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Outhouse by Seth AndersonThe other day, my sister started talking about “those European and Japanese hotels that have the sinks over the toilets to save water.”  I had never heard of such a thing, but it’s an idea that’s been around for a long time.  It makes a lot of sense–there’s no reason the greywater from handwashing can’t be used to help flush a toilet, and the construction of the combination toilet-and-sink also saves a lot of space.

This is the kind of virtually obvious solution to environmental problems that really pleases me.  I have a hard time understanding why these kinds of measures aren’t already simply standard.  Better yet, I started to think, why not just a composting toilet?  (One factor may be the price–they can start at $1,000 and rocket about $10k.)  And thinking about composting toilets made me remember my experiences with one about five years ago in a cabin in the woods of New Hampshire. (more…)

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