05
Aug
09

Wee can save the environment

ToiletWater – as environmentalists are often reminding us – is fast becoming a precious commodity. Now a campaign from a Brazilian group is asking the public to take a very specific step to stop wastage.

The message is simple – urinating in the shower saves water. According to SOS Mata Atlantica, this simple measure could save over 4,000 litres of water annually per household. It’s backed up with a cute ad campaign.

What do you think of the idea? Sensible way of saving water which would otherwise be lost from flushing the loo? Or are you uncomfortable with the idea of peeing in the shower?

What unusual things do you do to help the environment?


42 Responses to “Wee can save the environment”


  1. 1 Konstantin in Germany
    August 5, 2009 at 12:24

    How about showering a bit quicker and using the “save water” button on your toilet? If you haven’t such a button, lift the handle to stop the water… btw: the restareas on german motorways are all installing waterless urinals. It’s some kind of special coating of the “bowl” that makes it work. No odor, no stain, no water. How about adapting that technology for home use?

  2. 2 VictorK
    August 5, 2009 at 12:28

    Though not immediately obvious, there are important moral & cultural issues at play in this story. How people respond to what’s being proposed will also be a good indication of their political orientation. I would confidently predict the reactions of several regular bloggers to this (as they could mine). I could tell you how which side the Taliban and bin Laden would most likely come down on, and the likely reactions of Tony Blair and Bill Clinton. It’s one of those stories that’s really about something larger & more significant than what’s being directly considered.

    It reminds me of chapter 7 of the Book of Judges (no, really), where God tells Gideon which men are worthy to go with him to fight the Midianites
    http://etext.virginia.edu/etcbin/toccer-new2?id=KjvJudg.sgm&images=images/modeng&data=/texts/english/modeng/parsed&tag=public&part=7&division=div1

    Anybody who understands what that story signifies morally will see the connection & will reject urinating in the shower, even if it undoubtedly conserves water.

  3. 3 Jennifer
    August 5, 2009 at 13:04

    Please tell me you are not serious about this…….

  4. 4 steve
    August 5, 2009 at 13:08

    @ Konstantin

    I think they are more like airline toilets, using air instead of water. I’ve seen toilets like that in the US.

    • 5 Konstantin in Germany
      August 5, 2009 at 13:14

      @ steve
      they don’t use airpressure to evacuate… the coating is designed to not let anything stick to it…
      they’re called “urimat”.

      but using vacuum to pull it out is also a solution. but it uses a lot of energy… on airplanes, they take advantage of the outside pressure with a series of valves.

  5. 6 patti in cape coral
    August 5, 2009 at 13:10

    As long as they are not suggesting peeing in the bath! Eeuuw! I’m too dense to understand exactly what VictorK is referring to, but I do know the story about the only men Gideon was to take into battle with him weree the ones who drank without looking down and putting their faces in the water. Only the ones that kept their heads up and looking around them as they drank were allowed to be taken into battle. I always thought that story meant to be alert of your surroundings and don’t trust anything, and you can do more with a few good men than with a lot of mediocre men. Is that the moral, VictorK?

  6. 7 VictorK
    August 5, 2009 at 13:38

    @Patti: a further interpretation is that the men who conducted themselves with dignity, self-possession and character (i.e. as ‘men’) , even in the small matter of drinking water, were selected, unlike those who drank ‘…as a dog lappeth.’

    My broader point is that anyone who believes people are more than animals, that moral and spiritual qualities count, and that material benefits alone are not the last word in judging the rightness or desirability of conduct, and/or that man is created in the image of God, will reject this proposal as supremely undignified, an insult to our humanity, and in fact dehumanising, the kind of thing that one could expect of an animal but should never request of a man. The religious, from Jehovah’s Witnesses to the Taliban, would all be united in rejecting this proposal as morally degrading. Those who take a rationalist, materialist and usually atheist view of life (the left in general) will start unzipping their trousers. For them the only considerations are utilitarian ones. Is it eco-friendly? Yes? So what are we waiting for? Human dignity for such people is usually a pointless abstraction, unless it serves obviously ‘rational’ and ‘materialist’ ends. From this perspective there’s no reason not to urinate in your own bathwater (since, they will scientifically observe, urine is sterile and no harm to anyone’s material health).

    • 8 Dan
      August 5, 2009 at 14:45

      Viktor: “Human dignity for such people is usually a pointless abstraction”. Thanks for making this issue , and humanity, black and white. As I recall, it was not the atheists who carried out the inquisition. I’m afraid we are mostly animals, even if created by God. Those who were more than human didn’t have to pee – Nowhere in the Bible is it recorded that Jesus pee-ed!

    • 9 Mark in FL
      August 5, 2009 at 15:46

      What do you do in the woods?
      Tie a knot in it?

  7. 10 patti in cape coral
    August 5, 2009 at 14:06

    There are a lot of ways to conserve water, as Chevy Chase said “Conserve water, shower with a friend.” Seriously, for those of us who are more fastidious, or concerned with our dignity, this would not be an option, perhaps we can choose another route for water conservation. For those of us who are more, um, “rugged” it would not be a big deal to pee in the shower. For those of us who don’t believe in environmental issues, it won’t matter either way.

    It was a very cute ad, though.

  8. 11 patti in cape coral
    August 5, 2009 at 14:24

    Also, I don’t really think that peeing in the shower to conserve water is inconsistent with a belief in God. It could be argued that God gave us stewardship over this planet, and we haven’t been very good stewards so far, so we are trying to be good stewards now. A matter of interpretation?

  9. 12 George
    August 5, 2009 at 14:31

    I’ve been doing this for years, much to the dismay of my wife who accused me of being primitive, uncouth and unhygienic. Now I can pull open the shower curtain and declare to her proudly that I am doing it for the environment.

  10. 13 Rex
    August 5, 2009 at 14:35

    I go in the shower every morning. They are all wastewater pipes anyways.
    Although, it only makes sense if that specific time in the shower fills up less than a toilet bowl’s worth of water.

  11. 14 e k
    August 5, 2009 at 14:39

    Is it the developing countries that waste more water? I was just in turkey and saw so many instances of public water spickets just running and running, full blast. As if they now have a working water system and are showing it off.

    • 15 RightPaddock
      August 5, 2009 at 15:59

      The water you saw probably come from the dams they’ve built on the upper Tigris & Euphrates rivers. Just another in long line of acts of aggression by the Turks against their neighbours, in this case Syria and Iraq.

      Other instances include the Armenian genocide, oppression of the Kurds and persecution of Christian Greeks and Syrians and the systematic destruction of their religious institutions and sites. The destruction and slaughter of the inhabitants of Smyrna (Izmir) in 1922, Their use of the Latin alphabet denies Turks access to their own literary traditions and history, that’s called cultural suicide

  12. 16 Tricia
    August 5, 2009 at 14:43

    Another option, composting toilets.

    http://www.envirolet.com/

    Versions from no water and self contained to low water.

    Here is an example of how it worked in a project in Kentucky:

    http://www.a-spi.org/tp/tp2.htm

    FYI: @Victor: one could only wish that humans were as dignified as animals.

  13. 18 Gabe in East Lansing, MI - USA
    August 5, 2009 at 14:47

    Do away with the flush toilet as we know it.

    At the very least, separate our liquid waste from our solid waste. With one hand we flush away thousands of gallons of the cleanest water in the world to deal with the liter of liquid “waste” we generate every day. We send that liquid waste off to a treatment plant where the “waste” is poorly removed from it prior to being dumped in our oceans and causing algae blooms.

    Meanwhile, with our other hands we expend a great amount of energy taking nitrogen from the air and turning it into nitrogenous fertilizers. The very same thing we flush down the toilet every day.

    SEPARATE the waste. STORE that liter or two of liquid waste that we generate every day. COLLECT it biannually. APPLY it to our fields, lawns, and gardens. REDUCE the load on our treatment facilities. REDUCE our waste of water used to transport it to treatment facilities. REDUCE the energy needed to treat the water we waste when we flush. REDUCE the energy we use to make nitrogenous fertilizers. LIVE SUSTAINABLY!

    http://www.ecosanres.org/pdf_files/Urine_Diversion_2006-1.pdf
    http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/wastewater/urineguidelines.pdf

  14. 19 Marc
    August 5, 2009 at 14:50

    I already pee in the shower. Now I can do it with pride knowing I am saving the planet. My girlfriend still will think I’m disgusting though.

  15. 21 John in Salem
    August 5, 2009 at 14:51

    Well, then… All these years I thought I was just being lazy – turns out I was saving the planet. Cool!

  16. 22 Diane Dudley
    August 5, 2009 at 14:59

    From the College of William and Mary in Virginia

    I would probably use more water cleaning the shower after “peeing” in it than it would take to flush the toilet.
    🙂

  17. 23 Mike in Pennsylvania Pa
    August 5, 2009 at 15:00

    I personally do not ‘go ‘ in the shower but simply only flush the toilet when it is actually necessary. Meaning if there begins to be a slight smell or the company is on their way over. Every little bit of saving helps.

  18. 25 Tom K in Mpls
    August 5, 2009 at 15:10

    This is a cute and humorous little option. Little things help. Using a water flow that already exists is smart. Besides, the ladies get to pee while standing!

    • 26 Konstantin in Germany
      August 5, 2009 at 23:17

      LOL – yes they’ve been denied that far too long?! I know my sister once complained about the unfairness of it.

  19. 27 Roberto
    August 5, 2009 at 15:38

    RE “” Water – as environmentalists are often reminding us – is fast becoming a precious commodity. “”
    ————————————————————————————————————————

    ———- Water has ALWAYS been a precious resource except among misanthropic exploiters of resources..

    Must be a slow news day at WHYS to run with this WEE environmental nonsense.

  20. 28 Peter Gizzi UK
    August 5, 2009 at 16:33

    Hi all,
    Me again! I can only speak for The UK. where many have become easy come easy go mentalitiy. PUT EVERYBODY ON A WATER METER! I had mine connected about 12 years ago. I was livid at the time as I had to pay £99 for the installation. It paid for itself though in about 2 1/2 years. My water bill is now less than half what it would be if I was still on the old system.

    I save rinsing water from the washing machine for the garden. some of it helps to flush the toilet. 2 blue blocks in the cistern mean I can pee all day without flushing but then I live alone. My annual consumption is around 20 cubic metres. A cubic metre is I think 220 UK gallons? How this compares with national average I have no idea.

    When in the shower I run it just long enough to wet me all over then turn it off. I then soap and shampoo turning the shower back on to rinse. On a meter one thinks of every drop used.

    • 29 Tom K in Mpls
      August 5, 2009 at 17:41

      In the US, virtually all residences hooked to city water use meters. They are rarely seen and read for billing by someone walking past with a remote reader. Your attentions are exceptional.

  21. 30 patti in cape coral
    August 5, 2009 at 17:21

    I live in a duplex, so my neighbors and I share a wall where the master bathroom and bedroom are. I only flush the toilet in the morning even though I use it during the night, so I don’t disturb the neighbors. I assume since I can hear the guy next door singing in the shower, they can hear my toilet flushing! I guess I was killing two birds with one stone and didn’t know it.

  22. 31 Jeanne
    August 5, 2009 at 17:38

    I thought everyone peed in the shower. What’s the big deal? I live in the desert of Southern California. I removed all lawn and planted native plants, I use our dish water to water plants, we bucket or pump bath water out to the garden. Next step is a gray water system that will allow all non sewage water to be reused in our yard. We flush toilets only when necessary and do any necessary waterng of plants by hand with a watering can at dusk. Peeing in the shower seems like the very least we can do.

  23. 32 ARTHUR NJUGUNA
    August 5, 2009 at 19:17

    Dear Watson, I think somebody has discovered that we are becoming overly sexist. What a wisecrack? Treating us with our own medicine hm? What else shall he have to rescue the rain forest?

    Why did he not suggest we spray it on flowers? They probably could do with additional urea I guess I jock .

  24. 33 Bert
    August 5, 2009 at 21:34

    I thought, pee in the shower? How thoroughly revolting.

    And then I read all the posts from guys who already do this.

    Eeewwww. Remind me never to use a public shower!! And forget about public swimmiing pools. No doubt, they have rationalized that too.

    But I did split my spleen laughing about it, though. Nice to have a slow news day occasionally.

  25. 34 bernadette
    August 6, 2009 at 15:32

    Urine the waste product of protein metabolism is a sterile fluid unless we have an infection. Why are we are so ashamed of our bodily functions. Some think it immoral to ‘p i n s’ but might not mind committing acts of agression, dishonesty ,immorality etc, without blinking Then of course there is urine therapy where people drink their urine for health reasons(practiced in India). But if push came to shove I am sure Darwin’s theory would win out and rather that wasting the pee in the air shower ior wherever else, we would drink it. I feel that this would be the prevailing behaviour in the event. Religion mostly has been responsible for us becoming ashamed of our bodies and bodily functions. Not to mention all the other psychosocial disorders disturbing humans. these days Animals are on a higher plane owing to the fact that they do not have EGO, man’s greatest enemy. Our ignorance as humans is immense when you see how we treat our people animals plants and minerals in total our universe. Bernadette Nairobi

  26. 35 bernadette
    August 6, 2009 at 15:49

    I am with Peter Gizzi UK and Jeanne in the desert in California. I love a bath but save my bathwater to flush the toilet and water the garden. I am the subjected to much derision and it’s a struggle to convince other that this is the right way to use the earth’s resources. We have a big water shortage here in Nairobi and we are having to have rotating power cuts. This is an example of how intersdependent we are, It is not just the water shortage affecting cattle farming etc etc but the power cuts take place in the day as due to crime rates being so high and violent we need power at night for the security alarms. Thanks to you sensinble gnostics who really know where it’s at. By the way my water power etc is included in my rent nodony see what I conserve I know it’s the correct thing to do for my fellow human planetarians.bernadette Nairobi Kenya

  27. August 7, 2009 at 01:26

    Whatever means to save water should be acceptable. There are millions of people who can’t afford drinkable water, let alone waste it in the loo. Because of water shortage and the cost to recycle it people should use it as economically as possible.

    Concerning urinating in the shower, it seems less shocking than drinking recycled sewage. There are countries like Australia and Singapore which resort to this method. Singapore is planning to reuse sewage at least three times. For some people, it can be accepted to use recycled sewage in irrigation, but it can be hard for them to drink recycled sewage.

  28. 37 James Ian
    August 7, 2009 at 06:32

    Nope, not peeing in the shower, Sorry, just not going to happen.🙂

  29. 38 Dr.A.K.Tewari
    August 7, 2009 at 13:38

    It is not only water that constitute our environment. All natural resourses are being over exploited. The reason is clear that our population has exceeded the carrying capasity of the earth. If we will not reduce it the nature will adopt its cruel mode to maintain the required balance.

  30. 39 bernadette
    August 7, 2009 at 18:32

    No kidding!! Mother Nature cannot take much more of this before she fights back with a vengeance. Then. where will we take all of our spoils. We come in naked we will go out naked. All us having a chance to communicate let us try to change things in our personal circles of influence.”Yes we can”. Look what Gandhiji did by non violent methods. Lets save the planet.
    bernadette nairobi

  31. August 10, 2009 at 15:05

    Installing a ‘water smart flush’ is a good alternative to saving water in the toilet. With the fresh water reserve levels dropping drastically, all of us need to make sure we do all it takes to save every drop we can .This could be simple things like taking shorter showers, checking for leaks in the plumbing, washing your clothes or dishes with a full load etc can be some effective tips to save plenty of gallons of water. For some more useful tips on how to be efficient when using water visit http://bit.ly/hhNfY

  32. 41 Joya Ghose
    August 10, 2009 at 16:39

    It would probably only save one flush per day, unless you are in the habit of taking multiple showers, or only urinate once per day.

  33. August 31, 2009 at 08:37

    Awareness among the public is a key thing in stopping environmental issues.We must have to take remedy measures against those.


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