Friday, July 29, 2011

Rebates, Water, and Composting Toilets

Sun-Mar Compact
Composting Toilet
I read recently in the LA Times and on Mashable that Bill Gates is providing $41.5 million to universities in an effort to reinvent or revolutionize the toilet in the third-world. It's a noble and necessary effort. According to Mashable:
40% of the world’s population does not have access to flush toilets. One billion people defecate in the open. Each year, 1.5 million children die each year from diarrhea, many of which are preventable with improved sanitation. 
The foundation is prioritizing convenience and affordability in the solutions it considers. The toilets must be easy to install and cost no more than $0.05 a day to maintain. 
The second paragraph caught my attention. I know of a toilet that is convenient, affordable, easy to install, and costs nearly nothing to maintain. In fact, we sell them at Shelter. They're composting toilets, and they're used in thousands of homes, cabins, and boats.

I have no idea if a composting toilet is ideal for a tropical, desert, or urban third-world environment. I do know that it's not complicated technology, and it's been in use throughout North America for many years.

Every week at Shelter, we're visited by someone who lives on an island with no sewer system or someone with a cabin in the woods, and they're curious about switching from a chemical toilet to a composting toilet. Though, it's not a solution that's only for remote locations. Given the expense (and waste) of flushing water with every use of a toilet, many environmentally conscious homeowners are installing composting systems in their homes.

If you're in the market for a composting toilet, now is a good time to buy. Sun Mar, the maker of our most popular line of composting toilets, is offering a $100 rebate on their Excel NE (non-electric) models until August 20th, 2011. The Excel NE is the perfect composting toilet solution for a rural, off-the-grid location. We also sell a 12-volt fan that can be installed in the vent stack and powered by a marine battery or a solar panel. (The vent keeps the operation odorless.)

Click image above for rebate form (PDF).

In all sincerity, I do hope the efforts of the Gates foundation prove to be successful. If you're interested, watch the YouTube video below about their project. If you're interested in clean water projects in the developing world, check out charity : water.

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