What’s Going On Here?
Scientists have developed a unique spray-on coating for toilet bowls to help poo on its way and not stick around. Research conducted has shown that even the more stubborn poo is 90% less adhesive with the sticky coating.
What Does This Mean?
With less poo sticking to the bowls of our toilets (I can’t believe I’m writing this sentence either), less water will be wasted trying to flush away the leftovers from your pan.
Tak-Sing Wong and his team of researchers at Penn State University, started to work on this solution when another load of researchers from Cranfield University contacted them. They were working on designing a toilet for the developing world and found that there was a significant odour which came from the build-up of waste on the bowl.
Cue Wong and co, who set about developing the new sticky coating which combines a layer of molecularly grafted polymers and a thin layer of silicone oil, that would help to repel ‘sticky substances’ which I’ve read Wong and his team are known for…
After a series of tests which involved dropping poo-mimicking substances from a height of 40cm on to test plates angled at 45 degrees (I assume this is the height and angle most of us poo from…) and using fluorescent dye to track the amount of water it took to dislodge the poo – they found that the coating resulted in 90% less water use.
Why Should We Care?
Toilet flushing accounts for 1/3 of water used in our homes today and depending on the type of flush your toilet uses, it could be anywhere up to 14 litres PER flush. Not to mention, this is fresh (and drinkable!) water being used.
So with millions of people across the world facing water shortages and lack of or no access to clean drinking water, maybe this non-stick toilet could help? Well, at least that is what Wong and his team believe.
Sticky poos and reduced water usage aside, I’d personally like to know about the chemicals we could be potentially flushing into our water systems…perhaps this is research already in Wong’s pipeline…?
Whilst we don’t know if this coating will be making its way to a toilet near you anytime soon, here are some things you can do in the meantime to help reduce your flush’s impact:
- If it’s yellow let it mellow
- Find out what type of flush your toilet uses. Apparently switching to a ‘dual flush model’ could reduce your flush to only 4 litres…
- If the first two aren’t an option for you, look for another area of your home life to reduce water use. Can you shave another few minutes off your shower time?