Photo courtesy Sustainable sanitation via Flickr
Being green is all about solving problems and grabbing overlooked opportunities. It turns out that there’s such a double-win in most bathrooms around the world; if we had “NoMix” toilets that separate urine from solid waste, municipal wastewater plants would have a significantly easier task (and produce more methane to generate electricity), and we could much more easily extract precious nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen for use as fertilizer (instead of using fossil fuels). So what’s stopping us from going NoMix?
According to a pretty extensive review based on surveys from 7 European countries with NoMix pilot projects, “NoMix-technology is well accepted; around 80 percent of users liked the idea, 75-85 percent were satisfied with design, hygiene, smell, and seating comfort of NoMix-toilets, 85 percent regarded urine-fertilizers as good idea (50 percent of farmers), and 70 percent would purchase such food.” Though as usual, not everybody is ready to pay more for the greener product: “Only 57 percent (±29 percent) are willing-to-pay more for a NoMix than conventional toilet or purchase NoMix toilets without subsidies.”
Still, those are good numbers, especially considering that NoMix toilets can still improve in their design and that most people are only starting to get used to the idea. The more familiar it becomes (especially in public buildings), the more accepted the technology should be.
For more on NoMix toilets and the benefits of separating urine from the solid waste, see the orginal post on Treehugger and posts by John and Lloyd.