Thursday, January 31, 2008

Toilet Hacks 2: The Return

Hello and Good Morning!

Just to start things off, I want to say thank you to whoever is reading this.
Thank you for taking the time to read my zany little blog. I hope you enjoy it.

That said, I think a lot about the toilet.

I work in an office in Chelsea, and me and my fellow co-workers all share this one bathroom. Since I try to drink lots of water (hydrate before you dehydrate), I end up using the bathroom several times a day. I'd say, roughly four times during the course of a work day.

Let's do some math:

Four toilet flushes @ 1.6 gallons per flush = 6.4 gallons of clean water, (now mixed with my "contributions") down into the sewer system.

Just to put this number in perspective, the average African gets by on guess how many gallons of water a day?


So, before I've factored in showers and hand washing and assorted other water uses throughout the day, I'm already using more than six times the amount an African would use in a day, (and they'd probably use it for drinking.)

My point is that every little action can promote a positive reaction.

So here are two very simple things you can do to help minimize the amount of clean water you use.

1.) Don't flush pee alone. It makes pee sad to be flushed down by itself. Admittedly, in an office setting, this may prove to be counter to what your co-workers find acceptable. Fair enough, do it at home.

If you pee three times for every flush, (and if you are hydrated enough, your pee shouldn't smell or look that bad.) you've saved 3.2 gallons of water. Nearly an Arrowhead bottle. Good stuff.

And number 2.) (Ha!) Hack your toilet!

Do it like this:

Firstly, you'll need a specially constructed, non-deliquescing, adamantine, water displacement device, (or, n.d.a.w.d.d.)

If you can't find one of those, a brick will work just fine.

Like this:

Give 'ol Mr. Brick a good scrub to remove particulates, and then...

Open your toilet tank. Just take the top off. Simple.

Position your brick above the toilet tank. (Important note! Do not let go! Porcelain is easily chipped.)

Insert brick into toilet tank. Not the bowl! The tank. Don't worry, tank water is clean. (In fact, in case of zombie attack, a nice commercial building with lots of toilets can provide fresh water for a little while. Really, in case of zombie attack, you should leave the cities and heavily populated areas, favoring mountain peaks and glaciers. I digress...)

Now that the brick is in the tank, position it so that it does not interfere with the movement of your float arm. (That's the little rod with the plastic bulb on the end.)
In this photo, the brick is a little too far to the right. I scooted it over to the left so the float wouldn't hit it.

Pop the lid back on. (Just like when you took it off, but in reverse.)

And don't forget to do this!:

You've not really touched anything supernasty, but better safe than stomach bug.

And you're done! The brick will displace volume that would have otherwise been occupied by clean water, so your toilet will use less each time it refills.

Here's the staggering thing:

Doing this simple thing will save you approximately 11,000 gallons of water a year.

That's the size of a pretty good sized swimming pool. You now have 11,000 gallons of clean water that instead of having peed or pooped in, you could use to, say, fill up a swimming pool.

Or, really do the planet a favor and buy a composting toilet.

Love to all,

-Clean Hands McGirk

p.s. I just tried it out, and things are working beautifully!

Remember, if you aren't having fun, you might not be doing it right!

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