Toilets for You and the Environment

Jen Ortendahl
Do It Green! Minnesota

So, you bought a compost bin, you use fluorescent lights, and you bring your own canvas bag to the grocery store. Now you can add saving water and money to your list of conservation efforts by using a more efficient toilet.

According to the American Water Works Association, 146,000 gallons of water are used by the average US household each year. In homes with inefficient or leaking water fixtures, toilets alone can use 20.1 gallons per person every day, making it the biggest contributor of water use in homes. Homes that do use efficient water fixtures can still use up to 9.6 gallons of water per person every day. The ultimate in efficiency are water efficient toilets. They use significantly less water, and could save you significant amounts of money too!

One efficient toilet option is a composting toilet. Like a compost bin, a composting toilet makes it possible for you to use what you would normally let go to waste to help you with your garden. However, along with food that would be thrown away, you have the ability to compost other kinds of waste. This probably doesn’t sound much different than an outhouse, yet it’s much more advanced. Most of the waste captured in the tank is liquid and is evaporated. The solid waste only has to be emptied once a year and can be used like regular compost in your garden. A composting toilet uses only 0.5 L of water per flush and requires no septic tank. One of the most trusted composting toilet companies is Envirolet. These toilets can either run off of 20 VAC Electric, 12 VDC, or 120 VAC.

The composting toilets are the most water efficient; however, according to Sarah Omernik from Natural Built home, composting toilets “aren’t really a practical option for city dwellers.”

If composting your waste doesn’t sound like a sensible option, Caroma and Kohler have dual flush toilets. These toilets are called dual flush units because they offer dual flush options; one button for a smaller flush, using 0.8 gallons per flush, and another button for a larger flush, using 1.6 gallons per flush. Considering 85-90% of human waste is liquid, this toilet saves a substantial amount of water.

Yet another option is a low flush toilets. These toilets are available almost anywhere. They look like a regular toilet, only they flush with less water. Early design problems with handling more difficult flushes have been fixed and allow for the low flush toilets to save water, instead of wasting it with multiple flushes. Kohler brand features the Class Five flushing technology. This development gives the power of 3.5 gallons per flush in as little as 1.4 gallons estimating that 2,000 gallons of water could be saved in a year by a family of four.

Any one of these water efficient toilets could help with water conservation immensely. Not only will these models waste less water, but they will also waste less of your money.

Act Locally
Natural Built home
4020 Minnehaha Ave.
Minneapolis, MN, 612-605-7999

Pipeline Supply
620 16th Avenue S.
Hopkins, MN, 952-988-5550

Environmental Toilets

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