SOMETHING NEW TO RECYCLE
First, it was old newspapers, then, it was paper-products used in offices and schools, and it eventually involved computers, copiers, and cell phones—all are still being recycled to help protect natural resources and foster sustainability.
Now, however, something else is increasingly finding its way into recycling centers: old toilets and urinals. As more and more facilities replace old toilets and urinals, facility managers now have the task of discarding the old fixtures. And, there are many uses for old toilets and urinals, which make them perfect for recycling—avoiding increasingly full land-fill sites.
“It’s a very smart thing to do,” says Klaus Reichardt, managing partner of Waterless Co., the oldest manufacturer of waterless or no-flush urinals in the United States. “It is estimated that old toilets waste thousands of gallons of water each year and a conventional urinal may use more than 40,000 gallons of water per unit per year. Switching to low-flow fixtures or no-water urinals can result in dramatic savings.”
Used for Roads, Building Foundations, Even Floors
Toilet/urinal recycling facilities report that the porcelain used in these fixtures can be recycled and used as a cost-effective alternative to make various materials. For instance:
- In Seattle, a city program that rewards building owners for replacing old, water-wasteful restroom fixtures with those that use less or no water, grinds up the old fixtures and uses it to help pave roads.
- Old toilets and urinals can be crushed and re-used for building foundations. At the Inland Empire Utilities Agency’s administration headquarters in Chino, CA, these recycled fixtures helped the facility earn Platinum Certification from the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Program (LEED).
- A young Texas entrepreneur has developed—and patented—a way to turn old toilets and urinals into terrazzo floors. And, designers have found working with the recycled restroom fixture terrazzo floors allows them to develop more varied and complex designs than working with conventional terrazzo aggregates of cement, marble and glass chips.
According to Reichardt, not all recycling facilities are capable of recycling old toilets and urinals, however more and more are coming online. “Usually the best way to find if there is a toilet/urinal recycling facility in your area is to contact your state municipal solid waste program,” he says. “The US Environmental Protection Agency keeps a list of many of these programs at
Waterless Co. LLC has established a reputation as an innovative manufacturer, serving the building, plumbing, and janitorial industry for over 15 years. Based in Vista, Ca, Waterless Co. offers quality, innovation and expertise in water conservation and high efficiency products for building owners with a full line of Waterless No-Flush urinals, cleaning liquids, and cost saving accessories. Visit: