Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Flush toilets are a thing of the past when you look at the future

The governor of California has recently declared a state-wide emergency as a result of a drought which has resulted in the driest winter in the state's recorded history.  Governor Brown is asking folks to reduce consumption by 20%, and it occurs to me that we really ought to consider minimizing or even banning the use of the flush toilet.

It's so out-moded anyway!

When you think about it, flush toilets are the ultimate in over-consumption, as normal toilets use nearly 5 gallons for every flush.

Most of us here in the U.S. grew up in homes with flush toilets, everyone has flush toilets; they seem like the norm.  And they certainly are the norm if you live in one of the few remaining and so-called "first-world" countries such as the United States or in the European Union.

But when you look at the rest of the world, where more than 1 billion people live without access to proper sanitation, a flush toilet is most definitely a privilege few enjoy.

In various countries in Africa, in Haiti, in Peru, in many places throughout the world, dry toilets, i.e., toilets which require no water to flush them, are being used more and more.  These dry toilets, which use a process known as ecological sanitation, ("eco-san"), have thus come to be thought of as toilets for poor people.  Toilets for the impoverished.

But I would like to suggest otherwise.

I would like to suggest that the state of California would do well to examine the work of SOIL in Haiti (, where for the past decade this well-loved Haitian-staffed organization has been collecting human waste and following it all the way through the transformational cycle to fertilize gardens and stimulate agricultural yield, economic growth, all while eliminating the cause of wide-spread water-borne disease.

Why can something like this not be done here?  There is no reason.   Currently our sanitation system is very-well designed to allow for the waste to leave our bodies and depart our homes within a matter of seconds, traveling through tunnels and pipelines few care to consider when driving over streets, highways, and parking lots.....

What if we are wasting our water and our waste, every time we flush?  What if that substance is actually a resource we would do well to harvest?  (With proper scientific systems obviously....)

I would like to propose that one of the best ways to reduce water usage throughout the state of California would be to install eco-san toilets throughout all public spaces, thereby saving water; creating jobs; creating chemical-free organic fertilizer; and minimizing the impact of the drought for all Californians.

If folks begin to see and use these toilets in shopping malls, outdoor concerts, in our state parks, they will begin to realize that it is actually a far more pleasurable experience to use a toilet of this nature, particularly if you compare it to a typical out-house.  There are no flies.  There is no smell.  And it creates a no-waste cycle which energizes the economy, creates jobs, reduces dependence on chemical fertilizers, and could potentially save the state of California millions of gallons of water every single hour.

Until such time as eco-san is the norm world-wide, I've taken to flushing only solid wastes at my home.  Liquid wastes don't require a flush!  I just put the paper in a garbage bin, and keep the lid closed....