An estimated 30 percent of all water used in the home is flushed straight down the toilet, so taking steps to improve the efficiency of your toilet can have a big impact on both your wallet and the environment. Of course, this doesn't mean you should avoid flushes or adopt other crazy water-saving strategies; instead check out these five eco-friendly alternatives to the traditional toilet, all of which are designed to save water while effectively managing waste. While you may be able to install a new toilet yourself, it's always best to contact a licensed plumber for help if you need to install a new toilet drain line along with your new unit or if you simply want to ensure the best results for your project.
Old-school toilets use up to 6 gallons of water with each and every flush, making them major water wasters. While the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requires all new toilets installed in the U.S. to use 1.6 gallons per flush or less (some states, like California, cut consumption as low as 1.28 GPF), many homeowners are still using old water-hogging toilets. Replacing your old toilet with one certified by the EPA will reduce the average family's water consumption by 13,000 gallons per year and save $2,200 in water costs over the life of the toilet.
It doesn't take a master plumber to know that not every trip to the toilet requires the same amount of water. While it might take 1.6 gallons to flush solid waste, it takes much less to move a liquid-only deposit. Take advantage of this fact with a dual-flush toilet, which is designed to use well under a gallon of water to flush urine while still giving you the option to use more water to get rid of solid waste. Toilets equipped with this feature have two buttons instead of a standard handle for flushing, or you can add a retrofit feature to your existing toilet for around $20.
Pressure-assist toilets mix pressurized air in with the water to help move waste out of the toilet and into the pipes. By combining air power with water power, these fixtures can eliminate solid waste using less than a gallon of water per flush.
There's no reason to stick to pure, fresh water for something like flushing the toilet. Save water by recycling water from your sink or shower and use this water – called greywater – for flushing the toilet. This can be as simple as keeping a bucket in your shower to capture extra water and using it to flush each time it's full. You can also pick up a toilet with a sink built into the top, where the water from the sink is reused for flushing after you've washed your hands. If you really want to make the most of greywater, consult a plumber for help installing a greywater system throughout your home, which can reduce your water waste and provide free recycled water for irrigation and toilet flushing.
Composting toilets use no water at all. Instead, they process waste into a form of compost that you may be able to use in your garden depending on the laws in your area. They require a bit more maintenance than other toilets, but are the most eco-friendly in terms of water conservation and saving money on water and sewer costs.Share