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?