NoMix Toilet that Separates Urine from Feces gets Positive Reviews
Seven European countries have served as pilot sites for testing the NoMix toilet, an eco-friendly toilet invented in the 1990s in Sweden, which separates urine from feces. Proponents believe this toilet will lead to a greener way of handling human waste. The toilet had generally positive reviews, according to a report published by the American Chemical Society in December, 2009.
Of approximately 2,700 European users, 80% have given the product positive reviews. The study builds on several years of research by the Swiss Federal Institute of Science and Technology (Eawag), an aquatic research institute.
The current waste methodology is to use sewers to transport waste to wastewater treatment plants, but this model is expensive and may be unsustainable, according to Judit Lienert, a researcher at Eawag and the research paper’s lead writer. The nutrients in urine can be used in fertilizer, and survey respondents approved of that possible application and agreed they would purchase food grown with it. The new technology would save water that is currently used to flush urine to rivers, lakes, and seas, where it can feed algae growth and negatively affect fish and water species.
The principle of the NoMix toilet is simple, but in practical use, there are roadblocks. For example, urine mineral deposits can build up and block pipes, designing and manufacturing the toilet is expensive, and large scale production will involve several factors, including cooperation of sanitary and wastewater experts, businesses, and the general public.
Other waste-removal solutions are being proposed, such as composting toilets. Stay tuned for more news about how future generations of this humble everyday appliance will face makeovers to improve their effects upon the environment.
For those interested in cool eco toilet technologies, you'll want to check out another toilet that separates urine from feces and then generates hydrogen fuel from the urine.