If you’ve ever considered the humble urinal, you might have noticed that it uses much less water than a toilet. It only makes sense – since they don’t receive any feces, urinals don’t need all the water necessary to carry such solid waste through to the sewer line. When you use a toilet and just urinate, however, you’re still flushing away just as much water as if you, uh, went “Number 2.” If you were using a NoMix toilet, however, the Number 1 and Number 2 would go separate places, with the flushes being needed for solid waste only. It’s a good enough idea that in a recent pilot project, users in seven European countries gave the device a thumbs – or should that be bottoms? – up.
The NoMix has what is essentially a urinal in the front half of the bowl, near the top. The urine runs from there to a storage tank. The back half of the bowl is like a conventional toilet, where the solid waste lands and gets flushed away.
The pilot project was conducted by the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology. It included feedback from 2,700 NoMix test-pilots in Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark. The results showed that around 80 percent of users liked the idea, while 75 – 85 percent were satisfied with the design, hygiene, smell, and seating comfort.
The obvious advantage of such a system, as already mentioned, is the conservation of the water that would have been used in urine-only flushes. Its good points don’t stop there, however.