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Nevada bathroom door painted with toilet terms

Open the Door to a Livelier Lavatory Lexicon

Nevada bathroom door painted with toilet termsWhen nature calls, what do you call it, that place you go for going? If you go to the place pictured here, you can choose your preferred term from a nice assortment of colorful toilet terms. Gender-neutral, too! I spotted this outdoor restroom at the rear of a restaurant in historic Boulder City, Nevada. It was so amusing I was able put aside any nagging concerns about sanitation and cleanliness.

And filed under Didn’t Know That! … apparently Shi-Shi is Hawaiian slang, pronounced “shee shee” and meaning “to pass urine or use the bathroom.”

Promoting plain language in public toilets

dual flush public toiletWhen engineers and technical writers tackle instructions for public toilets, someone may have to step up and provide some plain-language, every-man translations!

Up for pee, down for poop. Simple! Spotted in a highway rest stop, kudos to the anonymous, water-aware doo-gooder that added the simplified Sharpie version to the dual flush toilet instructions provided.

Note to technical types: if your toilet how-to needs a schematic drawing, the instructions likely need editing!

Note to everyone else: An easy mnemonic for these devices: remember to PUSH for number 2! And the handle as well!

sign graffiti on dual flush public toilet

Sustainable Curiosities and Novelties: Flushable Toilet Paper Tube

Aqua tube flushable toilet paper roll

Aqua Tube Toilet Paper Tube: photographed in grass because it's "green"

Consider the fate of the common Toilet Paper Tube: destined to be violently ripped and separated from its Toilet Paper child whom it has cradled and supported since the day of TP’s birth manufacture. While TP flushes merrily downstream headed for the rapture of sustainable biodegradation, the Mother Tube is forgotten, abandoned, tossed…then forced to travel alone, void of greenness, to a dark and desolate landfill populated by despised, low-life non-recyclables.

Well, no more. Because THIS Tube is flushable. THIS Tube shall not be left behind, but shall be safely flushed with its beloved TP, where they can biodegrade and return to our earth naturally. Together.

Many thanks to Constance Ward at Thought Leader Zone, who found this Sustainable Curiosity in her Marseille, France lodgings while attending World Water Forum 6. Somehow she knew we’d like it!

Note: This item has not been deemed flushable by Pat and Dan. Also, since we Don’t Flush the Baby Wipes, should we flush the tubes?

Sustainable Curiosities and Novelties: In which we present the oddball, assorted knick-knacks, inventions and ideas for more sustainable Earth occupation by humankind. Or something like that. Submissions welcome, contact the Thirsty in Suburbia “Curator” here.

An Eye-Pooping Infographic on Water and Sanitation Challenges

The poo poo problem continues unabated, and here’s a genuinely crappy infographic for all you visual learners out there! I’ll bet this was the assignment of a lifetime for some lucky graphic designer, and a review of the associated facts won’t hurt the rest of us either.

This fab graphic was submitted by Tony Shin and comes hardwired to some SEO scheme related to online nursing programs, but never mind, I still love it and consider it a fair trade to share such an awesome, informative graphic! Enjoy, but first let me highlight some personal favorite details:

microbes water and sanitation

We're wastewater BFFs! Despite their deadly nature and bad attitude, these fellows still look pretty cute!

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The Legality of Toilet Planters: Answer Man Tackles the Question

Now who could be opposed to reuse and recycling? Go green, woo hoo! Just don’t go green where you , uh, you know, go!

A toilet planter via VTscapes on Flickr

Is it a tad enviro-ugly if your neighbor reuses an out-to-pasture  toilet for a whimsical planter? Surely there’s a law! A code? Something? A regulatory loophole somewhere that would prevent such a tasteless display in your well-manicured suburban oasis?

The complex legal issues surrounding toilet planters were covered in a recent post to “Answer Man” in Rochester, Minnesota’s PostBulletin.com…and we don’t think the questioner will be happy with the lawyer-approved answer!

Dear Answer Man, is it legal to plant flowers in an old toilet and keep it in your front yard in this lovely city of ours? A neighbor recently did this and it doesn’t do much to enhance the otherwise nice, well-kept neighborhood. In fact, I cringe every day when I drive by it. I could see maybe in the backyard or at the end of a long, dirt road, but in the middle of northwest Rochester? Please help me to clear the air.

I’m always happy to flush out the truth. To help with the flushing, I called City Attorney Terry Adkins, who said it was the very first time in his career that he’s heard this question.

There’s no ordinance to prohibit the use of a toilet as a flower pot, but a few lines in the city housing code get close to the mark. “The open area of your premises must be kept in a reasonably clean and neat condition, including the removal of all inoperable machines, appliances, fixtures and equipment,” the code says.

“I suppose someone could make the argument that a toilet out there is inoperable” and thus violates the code, Terry says. But then he called the city building safety department. Amazingly, “they have received some complaints (historically) and have taken the position that it’s not a violation of the ordinance,” reasoning that the “fixture” in this case is “operable” because it’s loaded with plants.

If it wasn’t used as a planter and was simply in the front yard, presented as a Duchampian work of art, it presumably would be illegal. At least that’s the response of the city.

And in my idyllic suburbia? I come down squarely in favor of toilet planters; in fact, I have one of my own, though please note that my interpretation uses only the tank and is displayed privately in my backyard. (Happily filled with impatiens right now.)

gayle leonard's flower planter made from a recycled toilet tank

I’ll bet the toilet gardener in question imagines they are quite creative, but the idea is not unique; a quick search on Flickr produces a ton of dirt on the topic!

Oatmeal on Public Toilets

How’s this for a misleading headline? It’s hard to compose your own funny blog stuff when you’re so busy reading the funny blog stuff of others, like offbeat rising-star web comic “The Oatmeal,” which has graciously helped feed our productivity black-hole with a rant and suggestion for one public toilet annoyance, paper seat protectors.

See the rest, after the jump… Read more

2010 Edition: Halloween Costumes for the Water-Obsessed

For 2010, we’ve gone DIY! All these water-themed Halloween costumes are homemade. This year, use your skills, creativity and ingenuity to fashion a killer look and unforgetable water statement!

this is my dam halloween costume hoover dam sweatshirtTHIS IS MY DAM COSTUME THIS YEAR: Thirsty in Suburbia exclusive! I made this for myself on Cafepress…perfect thing for recession trick or treating around your local Hooverville. (While I was at it, I made a shop so you can get one, too! Yes, I know, it’s expensive…but who can put a price tag on this level of awesomeness? Check out the mug, too! http://www.cafepress.com/thirstyinsuburbia).

pollution mermaid halloween costumeTOUGH YEAR FOR MERMAIDS: This costume won the 2008 Etsy Costume Contest in the Green catagory. Your 2010 interpretation could be even more timely with sad-funny BP references. Find a thrift shop prom dress and get busy! Great way to recycle that old motor oil. Source Link

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No privacy when taking care of your “private business”

Photo submitted by "Ryan" to consumerist.com

Hold it right there (literally!) if you care about protecting your privacy rights!

“Ryan” has  shared this sign with consumerist.com and the site notes  “at a certain Goodwill, you need a license to pee.”

This should put all you seat dribblers, clog causers, trash-can missers, countertop water-splashers, TP thieves and stall sharpie writers on notice. At Goodwill, we know who you are. We know where you live. Prepare for the consequences.

Itty-Bitty Baths Inspire Daft Designs

While urban dwellers enjoy ready access to city amenities, a trade-off is the distinctly urban micro-bath. Why, I could fit most of these city loos inside my obnoxious suburban garden tub…which I never use, as it requires an obnoxious amount of water!

If you’re dealing with cramped quarters in your citified bath, the solution, as always, is abundant dollars and over-the-top design ideas. Read more

Redneck Reuse: Toilet Tank Planter

Hooray for redneck reuse! Isn’t it grand to live in an age in which you can park broken toilet parts in your garden  and be viewed as eco-aware rather than just trashy and tacky! (My family still claims this is decidedly more tacky than trendy!)

For “Fix a Leak Week” this year my pathetic DIY debacle cracked the toilet tank, necessitating a full toilet replacement. But that tank is now rejoicing in it’s more glamorous second life as a planter. (The bowl? Gone to the landfill; even I will admit that’s going too far!)

Plus…don’t forget to repurpose packing materials for planter drainage!