11. 29. 2007
Portable toilets that save the environment
I have no idea how many portable toilets are distributed throughout public parks, construction sites and other areas around the U.S., but I'm sure the number is shocking. And why is it that with modern technology, port-a-johns work exactly the same way as they always have?
In Japan, an environmentally responsible solution is being implemented on Mt. Fuji, a popular destination for mountain climbers. With over 300,000 people making the trek each year, until the year 2000, toilet facilties consisted of portable toilets inside of mountain huts, which were emptied down the side of the mountain. Take a second and imagine that lovely image.
A nonprofit organization called the Fujisan Club brought the first biotoilets to Mt. Fuji at the beginning of this decade. These eco toilets use bacteria to decompose human waste into carbon dioxide, water, and other "innocuous compounds," releasing no foul oder, water or sludge. The brand of biolets installed on Mt. Fuji is Bianics Toilet made by Toyokogyo Co.
This particular brand uses a 3-step process: (1) water is added to the waste, then (2) it goes through a layer containing baceria to begin decompsoition, and finally (2) it goes through a third layer where cedar chips and the microorganisms with the chips do the finaly decoposition, leaving just carbom dioxide and water.
With growing interest in biotoilets, other companies in Japan are also producing similar products. And the boitoilets on Mt. Fuji have so far made it up to the seventh station, where they will be in operation by the next climbing season.
I've never seen a biotoilet in a public place in the U.S. Has anybody else seen one?
Via The Nikkei Weekly (subscription).