Do toilets go to heaven? by

Toilet –> Tile –> Trendy.

One rarely ponders the life and death of a toilet. Just like some kids ask if dogs go to heaven, I wonder where toilets go when their lifespan is up. For some of them, the answer is a Whole Foods juice bar. Fireclay Tile, a Northern California-based ceramic tile company, uses recycled materials such as porcelain from local used toilets to create its product. According to their website, “All products are handmade within Fireclay’s day-lit, open air factory where the company reuses everything including clays, glazes and waste water.”

toilet1 1024x768 Toilet   > Tile   > Trendy

Ok, pause. Why is going around collecting old toilets and making them into counter tops for yuppies important?

Answer: Throwing away large clunky items like toilets contributes to our problem of overflowing landfills. Instead, we should do everything we can to waste less and reuse more. Turning a toilet into a tile does just that because by reusing the porcelain, Fireclay lowers the amount of pollution that would otherwise be emitted by creating all new material from scratch. Also, the company only uses things it can find from nearby sources which significantly reduces its carbon footprint.

Point is- recycling, reusing, and buying local does not only apply to soda cans, plastic bags, and vegetables. People are creating innovative ways to do their part for the planet all the time using their own unique talents. Cool.


15 Totally Recyclable Materials That Most Of Us Keep Forgetting About

Aerosol Cans
Mostly made of steel (and in certain cases aluminum), various types of disinfectants, hairsprays, paints and shaving creams are typically dispensed from aerosol cans and can be easi…

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Who’s To Blame For The Great Pacific Garbage Patch? Look In The Mirror.

The slowly moving, perpetually undulating mass of pastel and primary colored plastic trash that bobs up and down in the middle of the ocean is perhaps one of the biggest man made eyesores of its …

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The slowly moving, perpetually undulating mass of pastel and primary colored plastic trash that bobs up and down in the middle of the ocean is perhaps one of the biggest man made eyesores of its kind aside from the infinite landfills of rotting post consumer waste that continue to dot our landscape. We’ve seen photos and video footage documenting the existance of this aquatic nightmare and every single one of us probably understands the correlation between our consumer obsession with plastic and what happens when we discard the temporary fixtures of our lives. For years, human beings have purged ships and boats of their excess plastic waste. We’ve conveniently forgotten to clean up after ourselves following long, lazy days at the beach. Countless plastic shopping bags, one-time-use plastic water bottles and beverage caps have been wind-swept from the pavement (where we dropped them) into overflowing sewage systems or carried there following rain storms.


Our rational minds may tell us that a state-sized mass of plastic trash does not belong in the middle of the ocean and our mouths may even fall agape at the sight of hard to fathom images of the chunky plastic buouyant soup. In spite of the shock that may radiate through our systems, every single one of us is to blame for the Great Pacific Garbage Patch’s existance. Scoff if you will. Cling onto the fact that you are a diligent recycler — go ahead and pound your chest while proudly declaring that you gave up bottled water one year ago and that reusable bags are your thing. You can itemize all of the personal efforts you’ve made to positively impact the environment but the bottom line is that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is the result of society’s carelessness, and as a member of the human race, every single one of us is to blame.


There is now so much plastic waste clogging the ocean 1,000 miles north of Hawaii that scientists estimate it is now about twice the size of Texas. This is hardly accidental, unless you consider apathy and outright littering a chronic mistake that has been coincidentally repeated ad nauseum by the large majority of our population. Perhaps it is a symptom of our cultural ignorance or it demonstrates the general lack of regard that humans have for what happens beyond our own small sphere.  How many times have you or someone else you know uttered such phrases as: “I’m too busy.” “It’s not my fault in the first place.” “Let someone else deal with it.” “I’ve never thrown out a single piece of plastic in my life, so don’t look at me.” “There’s no recycling service in my neck of the woods.” “I don’t live in the middle of the ocean, so why should I care?”


 Not only is it our problem, we’ve got to stop passing the buck and presuming that someone else will take care of this mess. It may be unreasonable to suggest that everyone should start paddling out into the middle of the ocean on their weekends and dragging as much plastic trash as they can back to the mainland for proper recycling — that job is perhaps best left to marine scientists who must figure out how on Earth they can resolve this ecological problem as effectively as possible. In the meantime, we can’t allow these images to fade from our minds because they serve to remind us that our daily eco-friendly efforts can make a huge difference. Stay away from non-recyclable plastic products and make sure that every single piece of plastic that does enter your household leaves in a recycling container or is repurposed in a responsible manner. Pick up plastic “junk” that is discarded in public places and relocate it to a proper recycling bin. Shift your household over to more eco-friendly alternatives such as glass, wood and ceramic. Stop thinking that recycling one bag or cap is not going to make a difference. Clearly, it all adds up over time…just take a good long look at what is clogged in the middle of the ocean for all the proof that you’ll ever need.

The Top 10 Facts About the Great Pacific Garbage Patch:

  1. Each year, 10% of the 200 billion pounds of plastic produced globally ends up in our oceans and now, roughly 46,000 pieces of plastic litter are floating on every square mile of the ocean.
  2. A 1,700 mile mass of plastic garbage sits in the middle of the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre, a slowly moving, clockwise spiral of ocean currents.
  3. The gyre actually consists of two large masses of ever-accumulating trash, the Western Pacific patch (located east of Japan and west of Hawaii) and the Eastern Pacific patch (floating between Hawaii and California).
  4. Both zones form what is referred to as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and they are connected by a thin 6,000-mile long current called the Subtropical Convergence Zone.
  5. The mass moves seasonally as much as a thousand miles North and South in the Pacific while in warmer El Nino periods, it drifts even further South.
  6. Approximately 3.5 million tons of plastic waste can be found in this water-bound waste zone.
  7. 90 percent of all trash floating in the world’s oceans is plastic-based and some of the most common items found in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch include toothbrushes, wrappers, bottle caps, plastic shopping bags, pacifiers, old toys, fishing floats, soda bottles, Styrofoam chunks, tangled nets and even patio chairs.
  8. The plastic pieces in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch contain toxic elements able to absorb other chemicals such as DDT and PCBs, and these components can persist in the environment for decades.
  9. 100,000 marine mammals each year — such as sea turtles, seals and birds — are the victims of plastic trash-related deaths because they consume or become entangled in the waste.
  10. There are up to six pounds of marine litter for every pound of plankton in the ocean.

Red, White, Blue and…Green?

Red, White, Blue and…Green?

Posted using ShareThis by Rebecca Lacko, LA Parenting Examiner

Put a little green in your red, white and blue celebration

This Fourth of July weekend, Americans will light up more than 60 million barbecues and will roast about 150 million hot dogs and 890 million pounds of chicken and red meat. A yummy prospect for most picnickers, but consider that, according to Jason Green, coordinator for St. Petersburg College’s Office for Sustainability, “A typical party of 30 guests can create 80 pounds of waste.”

Not only is paper waste an environmental concern, but as Green reports, “It’s estimated that Americans using their grills will create the same amount of carbon dioxide as if 2,300 acres of forest were burnt.”

Think it ends with paper waste and CO2 emmissions? Think again. Fireworks contain potassium perchlorate, which gets into the soil, air and water and causes damage to the thyroid gland. Other ingredients include such heavy metals as barium and copper, which are toxic.

Party Like an Independent American, AND Minimize Damage to the Environment!

What are the best ways to celebrate the holiday season in an environmentally friendly way? Here are some ideas:

  • For July 4 parties, use real plates, silverware and cloth napkins and stay away from paper napkins, disposable paper plates and plastic utensils. If you must use disposable plates, buy plates that are biodegradable. Did you know that  disposable plates are now available that are made from corn, potato and sugar-cane pulp?
  • Throw a potluck party to share resources and carpool.
  • Prepare meals and desserts with locally-grown organic ingredients and free-range, grass-fed meats and poultry. (Bonus: they’re much more delicious!)
  • Balance your meat dishes with more sustainable vegetable-based items. Potato salad, anyone?
  • Provide recycling bins for glass bottles, cans and plastic — A must-do!
  • When BBQ-ing, use natural gas grills — they pollute less than charcoal grills. To make matters worse, over-charring meat produces toxic chemicals in the food itself.
  • Don’t shoot off polluting fireworks at home; instead, go to one of the city- or county-sponsored events.
  • Make your own natural insect repellent! Frequently reapply basic essential oils like lavender, rosemary and cedar wood. These oils can trick insects into thinking you’re a plant.
  • If you must use a DEET-based insect repellent, choose products with less than 20% DEET. Never apply over cuts or wounds; never apply on infants or if you are taking any medications; don’t spray in enclosed areas; and wash skin with soap and water after use.
  • Use environmentally-friendly cleaning products and cloths or micro fiber rags to clean up after the party.

    For more info: Learn more about the sustainable | SPC initiative

Recycle in Georgia

I Recycle in Georgia supports a statewide campaign to change misperceptions about recycling – and to get the 45 percent of Georgians who don’t recycle to get started.

You Gotta Be Kidding Home

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Where old toilets go

Source: EPA’s WaterSense website

Where Old Toilets Go… If a new, water-efficient toilet sounds appealing, but you worry that throwing away your old—but functional—toilet is wasteful, you might be surprised to learn replacing an old, wasteful toilet is actually the smart thing to do. An old toilet could be wasting 4,000 gallons of water per year in your bathroom, when it could be doing something much more useful than flushing away all that water. Toilet recycling programs across the country are turning old toilets into crushed porcelain for a variety of purposes. Glass or concrete crushers at recycling facilities can process ceramic toilets into finely crushed pebbles or a slightly larger aggregate. Pebbles can be added into asphalt for paving roads, and aggregate can be used for drainage projects. Crushed porcelain not only keeps discarded toilets out of landfills and closes the recycling loop, but it also reduces the need to mine gravel, saving money and benefiting the environment. In fact, when Toronto, Ontario, used crushed toilets in landfill trenches, the city saved $8,732 by avoiding the purchase of gravel at $13.59 per metric ton. How else are old toilets used? Here are just a few examples:

  • Building Foundations – California’s Inland Empire Utilities Agency used crushed toilets in its building foundation, which helped earn a Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) program.
  • Trail Pavement – San Antonio’s Calaveras Park Nature Trail is paved with the remains of 1,000 crushed porcelain toilets. In Kitchener, Ontario, the walkway through the water-wise Greenbrook Demonstration Gardens is also paved in part with crushed toilets. Reportedly, the crushed porcelain even makes trails easier to see in the dark.
  • Mulch – Crushed toilets are used as mulch in the San Antonio Botanical Gardens’ Water Saver Lane Exhibit.
  • Artificial Reefs – In Virginia, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation is working with the City of Hampton and Waste Management Corporation to build an artificial oyster reef to buttress declining oyster stocks. More than 100 cubic yards of broken porcelain from toilets has been collected for the reefs.

To find out if toilet recycling is available in your community, contact your state’s municipal solid waste program.

Holiday Inn Select: Conserving Water and Recycling to protect the Environment

Source: Caroma Case Study


Holiday Inn Select at San Antonio Airport, San Antonio, Texas


  • High monthly water usage
  • Staff time required to fixtoilet issues


397 Caroma Sydney 270 Elongated High Efficiency Toilets


  • Clogged toilets reduced by100% (from 20/week to 0)
  • Nearly 7 million gallons of water saved per year from high efficiency toilets and showerheads
  • Positive customer feedback on conservation efforts

Case Study Highlights

The Holiday Inn Select is located near the San Antonio airport and only minutes from beautiful downtown and its many attractions. With its recent six million dollar renovation, the hotel and its 397 guest rooms are fully equipped to accommodate every traveler’s needs, whether for business or pleasure.

San Antonio has been experiencing a drought for many years. Increased population growth is also straining the water resources, and water restrictions are enforced year-round. Many industries rely on water for their survival, and hospitality is no different.

Without a reliable water supply, hotels would struggle to satisfy customer requirements. However, the Holiday Inn Select is leading the way in conserving water and protecting the environment.

Holiday Inn Select:

Conserving millions of gallons of water with high efficiency toilets

The Holiday Inn Select received the 2008 WaterSaver Award from San Antonio Water System (SAWS). Every year, SAWS honors businesses that have increased their water use efficiency or promote water conservation through education or technology. Holiday Inn Select installed high efficiency fixtures in every guest room, saving nearly seven million gallons of water per year. Scott Larsen, General Manager of Holiday Inn Select, strongly supports the protection of the environment. “We at the Holiday Inn believe that we need to preserve water in order to help the drought condition in San Antonio but also to help protect the environment and have water to use for other critical necessities. The best part about water conservation: it is so easy for you and me. It’s as simple as changing a fixture in a bathroom.”

Holiday Inn Select had an in-house guest that knew about SAWS commercial programs for water conservation and discussed the potential with Larsen. 40% of SAWS’ annual water sales are from commercial customers, such as the hospitality industry, and there is a great potential for water savings through the commercial conservation programs. Larsen contacted SAWS regarding water conservation programs, and in July 2007, the Holiday Inn Select began installing high efficiency toilets. A high efficiency toilet provides a 20% water savings over the industry standard of 1.6 gallons per flush. Many households and industries have toilets installed that use considerably more water per flush: 3.5 gallon, 5 gallon, and even 7 gallon toilets are still being used. By simply replacing an older, high volume toilet with a high efficiency toilet, thousands of gallons of water could be saved in a single household. Prior to July 2007, the Holiday Inn Select had 3.5 gallon per flush toilets installed in their 397 guest rooms. Through the SAWS commercial program, Caroma Sydney 270 elongated toilets were chosen to replace the older toilets. The Sydney 270 elongated toilets, as well as all Caroma toilets, are high efficiency and dual flush. Being dual flush, the user has two options for flushing. A full flush for solid waste uses 1.6 gallons of water per flush. A half flush is used for liquid and paper waste and uses only 0.8 gallons of water per flush. Based on a one to four solid to liquid flush ratio, the Sydney range of toilets averages only 0.96 gallons per flush. Comparing that to the 3.5 gallon toilets previously installed, each Caroma toilet installed saves more than 2.5 gallons per flush.

Installing the Caroma dual flush toilets are one of the best ways to conserve water,” states Larsen. “After just one month of use, the water savings were tremendous. It is amazing to think that if we are only at 50% occupancy and have three flushes per room, we’d save more than 1500 gallons of water – in just one day! Combining the savings from the Caroma toilets and high efficiency showerheads, we expect to save about 6.9 million gallons of water per year.” The water savings have been impressive. For example, when comparing January-November 2006 versus 2008 indoor water usage results, the Holiday Inn Select saved more than 4.4 million gallons of water, averaging a 31% savings each month.

Replacing other toilets with Caroma dual flush toilets are an easy process. According to Larsen, “The installation process went very smoothly. For such a large retrofit project, we did not lose one room night due to the installation.” The two piece toilets have a large concealed trapway. The trap is nearly double the industry average. “We have been amazed at the number of blockages we’ve experienced….or in this case, the number we have not experienced. We used to average 20 clogged toilets per week, but since the Caroma toilets have been installed, blockages have been totally eliminated. Our maintenance engineers can focus efforts on other areas.” Another benefit to Holiday Inn Select is the guest comments. “Our guests just love the toilets. We’ve received many positive comments about the design of the toilet and most importantly, how great it is that we’re helping conserve precious water resources.”


“We strongly believe in conserving environmental resources, and the Caroma toilets help us save about 6.9 million gallons of water per year.”

Scott Larsen, General Manager Holiday Inn Select San Antonio Airport

Other conservation efforts

Holiday Inn Select is a conservation leader. Not only are they saving millions of gallons of water each year, but they are the first hotel in San Antonio to implement a recycling program. Starting at the end of 2006 with recycling paper, the hotel saved 21 million tons in the first year! The successful program then expanded to include glass, cardboard, aluminum, and paper, and in the first five months, saved more than 37 million tons of recycled material. This is a substantial savings for the local landfills.

In early 2006, the hotel also replaced older light bulbs with compact fluorescent lighting.

This uses less energy and saves on greenhouse gas emissions. Combining the recycling and lighting conservation efforts, the hotel is expecting to save $44,000 per year.

Holiday Inn Select is a true leader in resource conservation. With its water conservation efforts replacing older fixtures with high efficiency Caroma toilets and showerheads, recycling and lighting programs, Holiday Inn Select San Antonio Airport is a pioneer for the hospitality industry.

2009 changes

During 2009, Caroma will be replacing the Sydney range of high efficiency toilets with Sydney Smart HETs, providing even greater water savings. The dual flush Sydney Smart range uses 1.28 gallons per flush for a full flush and 0.8 gallons per flush for half flush, averaging only 0.9 gallons per flush. The Sydney Smart range includes six bowl configurations and is now available in white and biscuit.

 “We used to average 20 clogged toilets per week, but since the Caroma toilets have been installed, blockages have been totally eliminated.”

Scott Larsen, General Manager of Holiday Inn Select