Written by futureofwaste

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“Tackling  waste in tourism & events”

Unanticipated, the sanitary issue might quickly become a nightmare for events organizers who are suddenly welcoming a bunch of people in a place that’s not equipped for it. Also toilets represent the main source of wastewater in hotels, and some ecolodges, located in the middle nature, have to find alternative solutions. This article reviews why and how to reduce wastewater thanks to composting toilets!

image : Dry toilets installed by les Gandousiers

Why?

In general, natural waste that fall into the toilet is discharged to sewers (in urban areas) or land in the septic tank. In addition not to use water, composting toilets interest is to recycle and reuse these materials which can become excellent compost for parks, gardens or other crops.

  • 30 L of water per person per day: it’s the average water amount which goes in the toilets in France, which represents 20% of water consumption for a home.
  • A traditional toilet flush consumes an average of 8 litres of water each time you flush it.
  • Every 24 hours more than 10 Billion flushes are pressed. More than 60 Billion Liters of clean water are used in this flushes. In the same time, more than U$D 350MM are payed in water bills only for flushes. According the toilet manufacturers about 80% of the water consumption of a toilet, it is just to eliminate urine.

In the future, as freshwater becomes an evermore precious resource, the challenge will not only be for event organizers but also for hotels and restaurants.

Sustainable Tourism: Water Usage in US Hotels
Source: Fix.com Blog

Learn more:

What?

Identify the number of toilets you need, depending on the number of participants to your event. Think about the most pertinent locations to install them.

Get help: it’s recommended (even more if you’re new to the topic) to call on professional provider’s services that will ensure proper management. If not cleaned, and disposed of safely, composting toilets can be counterproductive both for the image of your event/company and the natural environment.

What is a composting toilet?

It is a toilet without water or product supply which is designed to be transported and for which
the materials produced are then processed by composting in order to be valorized in agriculture.

Example for a 1000 participants festival:

  • Install 2 to 4 toilets, 2 to 6 urinals, 1 cabin for disabled people.
  • Hire at least 2 skilled people to be in charge and manage (which implies a higher ratio if you’re working with untrained volunteers).

Estimate the amount of water and contamination you could avoid by placing composting toilets.
Read our article Measure and estimate your waste reduction progress.

Also, do not flush in the toilets weedkiller or fertilizer residues, waste oils, paintings, etc… See our article about chemical waste.

#1 Build
composting toilets

You can build your own composting toilets and urinals: fixed in a hotel/ecolodge, or mobile for events.

Possible if: you  follow some rules regarding visual and sound intimity, containers, maintenance, communication, accessibility. Dry toilets is not about a cabin with curtains and a hole in the ground. Don’t forget to put bins so that menstrual protections, cups or condoms are not mixed with feces. Prepare enough containers that can be both carried and closed hermetically.

Save money: in the long term on water cost for a hotel/ecolodge. Building them can be cheaper than renting them: if you’ll need for a long period of time. Also you’ll be able to reuse or lend them afterwards.

Differentiate yourself: you can personalize the toilets or use second hand material to build it. It is an opportunity for do it together with your community through workshops.

Cost money: it takes time and will not necessarily ends up as the cheapest option. It does not prevent cost regarding maintenance, having sufficient papers and dry carbon.

Requires know-how: you’ll need to train your staff on how to manage them, Structures that you build yourself might not meet criterias regarding hygiene, accessibility.

Suppliers

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Examples

  • Watch this video to get inspired about why and how Black Sheep Inn Ecolodge (in Ecuador) built and manages composting toilets… and even make it an experiential attraction for their guests!
toilettes sèches en bois
Exemples de toilettes sèches DIY

#2 Rent mobile toilets
– for events –

There are companies and NGO sell packages including rental, maintenance, communication and safe disposal, or only some of the above services.

Possible if: you contact them with enough anticipation so that they can provide enough structures and workforce.

Easy to implement and guests’ satisfaction: you can offer premium experience to your users and require far less workforce and much less stress. They will take care of safe disposal and bring appropriate infrastructures.

Costs money: but your events participants, local community and nature will thank you!

Suppliers

  • Goldeimer offers composting toilets solutions for events and festivals. Based in Germany, this company is also on a social mission to give access to basic sanitary needs in developing countries. Their online store also offers ecological toilet product for online purchasing.

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#3 Buy composting toilets

Dry toilets is not necessarily temporary, it can be relevant for hospitality industry and have high comfort and hygiene standards.

Possible if: you ask for a quote that will match your local context, users and resources if you do not use the same “low tech” approach as for temporary toilets.

Save money: by preventing you from engaging expenses into sanitation infrastructures (if you’re building your hotel from scratch) and you’ll also save water costs.

Differentiate yourself: it can be part of your concept and your guests’ experience.

Costs money: can be costly to buy and maintain, also more puzzling and demanding for employees to maintain.

Examples

  • Composting toilets are not only for events organizers or ecolodges located in the nature! Alter’hostel, located in the city of Lyon, in France, is a good example: they have made a test by implementing and managing one composting toilet. They explain: “At the beginning of their stay travelers are usually curious, but also a bit worried. Staying at the hostel is then the opportunity to try it. Usually people change their behavior and finally adopt it! We’re estimating saving around 100 000 liters of water every year. If you want more informations about the toilet model, find Ecodoméo on the Internet: it’s french, easy to fix and useful!”
  • Watch this video (in spanish) to get inspired about how Yachana Lodge (in Ecuador) bought and set up a composting toilet system:
  • Discover and compare the different types of possible composting toilets systems (in french):
Comparatif des différents types de toilettes sèches

Suppliers

  • Ecodoméo supplies dry toilets for domestic use. Using dry toilets reduces water consumption by 15 000 liters per year per person, while providing compost for gardening needs.

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#4 Proper disposal of human feces

If you intent to manage yourself the feces and urines, there are basic sanitary rules to follow.

Possible if: you have containers and vehicles to transport it. You must find a spot to compost or methanize it according to sanitation rules.

Easy to implement: you can easily find local spots if you are in a rural area.

 

Requires anticipation: It is forbidden and ecologically dangerous to just burry or evacuate it in a field or in the gutter. If it is a big festival you must bring it to infrastructures that match environmental criteria. Transport can be tricky. Festival toilet outputs have poor agronomic value, it is recommended to mix it with other compostable material.

Suppliers

In France, the RAE (Réseau d’Assainissement Écologique) gathers a wide network of actors focusing on finding alternatives to the classic toilet and its water use problematic and also new uses for the organic waste produced.

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#5 Limit the volume of water flushed

– Install a two-speed flush (saving 45 to 60%).
– Place a brick or bottle filled with water in the toilet tank
to save the equivalent of the volume of the object each time the flush is drawn (saving 45 to 60%).
Reuse rainwater for flushing.

Possible if: –

Save money!

Cost money: initial cost to install the system, but quickly profitable.

Suppliers

  • Fluidmaster offers easy to install dual flush system for classic toilets. Using this dual flush system permits indeed to reduce water consumption by 45%.
  • Coming from Brazil, Piipee will help you discover alternatives to flush, and how to save tons of water: Piipee releases a powerfull liquid which is an exclusive biodegradable solution, eco-friendly,and that works specifics for urine. It removes the smell, changes the color, sanitizes and gives a good smell, without using water.

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Piipee system to avoid water waste

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“Tackling waste in tourism & events”

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