Can We Make Sawdust Toilet A New Green Trend?

Can We Make Sawdust Toilet A New Green Trend?

This topic we are going to talk about might not be good to talk about when you are eating, but somehow we need to talk about this. Fact: everybody poops, but not everyone on this earth get the access to hygienic sanitary. In this case, we are talking about those who live in areas where water is scarce.

Have you ever imagined how they are flushing their toilets? This is the problem here; we need to use water to flush toilets. As a consequence, some people prefer to not poo in toilets because they cannot flush it.

The question is, do we need to always use water to flush our toilets? The answer is not, because we have many other things that we can use to replace water to flush toilets. Here, in this article, we are going to inform you about the green alternative to water.

It might even be greener than water toilets, though, because this type of toilet can help you make compost from your own excreta (poo).

Composting Toilet

Sawdust toilet by Eli Duke
Sawdust toilet by Eli Duke

What we are going to talk about is the composting toilet, a type of toilet that treats your poo in a process that eventually will turn it into compost. Unlike conventional toilets, it will turn your excreta into something useful.

The thing is, unlike conventional toilets that use water to flush your excreta, usually in composting toilets you will use dry materials. There are many choices that is used in composting toilets such as sawdust, coconut coir, and even peat moss.

But why are those dry materials used instead of water? Sawdust, coconut coir, and peat moss are carbon additives that can create air pockets in excreta. This way, it will eventually promote aerobic decomposition done by bacteria.

Using carbon additives mentioned above will also improve the ratio of carbon to nitrogen and reduce the bad odor. Thus, when using this type of toilet, you don’t really need to worry about other people complaining the bad odor.

In addition, since your excreta is being turned into compost, you don’t really need to install septic tanks or connect it to sewer system. After the excreta is turned into compost, you can just use it to fertilize your garden.

Sanitation Crisis

Munich_airport_-_toilet (Wikimedia Commons)

So, turning your excreta into compost that can be used fertilize your land is a thing. But making it into a trend to save people’s lives is another thing. For your information, there are about 2.5 billion people on earth that don’t have easy access to sanitation.

Imagine there are one third of this world’s total population of human that don’t have the access to one of the most basic things in life. And among those one third, half of them used to defecate in open fields, maybe simply by digging ground.

The problem is, those countries where open defecation is widely practiced are the countries with the most under-five child deaths. There must be a connection here, since human feces also contain pathogens that can endanger children lives.

Counting the number, a kid dies every 20 seconds all around the world caused by that problem. Another data stated that 80% of disease occur in developing countries are caused by poor sanitation and water contamination.

To make it sounds worse, the population is predicted to grow twice as much in 2030. How can we make sure that those people will get proper sanitation to avoid unnecessary health problems? The only way is to bring up the innovation of composting toilets.

More Than Waterless

Sawdust for Composting Toilets by Sustainable Sanitation
Sawdust for Composting Toilets by Sustainable Sanitation

Composting toilet is not just a toilet that use carbon additives to replace water to save water. It is much more than that, especially in areas where many people are living in slumps, like in the capital city of Peru, Lima, as mentioned by X-Runner’s cofounder and CEO Isabel Medem.

“This isn’t just about health, it’s about dignity. Lima has 3 million people living in slums, and the government has essentially forsaken them. They go in holes in the ground or use public latrines, and there is waste in the streets,” said Medem.

X-Runner is a company that works on developing sawdust toilets. Not only because it can save people’s lives, but also because it is easy to install and doesn’t require a sewage system. That’s pretty much what people living in slumps need.

Even though the features as mentioned above are pretty good, but people are less likely to buy it in Lima. That’s a good news, by the way, because instead of buying, X-Runner toilets, people are leasing them to reduce upfront costs.

Medem said that this method is also good to ensure that the toilets used are maintained properly by the people. “Our goal is to provide a lasting sanitation solution and be as self-sufficient as possible. We want to get to a scale where the business runs itself,” Medem explained.

Ordinary Houses

Sawdust_composting_toilet (Wikimedia Commons)

Most people consume about 10 gallons of water to flush down their excreta every day. Combined all around the world, every day, millions of gallons of water are used to just flush down toilets. This is a terror in disguise to our fresh water reservoir.

Another method used to clean up toilet is using chemicals to ‘neutralize’ the smell and pathogens. But that’s most likely not a long term solution to our environmental problem that comes from our toilets. Chemicals will only bring up more troubles for us.

Thus, composting toilets are the right long-term answer to us, not only because it is chemical free, it also consumes almost less to no water. Well, you also don’t need to be living in slumps to get sawdust toilets installed in your homes.

Why should we wait for bad things to happen before doing some changes that results in good things? You can actually do it as fast as you can. What you need are just a bucket, sawdust, and the sawdust toilet installment.

The only problem is finding what to do with the compost you produce from your daily meals, and we think that should not be a huge problem. Plant trees in your yard and you can make your yard greener on your own. Can we make it a trend?


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