Food for thought: “Why the modern bathroom is a wasteful, unhealthy design”

Sustainability and the Toilet

Caroline in our office came across this article last week, which many of us found to be quite interesting – and I thought I’d share it with you.

Its about the development of the modern bathroom and how its not only unhealthy, but also unsustainable in a couple of ways.

The article gets quite technical with the history and events of how our bathrooms (or water closets) came about, so its best you check it out – its easy to read and follow, and very interesting.

But what it came to was what were we going to do in the future – what will our future bathrooms look like – where we aren’t using as much water (back in the day we used to only use as much as we could carry) and where our waste can be reused. They are suggesting composting toilets as a potential solution to this.

Perhaps. However, if we are going to do something about the incredible waste of water that is the modern bathroom, radical changes may be required. A lot of Britons are proud of going net-zero or off-grid with their electricity and energy supply; it’s time to consider going off-pipe too. According to the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (Post): “Over 10bn litres of sewage are produced every day in England and Wales. It takes approximately 6.34 GW hours of energy to treat this volume of sewage, almost 1% of the average daily electricity consumption of England and Wales.” You’re not net-zero if you are flushing your waste into the sewer.

This is an interesting thought. We often are concerned with living sustainably with our power, and we collect rain water to water our gardens, but what about other aspects of our living? Composting toilets have come a long way and are still developing, and there are other alternatives to the showers we take – in Japan you sit on a stool with a bucket, sponge and ladle and hand shower. A far less amount of water is used in this method.

Not that we should abandon how we use our bathrooms, but it is an interesting thought going forward and making decisions about new houses that are built and renovated.

Food for thought for a Wednesday.


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