UBC Undergraduate Research

Diverting waste, conserving natural resources : composting toilets for the new SUB Baker-French, Jay


The AMS has adopted the Lighter Footprint Strategy showing student interest in and support for the pursuit of a reduced campus environmental impact. The project of building a new SUB for UBC students presents the AMS with a significant opportunity to demonstrate this commitment on a uniquely large and high profile scale. Our management of human excreta is an area in which we can begin to replace linear, extractive, wasteful practices with ones that more closely resemble the natural cycling of nutrients and other resources in ecosystems. Composting toilets incorporated into the design and maintenance of buildings can be a facilitating infrastructure component of such an alternative excreta management system. Incorporating a composting toilet system into the new SUB would place the AMS and UBC amongst the world’s leaders in both the practice of and research on ecologically sound and beneficial excreta management and leading edge institutional sustainability practices. There is also tremendous potential for experiential education through a composting toilet system in the SUB. There are few subjects considered more taboo than human excreta and our relationship with them; yet the issues surrounding excreta management are important to sustainability and health. A composting toilet system, including promotional materials and signage, is a way to engage UBC students, faculty, staff and visitors on many levels with the issues surrounding human excreta management and environmental sustainability in general.Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report.”

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