Attempting to Live a Sustainable Lifestyle in St. Louis

Environmentally friendly decisions are tough

The toilet situation isn’t looking so good. August 29, 2007

Filed under: Live Green 2.0,Mechanical Systems,Toilet — budint @ 2:01 am

Asian Toilet

Now you normally hear this when traveling through East Asia after you just ate swordfish at the buffet (or at least I did), but I’m not talking about Asia or swordfish, I’m talking about our selection of dual flush toilets here in the U.S.

Quick History/Background: Not everyone puts the same amount of waste down the toilet with each trip to the restroom, but for decades we’ve been using the same amount of water to push both (large/small) amounts of waste down the toilet. The Europeans figured this out long ago and thus dual-flush toilets exist all over Europe, but for some reason the U.S. is WAY behind.

Toto Not until recently would I have thought this to be such a difficult task. But finding a dual-flush toilet that wasn’t much more than a standard toilet, is in fact difficult. (see picture above of Toto Aquai Dual-flush, runs just over $300).

Caroma, an Australian toilet maker, offers about 10 dual-flush toilets in the U.S., but the cheapest I’ve found is $399.
And finally, I also found a dual-flush toilet at Costco for $209, which is actually a price I wouldn’t mind paying for each of the 3 toilets I need. However, the brand is unknown (Waterridge) and though the folks in the online discussion communities say “don’t worry, Costco has a great return policy”, the last thing I want is to have to return a used toilet.

Compare the above selections to a standard low-flow (1.6GPF) toilet such as an American Standard, Kohler or Eljer, which can all be had for about $141 and it’s a tough decision. Not to mention, you’re not exactly rewarded for water conservation in St Louis, like you might be in Texas or S. Cal.

Let’s do the math: cheapest dual-flush is $330 (includes shipping) x 3 toilets = $990

Pick the Champion Right Height Elongated from Lowes $141 x 3 = $423 for a difference of $567. Wow, I could buy a solar panel with that savings. Or maybe 8 pair of hemp pants (I don’t really want hemp pants).

So what does one do? Why doesn’t American Standard do dual-flush? Do I go with one of those dual-flush conversion kits? Kind of scary, though someone may prove me wrong.

I’ll need to spend some time thinking about this one.