Environmental Protection

European Users Accept No-Mix Toilets

People in seven European countries have positive attitudes toward a new eco-friendly toilet that could substantially reduce pollution problems and conserve water and nutrients, according to scientists in Switzerland.

Their article, which calls on authorities to give wider support for the innovative toilet technology, is in Environmental Science & Technology, a semi-monthly American Chemical Society journal.

Judit Lienert and Tove Larsen said that the so-called No-Mix toilet collects urine separately instead of mixing it together with feces as in conventional toilets. Urine contains 80 percent of the nitrogen and 50 percent of the phosphorus arriving at wastewater treatment plants. Separating it in advance could have a number of advantages, including reducing the amount of nitrogen and phosphorous nutrients that trigger algae blooms and in pharmaceutical residues, which can enter waterways and pose a threat to fish. Separating urine also allows its use as an agricultural fertilizer, the scientists noted.

The scientists reviewed surveys on acceptance and use of No-Mix toilets among seven European countries with responses from 2,700 people. Those countries were Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Sweden, and Denmark. The researchers found that the technology is well-accepted, with about 80 percent of users expressing support of the idea, with many willing to use it at work or at home. Between 75 to 85 percent of the users found that the design, hygiene, smell and seating comfort of the No-Mix toilets equals that of conventional toilets. About 85 percent of users were open to the idea of using stored urine as fertilizer. “No-Mix technology deserves more support by authorities and mainstream research,” the article stated.

Image by Yvonne Lehnhard.

 

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