For sustainable society


Saving toilet water with a spray

Water issue relating to a toilet is common in the world. In Africa and the Middle East, where people are suffered from water shortages, there is not enough amount of water used for toilets. Even in developed countries, people are thinking to use less water as much as possible to save water charges. It is better to use less water for toilets; but on the other hand, there is no point unless the dirt is not properly removed.

Is it possible to remove the dirt with a smaller amount of water than before? Researchers at Pennsylvania State University in the United States have developed a special technology to realize it. The team majoring in mechanical engineering focused on the coating technology with spray and succeeded in building a strong water-repellent foundation on a toilet bowl.

The research team has developed a technology to create a coating that repels sticking by applying different types of sprays in two steps. The first spray creates an ultra-thinner hair-like base called “nanohairs.” The second spray is made of silicone oil and will combine with the nanohairs in about five minutes after applying it to the toilet bowl, which will complete coating.

In tests, the team measured its effect by dropping a sticky sample of waste on a plate; they checked how much water was needed to remove the fluorescent dye on the plate.  The result showed that the plate could be cleaned with 90% less water than the one without coating. The team has launched a startup spotLESS Materials and commercialized the spray; the company has already started selling the product on its website for $15 to $20.

On the website, the introduction of “World Toilet Day” on November 19 is highlighted, following the founding story. World Toilet Day is the date of the first World Toilet Organization (WTO) summit. It was born in 2001 with the aim of creating an international day to draw people’s attention to sanitation issues around the world and was officially enacted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2013.

“Ensure access to water and sanitation for all” is set out in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). On the company’s website, how to reduce the amount of water for the toilet is introduced as one of the things we can do. The method is simple: Fill the plastic bottle with some sand or rocks, then fill with water; Cap the bottle, and put it in your tank. These steps can reduce the amount of water for flushing and household wastewater.

Tak-Sing Wong pointed out that more than 141bn liters of fresh water are used to flush toilets each day, which is nearly six times the daily water consumption of Africa. “While millions around the world facing severe water scarcity, I hope that reducing the amount of water used for flushing could help to alleviate the problem,” Wong said.


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