If you’ve ever considered the humble urinal, you might have noticed that it uses much less water than a toilet. It only makes sense - since they don’t receive any feces, urinals don’t need all the water necessary to carry such solid waste through to the sewer line. When you use a toilet and just urinate, however, you’re still flushing away just as much water as if you, uh, went “Number 2.” If you were using a NoMix toilet, however, the Number 1 and Number 2 would go separate places, with the flushes being needed for solid waste only. It’s a good enough idea that in a recent pilot project, users in seven European countries gave the device a thumbs - or should that be bottoms? - up.
By keeping urine out of the sewage system, wastewater treatment plants would reportedly have 80 percent less nitrogen and 50 percent less phosphorous to process... or more accurately, to try to process. The pharmaceutical residues present in urine would also be largely kept out of the waterways, where they presently pose a threat to fish and other wildlife.
Instead of being flushed, it is proposed, the urine could be used as an agricultural fertilizer. What, you think that sounds kind of gross? Apparently, 85 percent of the NoMix users don’t think so. Farmers, however, aren’t so keen on the concept - only 50 percent of them liked the idea, while only 34 percent said they would use or purchase such a fertilizer.
Hopefully, this kind of feedback will lead to a more user-friendly NoMix, which will in turn lead to less pollution and water wastage. The full report on the project can be read at the website of the scientific journal, Environmental Science & Technology.
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