04/10/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

How Toilet Flushing Can Create Zero Waste Poop

trained catThe next time you need to do a number two, be sure to stop by the Bronx Zoo, sit on their eco loo, and watch your human poo slide down the toilet OOOH -- without water!

Foam, not water, helps your waste drop from one of 14 composting toilets into a subterranean organic tank of goo -- constructed two years ago as part of a renovation project at a cost of $1.6 million.

The Zoo's restrooms also include graywater systems and daylighting -- and represent a case study in zero waste, as this video indicates:

You've heard of zero waste, right? Newsweek called it the #1 earthly fix of 2008 where the goal is not merely to recycle, reduce, and reuse; but throw away as little as possible. I try my best -- such as armed grocery shopping with canvas tote bags.

Did you know that Massachusetts buries, burns, or exports 53 percent of its waste; that the garbage accumulation is one-third more deep today than 10 years ago; or that one-third is excess waste from packaging? I'm sure other states and provinces are similar.

But times are changing...

I conceived the idea for this blog post after eating at a nearby restaurant and observing with my lunch companion that despite specifying our salads would be "for here," not "to go," they were served in plastic containers. This turned me off, as I indicated on my Yelp review.

I thought about my yelping -- and began googling the concept of zero waste restaurants.

Wouldn't it be great if more restaurants like this one went zero waste, offering cloth napkins, silverware, or at least biodegradable plasticware?

If nothing else, change the restroom plumbing to flush the toilets with gray sink water or foam.

Photo credit: trainedcat @ Flickr

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