I just got back from the wettest spot on Earth, Kauai’s Mount Waialeale. Having been told that it’s the prettiest and greenest of Hawaiian Islands, I expected the flora and fauna to be out of this world. It was. However, something utterly mundane impressed me so much more, a composting toilet at Limahuli Garden .
Having written an entire chapter on plumbing fixtures for my book Green Interior Design, I know quite a bit about composting toilets. But reading about them and seeing them in pristine showrooms was altogether different than actually using one. Walking into the small, public bathroom at Limahuli, I immediately noticed the toilet and a friendly sign posted above it (instructions for use). I confess, visions , and worse, smells, of outhouses danced in my head. Getting ready to lift the lid, I braced myself for “the stank”. The stank never happened. On an 87 degree, humid, sunny day in a public bathroom that had no air conditioning, IT DIDN’T SMELL… AT ALL.
I live in Southern California, literally a desert , where we import billions of gallons of expensive, fresh water from thousands of miles away. Composting toilets do the job without a drop of water. I’m thinking if the wettest spot on Earth finds the composting method useful, shouldn’t we start installing these in every public space in our arid state?