Toilets Find Their Way Into Recycling

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The small town of Nipomo, CA in the southern end of San Luis Obispo County on California’s central coast has just announced that before any business or residential property may be sold in the city, it must be retrofitted with water saving plumbing fixtures.

This is a trend being seen throughout the country. Even water rich areas of the country are requiring that low and no water toilets, urinals, and faucets be installed before a property is sold. Others are offering tax rebates to encourage their installation.

Saving water is the goal of these programs. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, an older, conventional toilet can waste up to 4,000 gallons of water per year. And a urinal may use more than 40,000 gallons of water annually.

But what should can be done with the old toilets and urinals that are being replaced?

Fortunately, toilet and urinal recycling programs have sprung up around the country, and the old fixtures are being used in a myriad of applications.

“What typically happens is the toilet or urinal’s porcelain is crushed,” says Klaus Reichardt, founder and managing partner of Waterless Co., LLC, manufacturers of no water urinal systems. “The pebbles can be added to asphalt for paving roads or used in drainage projects.”

This, according to Reichardt, not only eliminates the need to discard toilets into landfills, but reduces the need to mine for gravel, a cost savings that benefits the taxpayer and the environment. 

Other uses of crushed porcelain from recycled urinals and toilets include:

  • Building foundations: Facilities have earned LEED certification points by using recycled toilets and urinals in this way.
  • Nature trails: You will be walking on old toilets and urinals when exploring San Antonio’s Calaveras Park Nature Trail. More than a thousand recycled toilets and urinals were used to pave the park’s trails.
  • Mulch: Botanical gardens have found that crushed toilets and urinals are a welcome addition to mulch.

Waterless Co. encourages building owners and facility managers to recycle their old toilets and urinals and to contact their local recycling center for more information.

 

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