By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now
Chances are thereâ€™s an Earth Day celebration near you this month.Â (Still looking for one? Check out EarthDay.org, which not only lists major events, but invites you to take a green pledge under its Billion Acts of Green campaign, which is very close to logging its billionth act.)
As you can imagine, Iâ€™ve been to dozens of green festivals and Earth Day fairs over the years. Itâ€™s a must for someone writing about green living practices. And it remains a pleasure.
At each new fair I am heartened to see weâ€™re evolving into a society thatâ€™s more mindful of its impact on the natural world, and even though progress is sometimes achingly slow, weâ€™re finding paths to sustainability.
Then again, I get excited about dual-flush toilets. I know, itâ€™s not The Girl with the Dragon Tattooâ€¦. And yet, the dual-flush has come a long way!
The dual-flush toilet that tickled my radar this past weekend was actually a kit that converts an existing toilet into a lean, mean dual-flush machine for just 20 bucks.
Itâ€™s a double win: It saves water, costs relatively little to install, and pays for itself within about a year.
I have one, actually. It works great and itâ€™s been a comfort to know that flushing no longer wastes needless gallons of potable water; water that in another part of the world would be considered far too valuable for such a chore. Iâ€™ll save the lecture, but just consider for a moment that those of us in the developed world can command a glass of pure, disease-free water to flow instantly from our tap. (Unless of course we live in a major city that hasnâ€™t fixed its lead-leaching pipes. But Iâ€™m kidding. Not really.)
Hereâ€™s the story on toilets. Once upon a time, they routinely consumed two to three gallons to flush. No one thought much about that. But multiple three gallons by even three flushes a day, per toilet, per neighborhood, per city, per state etc. Itâ€™s a no-brainer that weâ€™re contaminating a lot of water that later needs re-filtering and sanitizing at the other end. So thereâ€™s a water cost and an energy cost and a chemical cost associated with this simple function that we all take for granted.
Dual flush toilets can now get the job done for less than a gallon per flush â€“ and that will save water, energy, chemicals etc., rippling outward like a blessing. Well, almost like that.
So youâ€™ve got two options. When you replace your toilet, get a dual flush model or a low-flow model that uses less water all the time (a little over a gallon for all flushes) or, if your toilet works just fine, you can try converting it with a dual-flush adapter kit.
The dual-flush adaptation device I saw demoed at the fair, the Hydro Right, reduces the water used for light flushes by one-third, even in low-flush toilets. The â€śheavyâ€ť flush uses the same amount of water as the toilet would otherwise. This isnâ€™t the only model out there. Shop it, and check out comments from users.
And get to a green fair. You may just find something that thrills you.
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