And you thought Japan had the most advanced toilets in the world! A series of pilot programs around Europe recently has been testing out not air-dry and adjustable seat options, but rather a technological innovation that separates Number One from, ahem, Number Two–the NoMix Toilet.
This may sound a little funny, but according to Treehugger, it’s a concept with far-ranging eco-implications. That’s because Number Two is great for creating methane, which in turn can produce electricity. (Imagine knowing that your TV is being powered, in part, by…well, never mind.) Number One, on the other hand is great for providing fertilizer, in the form of phosphorus and nitrogen, for agricultural crops. This is a bigger deal than you might think, as the production of chemical fertilizers is currently one of the biggest consumers of fossil fuels on the planet. Neither of these abundant natural resources can effectively be exploited, however, if they get mixed together and have to be separated later.
According to a study conducted by Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology based on 38 NoMix-projects in seven Northern and Central European countries, with 2700 respondents, there is a high rate of acceptance for this “urine separation technology.” Around 80% of users liked the idea, 75−85% were satisfied with design, hygiene, smell, and seating comfort, 85% regarded urine-fertilizers as good idea (including 50% of farmers), and 70% would purchase food raised with urine fertilizers. Unsurprisingly, though, only 57% were willing to pay more for a NoMix than conventional toilet–so if the idea is really going to catch on in a big way, government subsidies will likely come into play.
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