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Reinventing the Toilet

Worldwide, 2.4 billion people don't have access to toilets, and a billion don't even have latrines or outhouses. Plumbing and sewer systems are expensive to build, and many places either have too little water to run them, or too much water, which makes it hard to keep sewage out of the freshwater supply. The answer may be a new technology that uses no water, and even recycles human waste. Virginia Gardiner designed the toilet called the Loowatt.

In Loowatt’s waterless flush design, the waste is sealed into a biodegradable bag underneath the toilet with not a drop of water being spilled. Once full, the bag is replaced by a service team, and the waste is brought (yes, hand-delivered) to Loowatt’s pilot waste-processing facility, where it’s converted to fertiliser and biogas.

This very manual setup sounds very archaic compared to the slick and convenient arrangements of the Western world. But sanitation experts think that in the era of climate change, when droughts and floods are becoming increasingly common, the West may have something to learn from the little waterless loos piloted in penniless Madagascan neighbourhoods. With the world’s population ever-increasing, places that historically relied on water for sanitation may have to reconsider how they flush.

Read how the Loowatt was conceived, and how it could change people's lives. -via Digg

(Image credit: Tomasz Kuran aka Meteor2017)

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While professionally made, urine diverting, composting toilets are expensive, you need little more than a bucket, funnel, liquid and vent pipes, and a lid to make your own. The cost of microbes to jump start the composing process is trivial as well.

Personally, I'm convinced modern plumbing is still the way to go. Toilets using just 0.8 gallons per flush are available and not much more expensive than an entry level unit. Even if you think that's too much, or that they won't combine to improve, there's no reason that toilet can't use grey water, taken from your sink or shower drain.
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