Envirolet Buzz | Composting Toilet Reviews, Photos, News, Tips and more

April 2005 Archives

Friday, April 29, 2005
Envirolet

We Want Your Photos or Video

Posted by Scott

Do you own an Envirolet®?

Well, we would love to hear your Envirolet® testimonial see some photos or video of your installation. If the photos are good, we will post on Buzz and/or envirolet.com®. We would prefer digital photos.

Send photos to buzz@enviroletbuzz.com. Send as many as you want and please include comments as well!

For your trouble, we will give you a free starter kit or jar of compost accelerator.

Call toll-free 1-800-387-5126 (USA) or 1-800-387-5245 (Canada) or email for details.

Note: This offer has expired. Be sure to check out the latest offer.



Thursday, April 28, 2005
Cottage & Cabin

Cottage & Cabin Season

Posted by Scott

Spring is here and that means cottage and cabin season is about to start or already has, depending on where you are.

Envirolet® users should be prepared by picking up their seasonal accessories, such as a new Premix Starter Kit or a jar of Compost Accelerator. Call to order (see numbers below) or go online. You can find the country/area specific web sites on the right hand side menu bar in the Links section.

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It’s also not a bad idea to check that all the electrical components (fans, heater) in your 12v or 120v system are working properly. Remember, electrical components are under a 4 year warranty from the time of purchase. Call and speak to a technical rep if you have any questions.

If this is going to be the first time that you have emptied your new composting toilet don’t be nervous, you can do it! And please don’t hesitate to give us a call for assistance.

Call us to order or to speak to a customer service rep:

• USA 1-800-387-5126
• Canada 1-800-387-5245
• Everywhere Else 416-299-4818



Wednesday, April 27, 2005
Cool

Ecoist Bags

Posted by Scott

Want to be stylish and tread-lightly while doing it? Check out Ecoist handbags.

Ecoist handbags are made from recycled snack bags, candy wrappers, food packages, and soft drink labels.

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Huge amounts of excess materials are discarded worldwide due to printing defects or discontinued candy lines. The folks at Ecoist recycle these wasted materials by giving them a new life as a wonderful looking and useful bag.

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Marisa Rey is the artist and designer behind the entire line of Ecoist handbags. Her inspiration came from her travels in Mexico and her interest in creating products from recycled materials.

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The bags are available in purse or handbag style or in a basket and range in price from about $27 to $285 US. Each bag is a unique one-of-a-kind piece so if you see one you want you better get it right away or it might be gone!

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As an eco-friendly bonus, they plant one tree for everybag purchased with the help of Global ReLeaf!

Learn more at ecoist.com.



Wednesday, April 27, 2005
Composting Toilets

Composting Toilets 101

Posted by Scott

We thought we would add some basic inforation about composting toilet systems. This is taken from Composting Toilet World and provides some very insightful info on compost toilets. It is a great read for those brand new to the concept of composting toilets.

Composting Toilet World is an advocate for the the use of composting toilets worldwide.

Composting Toilets Explained
Source: Composting Toilet World

Many people now know about composting toilets, particularly those in the alternative movement who are quite familiar with composting in their gardens, and who understand the advantages of recycling and simplification of our needs.

But to the many others who have not really thought about where their sewage goes after flushing, the thought of composting your own wastes is a little uncomfortable. Objectionable questions are fired at you when you first introduce the concept to someone, and many persons leave the subject still thinking that a composting toilets is a old pit toilet, remembered unpleasantly from camping trips.

Well, composting toilets are far from being pit toilets! They range from simple twin chamber designs through to advanced systems with rotating tynes, temperature and moisture probes and electronic control systems.

They are effective biological converters of human and household “wastes”, saving money and energy for the person and community and starting the regeneration of the planets environment that is long overdue.

This will give you a basic introduction.

WHAT ARE THEY?

Composting toilets are toilet systems which treat human waste by composting and dehydration to produce a useable end-product that is a valuable soil additive.

They come in a variety of models and brand names as well as different shapes and designs to enhance the natural composting process.

They use little or no water, are not connected to expensive sewage systems, cause no environmental damage and produce a valuable resource for gardening.

The systems can be broadly divided into two different types:

BATCH SYSTEMS
With the batch systems, a container is filled and then replaced with an empty container. The composting process is completed inside the sealed container. The system may have a single, replaceable container. Or it may be a carousel system where 3 or 4 containers are mounted on a carousel and a new container is spun into the toilet area when the other is full. After a full cycle is complete, the first container is fully composted and ready for emptying.

CONTINUAL PROCESS SYSTEMS
These systems are in a constant state of composting. “Deposits” are put into the system, composting reduces the volume and moves it downward where it is harvested after 6-12 months as fully composted material.

All systems are designed to treat the “deposits” by composting, worm processing, micro and macro - organism breakdown, and by dehydration and evaporation of moisture.

There are a wide variety of systems including:

  • Manufactured home or cottage use systems. (Like Envirolet®!)
  • Manufactured, large tank, inclined base models suitable for heavy loadings.
  • Owner-built, two chamber mouldering systems that are basic, but effective.
  • Owner-built from concrete blocks and concrete inclined base. Constructed in with the house foundations.
  • Wide variety of small units which fit into existing bathrooms. Many have dehydration fans and heaters.
  • Vacuum flush unit for production of worm castings.
  • Full flush systems with centrifugal action to deposit wastes into composting chamber.

New technologies and products, as well as over 30 years experience is now setting the scene for a major expansion of composting toilets throughout the world.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE PRESENT SEWAGE AND SEPTIC SYSTEMS?

Besides pit toilets, present toilet systems are either “sewered systems” or on-site “septic or mini-treatment systems”. Both are based on the principle of using water to transfer the “wastes” to a treatment system. Whether this is a septic tank just outside the house, or a sewage treatment plant 10 miles away, both must treat a large volume of raw effluent.

This historical use of water to “cleanse” away the toilet wastes is where the first problem occurs.

Raw sewage starts to break down by a process that utilises oxygen within the water.

Once this oxygen has been used up, the breakdown of sewage is changed to microorganisms that perform anaerobic (non-oxygen) respiration.

The byproducts of anaerobic respiration are nutrient-rich effluent and flammable methane and other foul smelling gases. This is the traditional smell associated with septic tanks and sewage treatment plants.

In many cases around the world, untreated effluent is left to run down natural streams and rivers into lakes and oceans. The high nutrient value of the effluent causes algal blooms in these waterways, which as they die and are decomposed by microbes which use up the dissolved oxygen in the water. This in turn reduces dissolved oxygen levels which kills marine animals. The effects can be quite devastating up the marine food chain.

The production of effluent brings us to our second major problem. This is the mixing of industrial and agricultural effluents with human effluent.

Human effluent could be treated and reused as agricultural sludge and liquid fertiliser, but the addition of toxic byproducts from industry produces questionable quality effluents and sludge’s. This wastes valuable nutrient resources.

A third problem is associated with these nutrient “Resources”. There is a massive nutrient leak occurring at present in our societies. Fertiliser nutrients are mined from fossil and guano reserves and manufactured into fertilisers which are applied on agricultural lands. From here it leaks in two ways.

First, unused fertilisers run down into streams and river and are lost into lakes and oceans.

Second, food crops and animal farming takes nutrients away as farm products. These are transferred to us as the food we eat. From there they become sewage wastes and ultimately end up causing pollution in lakes and oceans. In the future, we will find that are reserves of natural fertilisers will diminish, and we have to start recycling the nutrients that we have in the systems at present.

The waste of another natural resource, clean water, is our fourth problem. Building expensive dams, piping water hundreds of miles, treating it with expensive processes, and then using 40% of this treated water to flush away a small quantity of human byproducts is utter madness.

The massive costs of infrastructures such as dams and sewage systems is causing financial burdens for many families, particularly in cities, where the money would be better spent on solving social problems.

Overall, the present system of treating “humanure” is a wasteful and expensive burden on our communities and the environment. To reverse this system, and build a sustainable systems of “waste” re-utilisation is possible using systems such as composting toilets.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?

The advantages of natural waste treatment systems are many and varied. The following section shows the benefits of the system in comparison to existing waterborne waste treatment systems. These benefits improve conditions for the individual, the community and the environment. An understanding of how your system benefits the individual and the community will help you to maintain it and confidently explain it to others.

BENEFITS TO THE HOUSEHOLDER

Water Use Reduction (20 -50%) A significant savings in water storage will result if the household is not on reticulated water supply. Combine this with wastewater re-utilisation in irrigation and other household water reduction techniques and water storage costs can be cut by up to 60%.

Shock Loading Capacity Loading shock for large gatherings is achieved easily with correctly sized composting toilet systems.

Odor Problems Reduced The suction air flow in most composting toilets takes toilet and bathroom odor out of the room and acts like a constant extraction fan.

Lower Household Maintenance Costs Sewage rates and water rates (metered) can be in the order of $500 per year, a significant cost. This will only increase if the demand for sewage system upgrading increases. Other on-site systems have annual maintenance costs that are obligatory. Local authorities will be increasingly paying rebates to households who own composting toilets.

End Product Recycled While only small in amount, the solid end product is a valuable humic fertiliser that can be utilised around trees and gardens.

Reduced Greywater Loading Where composting toilets are installed instead of septic and mini-treatment systems, there is a large reduction in the “loading” on the effluent treatment system by the removal of “blackwater”. Smaller, less maintenance, greywater systems are possible.

Independence A household with a composting system is independent from potential problems of the waterborne sewage system. If future water shortage or system backup problems occur with conventional systems, there is not much that you can do personally about it. On-site composting systems are much more flexible, they are easier to fix and have less damage potential if operated incorrectly.

Recycling The composting toilet possesses the ability to recycle much of your household waste. Food scraps, paper, lawn clippings and grease from you grease traps and greywater systems can be composted back through the toilet. If you choose to put in a reed bed greywater systems, the annual clippings can also be composted. There is no wastage in this system.

Unusual Sites Composting toilets can be installed in many different situations which would not accommodate other systems. Rocky sites, high water table, no water storage, environmentally sensitive, close to running watercourses, and swampy ground. All these difficult site situations can be accommodated with a small amount of alteration to the basic system design.

Together with the personal benefits of the composting toilet there are overall benefits to the society and the environment.

BENEFITS TO THE ENVIRONMENT AND TO THE COMMUNITY

Water Use A reduction in water use allows the large capital costs of dams and reservoirs to be spread over a greater population. It also enables decentralised water sources to be used.

Reduced Marine Pollution Nutrient load on streams and rivers is almost negligible. This results in more oxygen being available in the water and a return to improved activity of marine life.

Pollution Detected Quickly Without sewage systems to flush away wastes, It would be easier to ascertain where toxic wastes are being leaked into watercourses. Industry would be more willing to rectify these problems if it were easier to identify the sources.

Damage limited Miscalculation in individual composting systems has a much smaller impact than the same mistake in a large centralised system. It is also easier to rectify and return to normal operation.

Flexibility of Planning Composting toilet systems are built only when the need arises. The high headwork and treatment costs of conventional sewage systems must be borne by the community ahead of development. If development does not go as planned, then money is wasted.

Less Environmental Impact Compared to sewage systems, on-site composting and greywater treatment has less impact on the environment; * Large effluent releases into watercourses and oceans are avoided. * Disruption to soils systems through pipeline installation is eliminated. * Leakage of raw sewage into groundwater through pipe deterioration and breakage is eliminated.

Flexibility in Estate Planning By eliminating the planning constraints of the sewage system underground piping and infrastructure, housing developments can be designed with more emphasis on environmental and social considerations, rather than how best to situate the blocks to make pipes run straighter.

For such a simple technology, the benefits to the individual and to the community are quite amazing!

Courtesy of Composting Toilet World.



Wednesday, April 27, 2005
Envirolet

Buying an EnviroletĀ®

Posted by Scott

Getting your Envirolet® Composting Toilet System is easy!

We manufacture and market Envirolet® factory direct to any location in the world.

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Making Envirolet® available direct from us makes it a lot easier for you the consumer. There is one source for everyhting you need.

Plus, our Envirolet® customer service reps are well-trained and very experienced. They talk about Envirolet® all day! Envirolet® is our focus, unlike in a dealer situation where they represent hundreds or thousands of products and do not have the time to truly learn how a product works.

Here are the web sites to go to learn more about Envirolet® or to purchase:

* Envirolet® USA

* Envirolet® Canada

* Envirolet® Europe

Those of you located outside of North America or Europe, please visit envirolet.com to order or for more info.



Tuesday, April 26, 2005
Green Gadgets

Ban the Gas

Posted by Scott

Just a quick reminder of how you can make a big difference this summer.

Trade in that old gas lawn mower and get yourself a non-electric push reel mower. That’s right, get rid of the convenience and power of your gas guzzling mower and start using an old-fashioned push lawn mower.

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Comfort 38 FreeSpin

Why would you trade in the comforts of modern technology for a more simple approach? Well push mowers use no gas or electricity. That’s benefit numero uno. That means you aren’t burning fossil fuels to mow your lawn.

Here is a more detailed list of reasons to switch to push from envirolet.com:

  • In one hour of operation, a conventional gas lawn mower (two-stroke) pollutes as much as 40 new cars. Just imagine how much pollution is being created in a typical suburb on a summer weekend!

  • There is no gasoline spillage with a push mower because gas is not used! Lots of gas is spilled every day by those using gasoline mowers, which is dangerous, smelly and terrible for the environment.

  • Push lawn mowers are quiet. No noisy motors!

  • Push lawn mowers are easy & safe to use.

  • Push lawn mowers are inexpensive and you never have to buy gas or pay for electricity. Once you buy your mower you’re done.

One thing not on the list is that a push reel mower actually cuts your grass better. Instead of tearing the grass, like a gas mower does, it nicely snips the grass like a pair of scissors. Also, using a push mower is a great form of exercise.

You can get your mower from a number of places:

So, get your push mower for this summer and I bet you can convert all of your neighbours to go non-electric!



Tuesday, April 26, 2005
Buzz Word

Brand New Buzz

Posted by Scott

Buzz has a brand new look! We hope you enjoy the new site and find it easier to navigate. We now have a set of categories to find stuff and it’s easier to leave comments.

If you haven’t already, be sure to subscribe with your favourite news reader or syndication service.



Friday, April 22, 2005
Environment

Happy Earth Day!

Posted by Scott

Compost something today!



Monday, April 18, 2005
Ban the Flush

Push to Flush

Posted by Scott

They aren’t quite banning the flush or installing composting toilets, but it’s a step in the right direction.

College flush with saved water: “Some students were beginning to wonder if the toilets at Cascadia Community College were possessed.

Sanitary seat covers would be whisked away before one could use them. Slight movements would spark premature flushes. And the blame couldn’t be pinned solely on a full moon. A black sweater would be enough to set the toilet whooshing.

‘Even if there’s no one in the stall, they’ll go off - just walking past,’ said student Kristen Bell, 17. ‘It’s just unnecessary.’

Cascadia administrators agreed and turned off the automatic sensors, urging students and staff to instead push a button to flush toilets.

A year later, the ‘Push to Flush’ campaign has saved more than the frazzled nerves of many posteriors.

Over an eight-month period starting in May 2004, the college saved 177,276 gallons of water compared with the same period in 2003, according to water bills.

At 1.6 gallons per flush, that’s 110,797 fewer bowls of water down the drain, enough to run the Cascadia campus for two-and-a-half months, or seven households for a year.”

Via Heraldnet.



Thursday, April 14, 2005
Energy

U-M students in national competition building home of the future

Posted by Scott

House of the Future: “University of Michigan architecture senior Jim Kumon is sure he’s part of a team building a house of the future, the kind that will likely become the norm as his young career progresses.

Starting this month, Kumon and a team of more than 50 students are building a 700-square-foot solar-powered house using commonly available materials that can handle the basic power needs of a small home as well as a small car. By fall, they’ll have to move it to the mall in Washington, D.C. and re-assemble the whole thing in four days and make it all work.”


“We wouldn’t want people to say ‘That’s a neat idea but I wouldn’t want to live there,’” Kumon said. “This is the type of building that will become the standard. It’s just a better way to build. We have a passion about this because it’s a student-led effort.”

The Michigan Solar House Project, or MiSo, is U-M’s entry as one of 18 competitors in a national solar house contest sponsored by the U.S. Energy Department [2005 Solar Decathalon]. They’ll be tested on this, not in the sunny days of summer, but in October when sunny skies are harder to come by. And at the end of the weeklong contest, each team is required to have more energy stored up than they had when they started. The prize is a trophy and bragging rights.”

The Solar Decathalon is a great competition. The houses have to be moved to the Washington Mall, re-assembled and be powered for 1 week.

A 12v Envirolet® Composting Toilet System is being used by the University of Colorado, who is also in the competitionand are the defending champions. So look out U-M!

Via University of Michigan News.



Monday, April 11, 2005
Envirolet

Just add Envirolet, not water

Posted by Scott


Save the lake water at your cottage or cabin this year with an Envirolet® Composting Toilet System.

Envirolet® Systems use little or no water. That’s right, there are waterless systems. 100% waterless.

But, this means the bowl must get dirty, right? No! The bowls in Envirolet® waterless systems are designed to stay clean. And, they can be removed for periodic cleaning.

The bowl removed from the Envirolet® Waterless Toilet

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Wednesday, April 6, 2005
Toilets & Sanitation

Looking for a toilet?

Posted by Scott

If you’re going to Australia any time soon and need a public restroom, look no further than the The National Public Toilet Map. Hopefully, you have your PDA or laptop with you.

This is a entire site dedicated to helping you find a public toilet. You can enter in important requirements like your sex and if you need a wheelchair accessible restroom and it will point you to the closest toilet.

The site boasts that it has over 9000 registered toilets. Each has very detailed information. For example, toilets at the Australian National Botanic Gardens are for both sexes (of course) and are wheelchair accessible. They also feature:

• baby changing facilities • sharps disposal • water that is suitable for drinking • and more…

There is a lot more info such as the fact that this location is located at Lat -35.2783, Long 149.1088!



Wednesday, April 6, 2005
Ban the Flush

It wasn't supposed to be this popular

Posted by Scott

When we created the Ban the Flush! trucker hat it was more designed to be a fun project to celebrate the history of Envirolet®.

“Ban the Flush!” was one of our first slogans back in 1977. We sell waterless toilets so we wanted to “ban the flush.” Get it!?

Well it seems that many of your out there see the hat as fashion statement (with an important message, of course) because sales are booming!

Only $12.00

We designed the hat and added it to the Envirolet® Gear shop. Well, it still is the only item in the Envirolet® Gear shop…but that’s another story — more items will be added to the Envirolet® Gear collection soon!

Get your Ban the Flush! trucker hat today and spread the message!



Tuesday, April 5, 2005
Installations

Composting in the UK

Posted by Scott

This Envirolet® enjoys quite a view! An Envirolet® DC12 (12v Battery) Composting Toilet System provides the toilet solution for a guard post along the coast in the UK.

The Envirolet® “posing” for a photo shoot before installtion.

Hopefully they will add some privacy!

Installed with the trademark Wind Turbine on top.

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Monday, April 4, 2005
Cottage & Cabin

The Show

Posted by Scott

Well, the 2005 Spring Cottage Life Show ended on Sunday. It was a long, long weekend, but well worth it!

We met many current customers and added lots of new Envirolet® customers! This was our most successful consumer show ever, even though overall show attendance was down slightly.

A lot of visitors reported that they only came to the show to see us. That is really great to hear. We love meeting you.

Kick the Tires A lot of customers come to see because they may have only seen Envirolet® on the web or in a catalog. They want to “kick the tires.” We welcome this, literally! Envirolet® Systems feature a Lifetime Warranty on the body so they can take it.

A Time to Compare The show allowed many customers who are still comparing models to see how durable and thick the Envirolet® system body is compared to others. There truly is a big difference.

Another major feature that comparison shoppers could see is the high air flow rate in Envirolet® Systems. We are more than willing to demonstrate you how powerful our dual fan operated systems are. The two powerful fans in Envirolet® 12v and 120v systems help circulate air in the system as part of our patented Automatic Six-Way Aeration process. They also prevent inside odors by creating a strong negative pressure in the toilet seat area. Ask others to show you the air draw in their systems.

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Friday, April 1, 2005
Cottage & Cabin

From the show floor...

Posted by Scott

Thank you to everyone who has visited us at the Cottage Life Show so far. Day one, Friday, was very very busy. We talked to lots of great people and there are many new Envirolet® Systems that are going to be finding new homes in cottages in Ontario this summer!

There are still two more days left to come down and see us!

I hope to be able to post some pictures soon.