Battlepanda: Pee-cycling


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


(Via Dennis)

Don't flush it:
The problem with urine is that it is the main source of some of the chemical nutrients that have to be removed in sewage treatment plants if they are not to wreck ecosystems downstream. Despite making up only 1 per cent of the volume of waste water, urine contributes about 80 per cent of the nitrogen and 45 per cent of all the phosphate. Peeing into the pan immediately dilutes these chemicals with vast quantities of water, making the removal process unnecessarily inefficient.

To be fair, if you use conventional western plumbing there's not an awful lot you can do about your personal pee-print right now. A lucky few, however, live or work in one of the buildings in continental Europe where you can find a future must-have eco-accessory: the urine separation toilet. These devices divert urine away from the main sewage stream, allowing the nutrients to be recycled rather than treated as waste. They could solve all the environmental problems associated with urine and even turn sewage plants into net producers of green, clean energy.
And wouldn't you know, Finland, in addition to being the home of the Helsinki complaint choir, is also the global leaders on urine recycling.

The big question is, will this sort of system ever take off in the United States? Urine recycling toilets function by having a front pipe for urine and a back pipe for, erm, other stuff. This necessitates peeing in a sitting-down position in order to catch the urine. This is mooted as an obstacle for the acceptance of this technology, which can save flushing water by 80%. However, you've gotta think...even if the guys are unwilling to sit, how hard could it possibly be to to put a low-tech urinal that drains into the same holding cistern?

A bigger obstacle is the unwillingness for Americans to think too much about this stuff I think. We have a horror of bodily processes. We just want to get it all as far away, away, away as possible.

By the way, do you know that there is a World Toilet Organization?