8 If it's yellow let it mellow

Today marks the end of Canada Water Week and it is also World Water Day so I have been thinking a lot about our water consumption this week. On my drive home from work yesterday I heard a discussion on 102.1 The Edge about flushing the toilet. You know the old saying "If it's yellow let it mellow...if it's brown flush it down". Growing up this was big when camping (if you had the luxury of having indoor toilets) or when at a cottage. But what about at home? Is it too gross to consider doing? I will admit that the last thing I need when I get up in the morning is seeing and smelling Joe's 'morning pee'. I guess I could take the same approach that I do when camping when having to use an old wooden outhouse. If I don't look down the hole then I don't know that there are spiders down there!

Okay so let's get personal and talk about how much water could be saved at home by letting things mellow (notice I said at home....doing this at work is ridiculously far beyond my level of crunchiness). If Monday-Friday you flushed the toilet 4 times/day and Saturday-Sunday 6 times/day that would be 32 flushes a week (1 person). If you have a standard toilet each flush is 18L (4.8gal) down the drain which means a total of 576L (152gal) per week of water used. Your annual total for water used for flushing the toilet is 29,952L (7,912gal).

Now what if you flushed the toilet 50% of the time? That would save 14,976L (3,956gal) per year per person!

Now what if you installed a low flow toilet (6L/1.6gal per flush)? That would save you 19,968L (5,275gal) per year per person!

Now what if you installed a low flow toilet (6L/1.6gal flush) and flushed 50% of the time? That would save you 24,960L (6,594gal) per year per person!

Just think about the number of people in your home and how much water you could save if you could just get past the whole looking at someone else's pee thing. I know I am thinking about it.

Are you a Yellow Mellow? When did you make the switch? Tips and Tricks?

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  1. I am totally for it; Hubby on the other hand is completely repulsed by it. I can't explain it - it's like I try to tell him: It's not like we're frickin' bathing in it? Geez" But it falls on deaf ears. Sigh.

  2. Ha! Maybe he fears the splash back!

  3. I definitely let it mellow! Hubby doesn't -- he tried it in his bathroom and the smell really wasn't pleasant. I grew up during some major California droughts, and this was something we always did at home. If I flush before I go to bed, I really don't have a problem with smell. Admittedly, it's easier when you don't share a bathroom.

    If you save water from your shower (either from letting it run to warm up or gray water from your actual shower), you can flush the toilet simply by pouring enough water into it. That might be an alternative if letting it mellow grosses you out.

  4. We haven't commited to doing this in our house, but I did when I was pregnant. Getting up to pee 1000 times a night - I hated wasting so much water!

  5. @Jennifer - great tip on using the shower water!

    @Stephanie - I hear you! I was like a pee machine :)

  6. We are a mellow/yellow household. It started when the flushing toilet would wake the sleeping baby and we haven't looked back. Now that #2 is on the way and I'm yet again a peeing machine, we're saving lots too.

  7. @Sarah - have you thought about what you will do when your B is toilet trained? I am thinking of teaching my B to not flush each time for a pee.

  8. I have been an avid if its yellow let it mellow kinda person growing up. Never grossed me out, its just pee and tissue!! Especially if the lids closed whats the difference. Just moved to university and let me tell you, apparently my roomies are not to "green" with joy at this idea. (green cause eco friendly haha). So I guess no more mellowing for my pee, I hadn't even thought about flushing after every little time. (And I am one of those people who before bed goes pee like ten times and barely anything comes out, so apparently I am flushing toilet paper and maybe a .1% pee solution.)