Environment: Making it better wherever you are
Time to Upgrade the Toilet
It’s a well-known fact that Americans use around one hundred gallons of water per day. Europeans use about half that amount. Sub-Saharan Africans average three gallons per day. Here in California, we are experiencing extreme drought conditions. Naturally, my eye caught the headline last week in The Guardian, “Why the modern bathroom is a wasteful, unhealthy design.”
I’m all for learning about ways to save water. The article gives an interesting history of the modern bathroom which really isn't all that modern seeing how the basic design is well over a century old. It could definitely stand a makeover. Composting toilets may have a place in our near future. The way we shower could be improved right now if we adopted the more sensible habits of the Japanese. Here is an excerpt:
Shower like the Japanese
The other source of waste and inefficiency is the shower. They are designed so badly; the shower heads aim down, when really, like a bidet, they should probably aim up. The water runs constantly, even when you are applying soap or shampoo. You are usually standing in a slippery dangerous tub or in a tiny stall where you cannot move out of the water stream. People who care about water waste, either for cost or environmental reasons, take short showers or have miserable low flow shower heads. It’s just not fun.
In Japan, you sit on a stool and have a bucket, sponge, ladle and hand shower that you only turn on when you need it. You can sit comfortably for as long as you like, in no danger of slipping, use the ladle or the hand shower to rinse. It’s really a lovely experience. It uses 10% of the water compared to a normal shower. If you do follow up with a hot bath, at least the water is shared among the whole family.
When thinking about the bathroom of the future, we should look more closely at the Japanese bathrooms of the past. They kept their water supply and their waste management far apart, and rarely had epidemics of typhoid or cholera. They would never think of putting the toilet in the same room as the tub. Instead of treating bathing as a chore, they turned it into a truly enjoyable ritual.
I’m thinking that it’s doable to stop by my local home improvement center and pick up a plastic shower stool. Saving 90% of water usage while in the shower will help my drought-stricken state.