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How no-flush toilets can change the world

The solution, many experts say, is not to invest in western-style flush toilets and centralized sewage systems but rather to develop toilets and decentralized waste-treatment technologies that use far less water.


Photo credit: Eram Scientific Solutions


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  • My father has switched to Japanese bidet in our bathroom. I notice it uses less water to flush but this system I would love to see…

  • I was using no flush toilets before no flush toilets were cool.  Back in rural Missouri, we called them, "outhouses".

  • I have composting toilets at my place in France but these look like technology may have an even better eco system

  • +Paul Young yeah outhouse hahaha~ but you need a lot of toilet paper for that… Bidets or washlets you do not use much paper as before. It washes for you. At first I was hesitate but it's great!

  • That's what the Sears catalog was for, +Kana Yamashita.  That and corn husks and cobs.  :-)

  • Bill Gates would be interested.

  • That's cool, but IO like to wash myself after I do my business . Those with a sink & water would be great for public use also or a Bidet would be better like Kana said ;-)

  • +D.J. David Ryan I'm sure everybody does… esp if you're a woman like myself. But seriously it's hygienic and there's a button there where the bidet washes and cleans itself. You can just clean the outter sides. I think it is very good solution for America and N America if everybody uses a washlet.

  • its very cool

  • Also in Duban: "Africa’s busiest port city started installing UD toilets in 2003. Some 70,000 are now in use in all its outlying areas. One of the largest dry toilet schemes in the world, eThekwini municipality’s effort is seen as offering a potentially replicable and sustainable sanitation model for municipalities elsewhere in Africa." For more: http://goo.gl/pYsXU

  • awesome

  • +Paul Young Hipsterbilly? o_0 bahaha

  • very cool

  • Awesome this and implementing a plant based diet can have a big effect on the environmental health.

  • I have seen waterless toilets installed in various places, but all have been removed within a year.  As long as they are wiped down regularly there is no smell.  Is the problem just the resistance or misuse by janitorial staff?  It does seem that most of these toilets use proprietary sealing oils in their traps and this could be a serious impediment to adoption in developing areas.

  • Yuck

  • This is common sense, we need more of it.
    People in some parts of the world still need to be convinced that toilets are necessary

    Cheryl Colopy researched and wrote her book, Dirty, Sacred Rivers: Confronting South Asia’s Water Crisis, during seven years of travel and residence in South Asia. With the help of a Fulbright fellowship she undertook her exploration of the Ganges River Basin. She is an award-winning reporter, formerly with National Public Radio affiliate KQED in San Francisco.

  • Would it help or will it make it a smelly world?

  • I think this is interesting and I like how these new toilets will not just help prevent water born diseases but will use less water.Water conservation is becoming a major issue.

  • Good idea , Guy ;-)

  • The article discusses places in the developing world where ppl still defecate in the open. So I'd wager it would make less of a smelly world, Kelly O'Dell

  • I think it needs flush. Else your bathroom will smell

  • Yes gud

  • Dumbness does not equate to meekness.

  • If a shovel in the woods and emergency leaves are at hand are ok then this is great

  • excellent news !!

  • +Guy Kawasaki I would humbly appreciate feedback on the following:
    I am in a WEEKEND STARTUP COMPETITION and I need some advice. Our first step is to Validate our problem/idea. Please tell me if this is a problem for you and what you think of my proposed solution. Would you participate?

    Problem: Entrepreneur Meetups in my area SUCK. We listen to a speaker just plan and launch in stealth. 95% of the attendees just plan, dream, and launch in stealth. I feel motivated when I leave, but I don't feel like my skills have increased when I leave and go work on my business.

    Proposed Solution:I will create the Entrepreneur Olympics. There will be Challenges like the following:
    -Teams of people will come in with a business idea and whichever team can get the most traction in a weekend wins.
    -Marketing Challenge:We will have local businesses come in and whichever team can put together the best marketing strategy and get them the most customer or sign ups win.
    -We will have developer challenges where developers create a mock up website over the weekend for a local business and the one that gets the most traffic or is voted the best UX wins. The local business then can choose to buy the website.
    Social Media Challenges Teams will compete to create the most successful Social Media Campaign for local Startups or businesses.

    Would you participate in events like these? Would you pay to compete in these games? Any feedback is welcomed. I am not sensitive. Thanks.

  • Microwave solid Waste

  • why not just stop eating? ^^

  • It would probably be more useful to the world if +Bill Gates invested the $40 million in prize money that he has offered for reinventing perfectly functional existing technology in distributing that technology to those parts of the world where it is most needed. That said; good on +Bill Gates for putting up the money.

  • Great article.

  • In the end, I think decentralized solutions to almost everything may save us. Especially if they can get that whole free energy thing worked out and in our grubby little hands!

  • Its called a hole?

  • I've used no-flush toilets more often than first my mother and sister and then my girlfriend and wife agreed with…

  • is that your house

  • Latrines are still found in the rural areas where I'm from.

  • I bet they're bigger on the inside.

  • very important, a nice paradigm shift…

  • So can crapping on the sidewalk

  • I diffinetly want one! Business plan is in order, for a cultural resort.

  • +Steve Mitchell y wuld u thinkd that????? HOW CULD U SED THAT IF U NEVER BIN INSIDE?????? WAT R U DUM? wow yuse yor brayn plees

  • All for it, as long as it doesn't stink.

  • Why aren't we converting the waste into biofuel.

  • New toilet!!!?

  • -1 for taking a dump in a bucket and not using toilet paper.  Modern society has given me the chance to have a clean ass and flush that shit out of my sight and smell.  I like it that way.

  • Shrew!

  • +Aaron Carey, that's not what they're saying you know. It's still be tested, so it will be more advanced than what you're thinking. Please don't be so quick to dismiss ideas without looking at them thoroughly.

  • +Guy Kawasaki No video?

  • Srdr

  • +Hamoody Moslimani I understand that there are many regions on Earth where this would be a big improvement over existing methods.  I was just making the point that it would never fly in countries used to the old "wasteful" way of doing things.

  • Thank you for clarifying, but the way I think they intend it is not to just produce and throw it in a bucket and also go without toilet paper, it's more that they want to get rid of it by using less water and just relocate where the waste is going if not just try to use it as compost.

  • Glorified outhouses…

  • Nice to meet you c.

  • We use them in rural PNG everyday.

  • Holy crapola !Get me one of them..

  • Talking s#%t again Guy?

  • +Kana Yamashita I don't see what Japanese style bidet and toilets have to do with waterless toilets. The only thing Japanese toilets do is introduce the washing mechanisms (MORE use of water) and the lovely heated toilet seats in winter (MORE energy consumption).

  • +Sahir Siddiqui sorry I do not mean by that. But it did save our water bill… I do not know where my father got it from in Canada, but it is the new Japanese washlet. Just the toilet subject and it came up. Not saying it saves water but saves paper. :)

  • This seems to be in South India !

  • WTF

  • Wow we should all take a test sit;)

  • Most McDonald's in France have flushless urinals. +Guy Kawasaki are you going to convince your new employer to adopt these/similar in their offices?

  • guy this place in town,,,,,,,

  • Tested similar several times. No bad smells – advantage also is no pools of yucky water on the floor like you can often find in "normal " public toilets.

  • I like the idea!

  • Good idea!

  • Good idea!

  • Absolutely! There are composting toilets that are just as easy to use as regular flush toilets. That, combined with on-site grey water reuse and reclamation could go a long way to improving health, reducing fresh water consumption, and mitigating the infrastructure crisis many places are experiencing.

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