Wee and wash: what next?

washing machine toilet

In this eco-conscious world o’ ours, it’s great to see some innovation in the bathroom. A real step up from the brick in the cistern.

washing machine toilet

That’s right. It’s a washing machine. On a toilet.

Of course, there are many (more sensible) eco-friendly toilet solutions.

This sexy number from Matsushita, made from organic glass

Matsushita organic toilet

claims to be environmentally friendly as it features the industry’s lowest water usage.

Or the Aqus system, which captures water from the bathroom sink to be re-used as flushing water.

Aqus water recycling system

And in St David’s, Pembrokeshire, UK, a city trying to become the world’s first carbon-neutral city, rainwater is harvested to service the public toilets.

But as regular readers will know (and I sincerely hope that you’re all regular) one of the things I care most about is the provision of adequate toilets, particularly in developing countries. So I was pleased to see this week that Pump Aid co-founder Ian Thorpe (not the swimmer) is a finalist in the St Andrew’s Prize for the Environment for his Elephant Toilet.

Elephant toilet

Costing just £20 each to build, the toilets use discarded objects such as plastic bottles and empty ballpoint pens in their construction. The ‘elephant’ toilet name comes from the two ear shapes where the user puts his or her feet and the trunk which separates liquid waste from solid.

The photo comes from Christine Collier’s Malawi diary.

…at one point, he squatted down on a toilet base not yet fitted in situ, to demonstrate how it works and a huge howl of children’s laughter errupted at the obviously recognisable stance … toilet humour crosses all cultural boundaries.

It sure does, Christine.

BTW, how good a name is Matsushita for a toilet company!?

5 Responses

  1. I like the washing machine/toilet idea. It certainly eliminates the problem of how to get the grey water to the toilet. And the front loader is at a good height for packing and unpacking, but ultimately perhaps not the hygienic place to be doing your washing

  2. Foodiefi, that’s a great question. What in god’s name is organic glass?? Oddly, it’s a fully synthetic material made from macromolecular organic compounds which do not follow any principle of periodic arrangement and are hence amorphous. Make of that what you will.

    As for the images, I can’t claim any knowledge whatsoever of how that happens. Possibly it’s just the image that I nicked wot looks real pretty.

  3. Raye, I reckon you could knock up something similar by running pipes under the floor or something.

    You’re right, the height is perfect, and don’t forget that super handy basket holder (the toilet seat)!

  4. What I make of that is that I can’t resolve the descriptors ‘organic’ and ‘fully synthetic’ to apply to the one compound. Of course, as some hazy days spent at uni remind me, there is a whole area of science called organic chemistry, which has nothing to do with sustainably grown vegetables but instead is all about carbon, but then again I don’t think there’s a lot of carbon in glass either…Having said that, I’d hardly nominate myself as having any credibility in making that statement. You knew me at uni, you know how capable I would have been of absorbing any worthwhile info in a first-year chem lecture, after x hours at the GTB.

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Nat Newman

Nat Newman is an award-winning writer of short stories, content, podcasts, feature articles, drunk text messages and, soon, a novella.


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