Friday, December 12, 2008

An Issue Near and Dear to My uh.... Heart.

Ok, this could get a little graphic, so if you don't like scatological humor, you might as well skip reading this post.

I hate wiping. Absolutely hate it. And I don't know, but I may have a mild case of IBS. It's not something I talk about alot, but here it is, I'm laying it out for you.

I've thought of bidets before, but I don't have one and I had thought that they make a little too much black water for my environmental tastes. However, a little new information has come to light and I punched some numbers and came up with some interesting conclusions.

A single toilet flush at my house costs me about 2.5 cents. I don't know exactly how much toilet paper costs because use is variable. But I did get some numbers from MetaEfficient that will surprise you regarding toilet paper. According to ME, the US uses about 36.5 billion rolls of toilet paper per year. That works out to an amazing 13 gallons of water used per roll just to make the stuff. It also includes one pound of chlorine used per 75 rolls, and half a kilowatt hour of electricity per roll.

The twelve gallons per roll number is amazing, but not surprising considering most people don't know just how much water it takes to make paper. It's a lot. Toilet paper, unless in the process on decomposition in a composting toilet, is a huge problem in every aspect of its existence, especially the part where it touches my butt. Clearly, environmentally speaking a bidet is the best solution, and if that could be coupled with a composting toilet system, it would be even more superior. The problem is that most composting toilet units have problems processing excessive amounts of liquid. I think a Clivus Multrum unit can do it by separating the liquids from the main composting mass, but there can be real problems if that system goes south due to too much liquid.

Another thing to keep in mind is a squat toilet, or at least the swat method which most of the world uses to this day. Done right, these units can look decent. Their main benefit is that they properly evacuate the colon and reduce colon cancer. Since my grandfather died of colon cancer, I think I can be sufficiently concerned about this issue. If you eliminate the flushing aspect, it is quite compatible with composting toilets.

Let me tell you how a Clivus Multrum works, it's a great system (I assume). It uses either an open bottom toilet that drops directly into the compost chamber or a foam flush toilet that looks like a water flush unit. The material drops down into the chamber where it is composted by bacteria and or worms (if you add them) for around several years. You then shovel out the resultant compost when it comes out at the end of the process. A fan ventilates the unit, drawing air through the toilet fixtures so that your bathroom vent is actually in the toilet, which I believe is a better system, because the toilet is actually where you poop, not on the ceiling where most ventilation fans are.

I found a great quotation on a website. "That means that less than one percent of the Earth's water is available as drinking water. Why $%!+ in it?"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

can I just say that I actually liked the "squatty potties"? they were so sanitary and you're right- they really help to prevent colon cancer.