|
|
|
|
The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • The Green Space: Environmentally toilets wave of the future

  • It was announced earlier this year that the world's human population has now surpassed seven billion people! Quite an astounding number of folks and quite a load for this ole' planet to carry.
    • email print
      Comment
  • It was announced earlier this year that the world's human population has now surpassed seven billion people! Quite an astounding number of folks and quite a load for this ole' planet to carry.
    Now think what is involved for all of those people to be alive on this earth. Obviously, they need the four means of survival, enough food, clothing, access to fresh water, and enough room for shelter & space to grow. The unmentioned "given" here is that there is also adequate room to, well, poop. With that comes the need to have human waste carried to a place for safe and healthy disposal or conversion.
    Last week I wrote about my visit to the Bronx Zoo while in New York City. When entering the zoo one of the first things you walk past is the restrooms; that in its self is not unusual. However, this restroom is really quite unusual! It is called the "Eco-Restroom!"
    What is so "Eco" about it – plenty! All of the toilets are composting toilets. Now, I have seen, used, and promoted composting toilets before; what is unique about this restroom is that it has more than one composting toilet. Actually, it has at least 12 composting toilets in the ladies restroom alone.
    A composting toilet does not use water – it uses foam, so it actually uses only one percent of the water (to make foam) of a regular toilet. Waste does not get flushed to a sewer or septic system, it gets flushed to a composting tank. Much like a septic tank, fungi, and bacteria, and small invertebrates (which are not found in a septic tank) eat the waste and what is left converts into good, re-useable, fertilized soil. Does it smell? Heavens, "No!"
    Even the sinks in this Eco-Restroom were special. The water from the sinks went down the drain and into a "gray water garden" outside the restroom. Benches and handrails were placed around the garden outside, so visitors could admire the flowers and plants in the gray water garden while they waited for family and friends to finish inside the restroom.
    Not only is the Eco-Restroom environmentally and eco-friendly, it is also educational, entertaining and kid-friendly. Bright, colorful, cartoon people and animals adorn the walls and wayside signs in and around the restroom. Important messages are displayed in engaging ways encouraging folks to explore and learn more.
    Approximately, 2.1 million people visit the Bronx Zoo each year. Imagine if all of those people used the restroom at least once during their visit (which, of course, is a conservative number). That is more people than reside in the entire Kansas City metropolitan area (on both sides of the state line) so, it would require an entire sewer system just for the Bronx Zoo alone. Think if every large attraction or business could install such an "Eco-Restroom" complete with a gray water garden. Not only would it save precious fresh water, space required for sewer treatment plants, but also beautify our communities with more enjoyable gardens. Just Imagine.
    Page 2 of 2 - Lynn Youngblood is a Kansas City-based naturalist.

        calendar