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Men should pee sitting down. Now before you call me a strident feminist, let me say that I'm backed up on this one by male colleagues and the reasons aren't what you think. I'm not arguing for toilet equality here. I'm talking about urine-separating toilets, which are much easier to use for men and women when sitting down. The bowl of these toilets takes urine in the front, feces in the back. It's hard enough to aim for the whole bowl (or so the evidence of many bathroom floors tells me), much less the front part of the bowl. One guy put a pee can in the corner, but that seems inefficient: pee in the can, then pour it down the toilet. Why not just pee in the toilet? Why should you care? Because urine contains up to 90% of the nitrogen and 50% of the phosphorous in domestic wastewater. Those chemicals make for great fertilizer — stuff we have to use a lot of energy to produce artificially. In healthy populations, urine is sterile, and removing it from feces makes composting the solids easier and more effective. Two models of these toilets are available in the U.S., both from Ecovita. But before you rush out to buy one and change your life, remember that composting solids and using urine to irrigate your tomatoes isn't legal in most places. You might be able to get special dispensation from the building code folks, but like most things involving wastewater treatment alternatives, it won't be easy. Watch for the coming article in the September issue of EBN. Update - the article is online (members only, though). Urine Separation: The Next Wave of Ecological Wastewater Treatment

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1 In case anyone's wondering, t posted by Allyson on 08/18/2009 at 02:10 pm

In case anyone's wondering, the fabulous illustration came from here:

2 Great notion, but good luck t posted by phick on 09/03/2009 at 10:07 am

Great notion, but good luck training the toddlers on using this one.

3 You didn't mention that EcoVi posted by Robert Riversong on 10/13/2009 at 01:23 pm

You didn't mention that EcoVita also offers a couple of dry urinals (one made by a women's cooperative in Mexico) That's a simpler solution to the problem of mis-firing and back-splash that still allows us men our accustomed pissing posture.

4 "composting solids and using posted by Robert Riversong on 10/13/2009 at 01:12 pm

"composting solids and using urine to irrigate your tomatoes isn't legal in most places"

I don't believe that's true. There are restrictions for use on commercial produce, and even NOFA restricts use of composted humanure on organic farms to woody (rather than leafy) crops, such as fruit trees. And some states require that composted humanure be buried under 6" of soil.

Rather than buying an expensive indoor toilet, a bucket outhouse and a funnel works even better, and gets all the smell and mess out of the house. Several examples are described in this treatise:

And, with the indoor composting toilet that I designed and got approved in Massachusetts, no urine separation is necessary, so much of the nitrogen and phosphorus as well as the moisture is retained in the compost (adding dry, carbonaceuous material is necessary).

5 I can proudly (laughing) say posted by Steve Paisley on 09/21/2009 at 07:25 am

I can proudly (laughing) say I've been doing this--and advocating it--for years. Two ways to make it happen in YOUR home:

ONE--hang a sign saying "setzen Sie sich bitte" (Sit yourself down, please) at 5-1/2 feet off the floor or so, right in front of the toilet. That way, even if males don't speak German, it'll hit them in the head as they try to pee. TWO--rig the lid so it won't stay up. Gluing a rubber duck plastic dinosaur or some such thing to either the top of the lid works pretty well.

Why? Spray. Splash. Dribble. And the occasional misfire, which we all know happens to even the best of us. And the gender equality argument that it is probably (still) mostly women who end up cleaning up messes that are mostly made by men.

A fascinating discussion of the dynamics of urination (and a great read in general) is Alexander Kira's "The Bathroom"-- if you can find a copy. Here's a review:

Oh, and it's quieter, too. :)...

6 i suppose that the same folks posted by Al on 07/11/2010 at 07:20 pm

i suppose that the same folks who think it's normal that there should be departments of "women's studies", think it's normal that people who have aging, expanding prostates, should be forced to try to empty a bladder while seated.

the more stupid things you yabber on about, the less attention we pay to you.....

7 I love this post! Unfortunate posted by Trish Steinley Davis on 09/18/2009 at 08:13 am

I love this post! Unfortunately, I don't believe the concept will ever catch on -- based on a very limited personal survey. Because of often ridiculously high levels of testosterone, men can be very primal. They want to stand and pee -- be ready to flee! They want to be able to look over their shoulder and see more than porcelain. They like the game of aiming, even though a lot of them are duffers. Sigh -- men sitting to pee is a grand -- and leveling, equalizing -- concept. A neat and tidy prospect. But alas, one that I do not see gaining traction in the foreseeable.

8 If you can't beat 'em, join ' posted by Mark Piepkorn on 09/18/2009 at 08:21 am

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. There are a number of products out there for women to use to pee standing up.

(The auto-generated captcha text I need to enter to post this comment is - coincidentally, hilariously, and simply - "i p".)

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