GreenBuild: I Have Seen the Future and It Flushes

clivus multrum toilet image
Migrated Image

For a long time this TreeHugger has been promoting the ideaof residential composting toilets, saying that " If we are truly going to develop a zero waste society and protect our water resources, we are going to have to start thinking about dealing with all of our wastes and not keep flushing some of them down the pipe."

Commenters scoffed, suggesting "Composting toilets are NEVER going to make it into the main stream market. Debating it is silly." and "No one will want this inside their house. I know this, because I still have a few teeth in my head and a few friends in town."

Well, I suggest that the scoffers look at the picture above because this is the future and it works. Clivus Multrum is delivering a toilet that is as acceptable as a conventional water flush toilet, together with a support and service system that makes it almost as carefree.

The key point is that it is not just a toilet; that is just the front end. The back end is a big composter built into your basement and a service system where the dealer inspects your system on a regular basis and cleans it out when necessary, which could be as rarely as once a year. If it is designed into your house with exterior access, you may not even know they came.

composting toilet in office building photo

Office building with composting toilets

There is a cost to this, but how much of the cost of your house went into the installation of the servicing, the sewers? How much of your taxes are going to maintain the sewage treatment plant? What is happening at the sewage treatment plant, when you externalize your waste? We are going to have to learn to live with these compromises, to manage gray water systems and rainwater collection systems; this just a small step further.

composting toilet at zoo photo

Composting Toilet at Bronx Zoo

I have used almost every kind of composting toilet, and until now there isn't one that I would put into a house. This one could go anywhere.