are some houses that use this system. Implement it in every house, problem solved!

  27. Carole Clark December 30, 2008 at 11:02 am #

    Arcata California has or used to have an event called “Flush with Pride”. They are all about habitat , wetlands, and wastewater treatment utilizing the constructed wetland/man=made bog idea. I don’t know why people can’t just pre-treat onsite. Also I know of a company that had a tank and mechanics called the Scat or something like that. Catching rainwater is great and doing gardens is great but the system called “Living Machine” is really what needs to be talked about and implemented.

  28. Carole Clark December 30, 2008 at 8:11 pm #

    Okay, here is Dry Toilet from Finland. Different concept. http://www.drytoilet.org/
    and the brochure http://www.huussi.net/tietoa/suomalaiset_kuivakaymalat.pdf
    found on Groups.Yahoo.com/Waterforum
    Happy Clean Water 2009
    More than one way to skin a cat, right.

  29. ChemicallyGreen.com
    chemicallygreen.com April 21, 2009 at 4:42 pm #

    @Save the Crapper, Flushing is Going to Cost Money-Green News.
    Thanks for the ping back and I left you a comment on your website. Thanks again.

  30. Mike June 21, 2010 at 9:54 am #

    Don’t touch the rim 25. Nov, 2008 at 11:23 am #
    I urinate into plastic milk jugs. When they are full I take them outside and dump them on the lawn. I doubt that the contents soak through more than 6 inches of dirt. No water wasted.

    Just a shot in the dark, but are you single?

  31. ChemicallyGreen.com
    chemicallygreen.com June 25, 2010 at 3:26 pm #

    @Mike: Thank u for your comments. U could have a few problems when urinating into plastic jugs. U need to use a wide mouth jug and if u continue to dump urine on your lawn, will eventually decompose to ammonia and the high pH could kill your lawn. Best of luck with your recycling program.

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