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mindset

 
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Education and mindset shape our view and expectations of the world and one of the things that many of us, in the western world at least, think is that human waste must be transported away by water. We need to get away from that view as a group because water is too valuable to use and our ability to extract the pure water back out of the resulting mix is imperfect and expensive. I have read numerous times that people would like a greener way to deal with human waste that looks just like what westerners are used to and I would argue that it is a mistake to think this way. We need to be reeducating the average person to take responsibility for our own existence and dealing or partly dealing with our own excrement is a very basic way of starting. Resorts could have sawdust toilets by choice as a way of greening their operation and maybe giving them a bit of an edge on bookings over the less green competition. So the next time you get a chance to comment on sanitation or participate in planning for a building or an event consider that using water, no matter the system, is not the way to go.
 
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Location: Fennville MI
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It is not clear to me what your objection is to a greener way that looks just like what westerners are used to.
Seems to me that having a "user interface" that is very simlar to current flush systems would help with adoption. Yes, the actual operation and back end would be very different indeed, but where is the downside in having a familiar looking "interface"?
 
Wyatt Barnes
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I like the idea of having a familiar user interface and would if it wasn't tied into one of the two main problems with the average system and that is that it uses water. For that matter the user interface for a sawdust toilet can be made very similar to a flush toilet from the outside. To me that should be enough familiarity to get people over their initial reluctance.
 
Wyatt Barnes
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I was in a bit of a rush this morning when I answered Peter so I would like to try again now that I have the time to think through my response. His main question was " It is not clear to me what your objection is to a greener way that looks just like what westerners are used to. " The answer is that my objection is to a system that uses water. The interface can look like a standard toilet but if it flushes with water I am against it. If a system is described as " greener " it probably uses water. To me the argument is the same as one person saying they don't need to ride a bicycle because the car they just bought gets better than average gas mileage. It is not my intent to criticize people who have chosen a " greener " alternative, I applaud their initiative to make an improvement. My intent is to say that if you can, choose the greenest solution instead of the greener and encourage your renters, neighbours, friends and family to choose the greenest and not be afraid of it. Be proud of your better choices but don't coast on them, and challenge others not to coast as well.
 
Peter Ellis
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In short, you do not object to it looking like westerners are used to. You object to it functioning in the way westerners are used to.

Lots of people on board with not using water to transport poop.

As I see it, a waterless system that looked pretty much the same as an American Standard toilet would be a winner. Easy to get people to adopt the familiar looking solution.
 
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This may or may not add to this conversation...glad if it does and my apologies if it does not.



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pollinator
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Perhaps a more fundamental question should be whether poop should be moved by some autonomous system (flowing water, etc.) or by the individual (moving sawdust, etc.). Especially in population centers, I would be concerned with individuals being actively involved in the poop moving. While 98% of people might be able to responsibly handle their poop, the actions of the worst 2% could reintroduce many long forgotten problems.
 
Wyatt Barnes
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I agree that the 2 percent will cause problems but they already cause problems with pets, garbage, noise etc and we deal with it on a case by case basis so we would have to add this to the list. For that matter they probably already cause a lot of the problems with the sewage treatment system and those will be eliminated and replaced with new problems. Other than the time frame for the learning curve for the authorities we will probably come out about even.
 
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