Oregon Advocacy Group Pushes for Compost Toilet and Sustainable Plumbing Systems

The average flush uses almost four gallons of water, and the average American uses nearly 20 gallons of water a day just using the bathroom, adding up to thousands of gallons down the drain every year. The commode is the single biggest user of water in an average house. Now, one Oregon-based group is on a mission to make the potty a little more eco-friendly.

Recode, of Portland, wants to encourage and empower their community to switch to composting toilets. Recode says the toilets do not use water. Instead they use four parts, a commode, a collection method, a composting chamber and a management plan to dispose of waste.

Composting toilets use gravity mechanisms to turn waste into usable manure that can be spread in gardens and on plants, safely, and effectively. The group says a Massachusetts study found bathrooms with these kinds of toilets reduced household nitrogen output by up to 96% after replacing their traditional fixtures.

According to the Greywater Action Council, Oregon is one of a few states in the country with plumbing code language that supports compost toilets in homes. The laws require homes to use NSF certified models.

A few years ago, Recode worked with groups and governmental bodies to get this language adopted. In 2015, the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials adopted Recode’s model composting toilet code.

The Greywater Action Council says typically, homeowners can install compost toilets to replace their standard ones, so long as at least one flush toilet is connected to an approved septic or sewer system, the manure isn’t transported across property lines, and the toilet doesn’t create an odor or nuisance that bothers the neighbors.


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