Eco Bath System Takes The “Ick” Out Of Wastewater Recycling

Did you know that your toilet consumes 30 percent of all water used in your home? If your toilet was manufactured before 1992, it sends 3.5 gallons of water down the drain every time you flush. That seems like an awful lot of water to waste when you consider that 80 countries have water shortages that threaten health and economies while 40 percent of the world — more than 2 billion people — have no access to clean water or sanitation.

Clearly something has to be done to reduce home water consumption, but we can’t eliminate the toilet altogether. If you’re not ready for the additional, um, challenges of a composting toilet, which uses no water at all, you might want to consider a wastewater recycling system like the Eco Bath, instead.


Image via Jang Wooseok/Coroflot

You might be surprised to learn that all water that flows down your drain is not created equal. The water used to wash your hands, laundry, or dinner dishes is called “grey water” and can be reused safely in certain circumstances. Anything that’s in the toilet is considered “black water” and must go directly into a septic tank or wastewater treatment center. To Jang Wooseok, an industiral designer from South Korea, this classification seemed to open up an obvious conservation opportunity: why not use the grey water to flush the toilet?


Image via Jang Wooseok/Coroflot

As this review explains, the Eco Bath eliminates the need for complicated systems that gather and redistribute grey water throughout the home. Instead, the design employs two levers, one for each compartment. An external LED lights provides information about the available water levels. If grey water abounds and there is enough to flush with the recycled water, the light is green. If not, the light is red and a fresh flushing option is available. Although the Eco Bath certainly isn’t the first grey water recycling system we’ve seen, it’s certainly the most stylish. Maybe the improved aesthetic will serve as an added incentive for people to give it a try!

Beth Buczynski is a freelancer writer and editor currently living in the Rocky Mountain West. Her articles appear on Care2, Ecosalon and Inhabitat, just to name a few. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog

1 Comment

  • Reply June 13, 2012


    Japan uses toilets like this in the home and Australia has a distinction between grey water and waste water. It just makes sense that some water is ‘dirtier’ after being used.
    I’m kind of surprised that with all the infrastructure we have in the US, and that by now a lot of it could use replacing, that we haven’t begun to make the 2 waste water systems, especially since there are growing concerns with increased levels of prescription drugs in clean water.It would be nice if ‘black’ water systems were gradually installed in the US and we could filter for these pharma contaminants.

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