Readers with more delicate sensibilities may wish to skip this item… but this topic is fresh in my mind, so to speak, due to our recent Septic System Catastrophe (see item 2, Too Much Information).

TreeHugger grabbed my attention yesterday with two bathroom-related write-ups — one on “pee-cycling” (could we call it green pee?) and one on Milwaukee’s plan to “close the loop on poop,” using the magic of solar power to create Milorganite fertilizer from municipal sewage.

Coincidentally, I once wrote a government fact sheet on this kind of municipal sewerage sludge composting — proving once again that I’ll joyfully study up on just about anything if someone’s prepared to pay me to write about it! Gross as it may sound, sludge-to-fertilizer is actually a darned fine idea and the technology has been around long enough for the engineers and biologists to have worked out detailed guidelines for doing it safely.

Moving on… the green pee story looks at handling those human waste products on a smaller, more domestic scale. And if you have a sneaking suspicion that it shouldn’t take eleven litres of water or more to carry away the waste when you just have a wee tinkle, the NoMix toilet may be of special interest for your next bathroom makeover.

NoMix is a common brand name, in Europe, for a toilet designed with two separate waste pipes. The concept is that the average person’s basic toilet-sitting technique will cause the solid matter and urine to go into separate collection systems, one that works like a standard toilet and one that collects the liquid waste for later disposal.

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“Sweden is now the urine-separation centre of the western world,” TreeHugger’s John Laumer reports, with thousands of these units in use. His big quibble is the requirement for males to sit on the porcelain throne, rather than standing to pee in the usual manly manner.

Fearing that macho Americans will need considerable persuasion to adopt this new bathroom technology, he proposes a re-design along the lines of a tall-prowed Viking ship (think about the mechanics of it, for a moment, and you’ll see his point); then he does a nice riff on a Viking-themed advertisement to sell urine-separation toilets.

A Swedish hunk, in Viking costume, is shown watching TV with his significant other. At the right juncture, he excuses himself…

Even if you have no passion for waste reduction and bathroom renovations, it’s worth a read just for the amusing ad proposal — as tasteful a sense of humour as one could hope for under the circumstances!

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