Cities Renting San Francisco, CA

Will SF trade flush for compost toilets?

woman's feet under stall door

woman's feet under stall doorSan Francisco has already earned accolades as the greenest city in America, and one eco-innovator with political ties wants us to push the envelope when it comes to flushing human waste into our sewer systems.

Green Party member Eric Brooks wants the city to take on a pilot program of public composting toilets, which don’t use water to dispose of excrement. They are used in some European countries, as well as in remote back country locations where there are no sewer systems.

Water savings is one of the primary benefits to using composting toilets. Brooks says this switch could save San Francisco 5 billion gallons of water a year, and make a huge difference if and when the city again faces issues of significant drought.

Additives in the toilet’s self-contained sewage treatment system, like carbon, are used to cut down the smell. There are various types of decomposition methods. The toilets are expensive to buy and install, but have obvious trade-offs and benefits.

The unit itself looks just like a traditional toilet, although some installations render a result that’s closer to the outhouse your pioneering ancestors might have used when they first settled in America (the concept is not a dissimilar one.)

The plan seems worth pursuing if the advances in decomposition technology really have negated the smell impact.  San Francisco, in our opinion, is stinky enough as it is.

What do you think about the compost toilet idea?

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