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Don’t Forget To Wash Your Hands…

toiletsinkIn the never-ending quest to conserve water, some entrepreneurial folks come up with some pretty wacky designs.  It’s a well known fact that the biggest water wasting room in the home is the bathroom. In fact, 75% of indoor water use comes from the bathroom alone! Of that, the toilet uses 25%, with the remaining from the shower/bathtubs and faucets. I’ve seen and read about some pretty interesting water saving efforts, and have even tried some myself.  Before the invention of low-flow toilets, I put rocks and other weights in the toilet tank so that less water would be used when flushing. Who knew that toilet tanks could house more than just a stash of drugs?

Earthquake Forces Conservation

Back in 1989 after the Loma Prieta earthquake in California, my boss, who lived in the Los Gatos hillside was without water for nearly one year.  Every night on his way home, he had to stop and fill dozens of water jugs for drinking, washing dishes and clothes, showering, and flushing toilets.  Those of us living in the lowlands wondered why he and his family didn’t just relocate, but I guess a man’s home is his castle, and he wasn’t giving up without a fight.

If Only He Had This Throne

In 1992, Congress passed the Energy Policy Act which mandated that beginning in 1994, all common flush toilets use only 1.6 gallons per flush.  Since 1994, there have been many iterations of these so-called low flow toilets, many of which were poor implementations.  I’ve had many different low flow designed toilets since then, and in my humble opinion, Toto (from Japan) designs the best toilets!

Looking at this from a purely mathematical standpoint, let’s compute how much water my boss would have saved if he had low flow toilets back in 1989:

Assuming the average person uses the toilet twice per day, that would be 6 flushes in his household each day.

The average water savings from the old style toilets to the low flow toilets is 1.8 gal/flush

Total water savings per day would be 10.8 gal (6 x 1.8 gal)

Total savings for the year would be 3942 gallons

At 8.34 lbs per gallon of water, my boss lifted an additional 32,876 lbs (or 16 tons) during that year.

Of course, he could have gone old school and followed the mantra of “If it’s yellow, let it mellow.  If it’s brown, flush it down”.  Then he might have saved even more…

Maybe Glum Was Right?


If you ever watched Gulliver’s Travels as a child, you undoubtedly remember Glum’s often quoted phrase “It’ll never work”.  Well, just because it does, doesn’t necessarily make it a good idea. Take the Labradoodle. Do we really need another Poodle breed?  How about the Flatulence Deodorizer (patent# 6313371)? What about Animal Ear Protectors (patent# 4233942)?  Maybe the Labradoodle owners can make use of the animal ear protectors!

Here’s a short video of how this toilet/sink works.


dislikeI’m all for washing my hands after using the loo, but somehow the thought of actually standing over it to do so just feels downright weird.  I suppose these toilets might be very popular in China or Japan where the homes are very small, but what’s next? Brushing my teeth over the toilet too?  I’m giving this invention a thumbs down.

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