Recycle your old toilet
Although many towns and regions have toilet recycling services, many still don't. As replacing older toilets with high-efficiency and dual flush models grows increasingly common, more municipalities will join the toilet recycling movement. Although markets do exist now to make use of the material, additional development is needed to make toilet recycling more affordable on a larger scale.
How to recycle your toilet
Recycling your toilet may require a few phone calls to find out what organization will take it from you. And if all else fails, see if you can't reuse it for your own purposes.
- Call your city's recycling center to see if a toilet recycling program exists in your area.
- Call your city's solid waste service provider to ask if toilets left at the curb or brought to the dump will be recycled.
- If you've got a green thumb, you can transform your old toilet into a wonderful planter.
One final note: before you recycle your toilet, you may have to remove any parts that aren't porcelain and dispose of them separately.
Recycling your toilet helps you go green because...
- It keeps the porcelain out of landfills, saving space.
- It can be used to create other materials so they don't have to be manufactured anew.
Toilets are made of porcelain, which is generally comprised of clay, among other materials. Porcelain products can often be ground down and used to make new porcelain items. Recycled toilet porcelain makes an excellent porous drainage material. It's a good substitute for gravel and can also be used as road base in state highways.
Crushed toilets and other porcelain items were used to shape artificial oyster reefs in the Chesapeake Bay instead of the traditional oyster shells. Environmentalists came upon this idea to revive native oyster populations following decades of disease, pollution, and habitat loss in the region. However, transporting the toilets and other porcelain goods proved to be more expensive than transporting the shells, so this method likely won't catch on until it becomes cheaper.
- Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay - Bay Journal: Cast-off toilets flush with oysters after two years
- H2ouse.org - Toilet Disposal and Recycling
- Home By Sunset - Architecture: Thousands Tour Green Prefab: The bathroom sink in this house was made from pulverized toilet porcelain.
- EcoCycle - City of Boulder, CO, Center for Hard-to-Recycle Materials (CHaRM): Now accepts toilet, sink, and urinal porcelain for recycling starting Nov. 15, 2007.
- Paper Trail - Crushed Porcelain Toilets
- Plant Answers - Potty-O-Gardening
- ToiletTankLids.com and ThisOldToilet.com