05/03/2005: Will these EVER catch on???
Again...just mention a topic in passing (toilets) and articles just *appear* on the subject:
With compost toilets, nothing goes to waste by Laura McCandlish (Columbia News Service)
The compost product fertilizes the earth rather than building up in the sewage system as toxic sludge. In New York City alone, 1.3 billion gallons of such raw sewage are produced every day.
With more buildings across the country angling for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification status from the U.S. Green Building Council, composting toilets are becoming another tool of the green building trade. While more difficult to employ in urban areas, due to the space required for compost storage and health department restrictions, composting toilets can work well in single-family homes and low-rise buildings.
"There is a growing recognition of the shortage of water and the harmful problems with sewage treatment plants," said Don Mills, a sales representative for Clivus Multrum Inc., a manufacturer of composting toilets. "The green building movement provides an opportunity to bring composting technology to places where it hasn't been before, to more mainstream kinds of structures."
Out of Sweden
Composting toilets were first developed in Sweden in the 1930s but weren't introduced in the United States and Canada until the 1970s. Abby Rockefeller, a descendent of John D., was the first American to install a composting system in her home in Cambridge, Mass. By 1973, she had founded Clivus Multrum, which remains the largest distributor of composting toilets for public use in North America.
In Canada, composting toilets have made their way into retail and academic buildings. The Mountain Equipment Co-op stores in Ottawa and Winnipeg were the first two retail buildings in Canada to meet national green building standards in 2000 and 2002, respectively. They both have composting toilets, recycled wood floors and grassy roofs.
The C.K. Choi Building for the Institute of Asian Research at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver has remained a model of sustainable architecture since it first opened in 1996. The three-story, $4.5 million building features five composting toilets, functioning completely off the sewerage and power grids. And the five compost bins only need to be emptied every 10 years. Ninety percent of the waste is urine, pumped out and treated in a constructed wetland, and red wriggler worms digest the solid waste.
Some University of British Columbia faculty and staff originally were skeptical about having a virtual outhouse within a building. But now the composting toilets are accepted and have generated interest around the world. The toilets also give students renewed hope about the state of the environment."
I really don't want to know, but -- How do "clean" one of these -- and do you have to peek inside while you clean it??
Karen on 05.03.05 @ 05:21 AM CST