Tag Archives: toilets

South Africa: Harvesting Nutrients That Are Flushed Away

Durban — It might seem unusual for a waste utility to be concerned with the goal of ending world hunger, but that’s part of the mission of the Water and Sanitation department in South Africa’s second largest city of Durban. AllAfrica’s Julie Frederikse spoke with Neil MacLeod, who heads this department for the municipality known by its Zulu name, eThekwini.

“Intensive agriculture requires fertilizers, whose main component is phosphorus, yet where does our phosphorus go after it goes into crops and is digested?” said eThekwini Municipality Water and Sanitation director Neil MacLeod. “Into a toilet. And then it goes into a treatment works, then into a river, and it gets washed into the sea.”

With an estimated 30 percent of household water used to flush Durban’s toilets – water which the city has paid to pump and purify – MacLeod sees flushing toilets as unsustainable technology. Like much of Africa, South Africa is water-scarce, with water restrictions expected soon for this city of 3.7 million, whose population is swelling by some 150,000 people per year.

MacLeod sees salvation in an alternative toilet that uses no water at all. Called the Urine Diverting (UD) toilet, it separates urine from faeces so that nutrients can be recovered and returned to the earth. Nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus – aka NPK 5:3:1 – is an excellent fertilizer for growing vegetables.

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Global Toilet Design Guideline Ready for Public Comment

ICC, WTO Draft of Global Toilet Design Guideline Ready for Public Comment

(PRWEB) June 16, 2011

Alarming statistical facts such as 2.6 billion people do not have access to proper sanitation, a child dies of a waterborne illness every 15 seconds, and safe drinking water is not available to 1.1 billion people likely generate compassion. But it does much more than that for global sanitation leaders and professionals in the water- and plumbing-related fields who can drive change and help save lives.

One major initiative intended to facilitate easier, less costly construction of restrooms is the “Global Guideline for Practical Toilet Design.” Developed by the International Code Council (ICC) and the World Toilet Organization (WTO), with assistance from committee members representing sanitation-related organizations around the globe, the document is in the final stages of development, scheduled for late summer release.

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Green toilet for India’s Slum Dwellers

April 22, 2011 – While other industrial designers merely tweak the appearance of the latest electronic gadget to make minor improvements to trivial point-of-sale appeal, Israel’s Noa Lerner, a Berlin-based industrial engineer, is developing a much more crucial necessity: a mobile public toilet for third world urban slum dwellers, with applications anywhere slum dwellers are threatened by untreated wastes.

Lerner was struck by the existence of the problem on a trip to India, finding that even the centers of large cities had no public toilets. It is even worse in slums, where no sewage system exists. 

The design that she created at her company x runner-venture, involves a top that resembles the familiar toilet bowl, placed over a removable container covered with a plastic layer with odor-repellant and anti-bacterial substances. A very small amount of water is used to rinse the top bowl.

These nearly waterless green toilets could be emptied like chamber pots, but with a difference. About once a week, these could be rolled (securely closed of course!) to a neighborhood collection facility.

Each of these toilet barrels is sealed and nano-coated in a way that allows them to be used for a week at a time without emptying or cleaning.

Once it’s time to empty, the barrel is brought by an individual or a multi-barrel servce to the local Biogas Plant. Once there, waste is traded for energy in the form of cooking gas, warm water for showers, or electricity. All of these forms of energy are generated by processing the human waste at the Biogas Plant.

Once the contents collected at a neighborhood facility, where the secretions could be farmed to create methane gas through composting, which can then be used as an energy source or fertilizer.

Working with the Indian non-profit: Sulabh, which is already operating various ways of serving the needs of slum dwellers in India, Lerner will create a pilot project to be launched in India’s capital.

Related website: x-runner venture


When are communal or public toilets an appropriate option?

When are communal or public toilets an appropriate option?We would all prefer to have our own household toilet rather than just access to a communal or public toilet but in some low-income urban communities, provision of individual household toilets is problematic. A recently published Topic Brief from WSUP (Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor) argues that, despite numerous challenges, communal or public toilets can be the most appropriate medium-term solution in some specific situations: notably in high-density slums with a high proportion of tenants and/or frequent flooding and water-logging. In such situations, what can be done to ensure that communal or public toilets provide a high-quality service of genuine benefit to all members of the community including women and the very poor? This Topic Brief offers an overview of these questions for sanitation professionals and planners.

Financing communal toilets
The financial sustainability and ongoing maintenance of communal and public toilets is a particular concern. The WSUP Practice Note “Financing communal toilets: the Tchemulane Project in Maputo” takes a look at issues around the financing of communal toilets in Maputo (Mozambique), including citywide scale-up costs.

These publications form part of a newly initiated series of Practice Notes and Topic Briefs, through which WSUP aims to share experience and stimulate debate about water and sanitation service provision for the urban poor.

To keep up to date with this growing publication series, go to http://www.wsup.com/sharing/index.htm or join our mailing list at http://www.wsup.com/news/index.htm.

Lennon’s toilet sells for £9,500 in Beatles auction

An unnamed overseas collector has paid £9,500 (US$ 14,750) for John Lennon’s toilet at an auction in Liverpool on 28 August 2010. This was much more than the £750 to £1,000 it was expected to fetch.

The toilet was originally part of a bathroom in John’s Tittenhurst Park homes which Lennon purchased in 1969. Lennon gave the ornately decorated toilet to a builder to take home during a refurbishment with the message “put some flowers in it.”

Read more in an earlier blog post.

Source: BBC, 28 Aug 2010

Lennon’s toilet up for auction in sale of Beatles memorabilia

John Lennon's toilet. Asking price £750-£1000. Photo: Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts/PA

Lot no. 250 at the annual Liverpool Beatles Auction is John Lennon’s toilet. J.D. Salinger’s toilet is up for sale on e-Bay. Could this be the start of new trend in celebrity toilet memorabilia?

The toilet was originally part of a bathroom in John’s Tittenhurst Park homes which he purchased in 1969.  The loo was removed during refurbishment by a builder named John Hancock. Lennon suggested he take the ornately decorated toilet home and “put some flowers in it.”  It is being sold by the builder’s son-in-law after being carefully stored in a garden shed for the last forty years.

The toilet had been stored in a shed at Hancock’s home for 40 years until he died recently. It is estimated to fetch £750 to £1,000 (US$ 1,150 – US$ 1,500).

The auction organiser, Stephen Bailey, said: “The toilet might be worth something, and it might not, but it is certainly one of the more unusual items we’ve sold.”

Organised by Liverpool’s Beatles Shop in Liverpool, the Annual Beatles Auction takes place at The Paul McCartney Auditorium at the Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts on the morning of Saturday 28th August, 2010.

Source: Press Association, Guardian, 23 Aug 2010 ; Liverpool Beatles Auction blog, 17 Aug 2010

J.D. Salinger’s toilet for sale on e-Bay: price US$ 1 million

The toilet J.D. Salinger used from mid-1960s to mid-1980s. "Uncleaned and in it's original condition"

Memorabilia from J.D Salinger are so rare that Rick Kohl of webuytreasure.com is asking US$ 1 million for the reclusive author’s toilet.

It’s almost as if “The Catcher in the Rye” author […] saw this moment coming in 1953 when he retreated in growing distress about his own fame to small-town New Hampshire and became a notorious recluse.

Salinger’s toilet, the ultimate symbol of privacy for a man notorious for defending his, is being auctioned on eBay.

[Kohl] a well-known memorabilia and collectibles dealer based in Kernersville who has stalked Salinger items for years is asking the standard eBay hey-look-at-this-bizarre-thing-I’ve-got price of $1 million but said he’s open to reasonable offers.

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