Excited about a waterless urine diverting toilet
Saturday, 16 June 2012
I was daydreaming recently about how cool it would be to have a compost toilet that collected urine.
Wondering why I’d want to collect urine?
Urine is high in nitrogen and a super good fertiliser. Apparently a family of four can produce the equivalent of a 50kg bag of NPK fertilizer from urine alone every year.
But instead of collecting it we flush it down the loo, along with nutrient rich humanure, and then manufacture resource-hungry synthetic fertiliser. To make it even worse we flush those resources down the loo with up to 12 litres of clean drinking water.
What a ridiculous waste!
I love Nick Ritar’s take on the ridiculousness of the situation in a TEDx talk he gave on 'Two things you can do Every Day to save the world'. He told the audience that 99.5% of them were ‘shitting in your drinking water’. Nicks talk explores the benefit of using the waste as fertiliser for food production and is well worth watching.
Urine Diverting toilets
Anyway, back to the daydreaming about urine diverting toilets. I discovered they actually exist! You can get basic camping-style diverting toilets through to luxury porcelain urine-diverting toilets that wouldn’t look out of place in a normal home.
Compost toilets are one topic that causes Daddy Eco and I to argue. He finds compost toilets obscene, whereas I find the water wastage of standard flushing toilets obscene. We’ve found a good compromise. We’ll have one of these toilets with an integrated hand basin in the home that we’ll eventually build and we’ll have a urine diverting waterless toilet in the shed we’ll be living in for the next year or so. The urine is collected in a tank which doubles as a liquid fertiliser spreader, so you don’t have to handle or even see the urine. I'm pretty excited about one day wandering through our orchard with my Ejektortank in hand.
But for now, until we're at the property full time, I’m more than happy with our drop dunny. It's just a box with a toilet seat over a hole in the ground but I'm actually really fond of it. I can't complain about the view.
Have you collected urine to use on your garden? Or begged your husband to wee on your citrus? Or do you think urine is something we should just flush down the loo and forget about?