San Francisco Working on Plan To Install Composting Public Toilets

by , 12/19/11

Composting toilet, San Francisco, compost, public restroom, water efficient, off-grid, California, Bay Area,

San Francisco has a poop problem – in the city’s Tenderloin district alone, there were almost 10,000 recorded “incidents of human waste” last year, according to the Bay Citizen. So this fall, the Oakland-based design firm Hyphae Design Laboratory offered a solution: install portable composting toilets that are both easy on the environment and cheap, because they don’t need electrical or plumbing inputs. Hyphae is currently working on a prototype which is set to debut in the Tenderloin next year.

Composting toilet, San Francisco, compost, public restroom, water efficient, off-grid, California, Bay Area, Hyphae Design Laboratory,

The idea was first floated in September, and it appears to be gaining some momentum. The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission recently published a report that looked at the viability of using composting toilets for public restrooms, and it found that the toilets don’t smell. However, the commission didn’t give the idea its full endorsement. “I don’t want to say it’s not possible, but we also have to think about these other challenges,” commission spokesman Tyrone Jue told the SF Examiner, noting that health and safety issues still need to be addressed.

Because they aren’t connected to the sewer system, composting toilets can be located anywhere, and when used properly, solid waste is turned into nutrient-rich compost. When Hyphae Design Laboratory unveiled its concept in September, the preliminary design included ultraviolet lights to destroy germs, and the walls of the unit would be translucent to discourage illegal activity. Some of the logistics still need to be ironed out, but the Tenderloin could get its first composting toilet next summer.

+ Hyphae Design Laboratory

Lead photo © Sustainable Sanitation

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  1. kweden December 30, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    Love the idea! This has been working in developing countries as well and would be great for agriculture as well as the environment.

  2. arautoglass December 24, 2011 at 3:04 am

    Indeed a very nice post. I also came form Auto Glass Removal, window replacement, Door Side Vent industry. I am your regular post reader and I love to enjoy reading fresh post on this subject. Thanks.

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