Some of you already know that our shipping container house is our Great Recycling Project. One thing we’re recycling is our lavatory. Ok, you probably think we’ve gone TOO far with Toilet recycling? Seriously, gross! Now you’re going to REUSE an OLD toilet? Aren’t OLD toilets bad for the environment? Honestly, I’m not a fan of the “toilet planter” as an idea of how to keep an old toilet out of the landfill. As a kid, our community project was to reduce water consumption by placing 2-liter soda bottles (filled with gravel or water) in the toilet tank. But technology has come a long way since then.
In this article, we will answer the questions:
- Why did we decide on toilet recycling?
- What products do we use to make it look and work like “Brand New”?
- And how we converted it into a low-flow toilet.
Why did we decide on toilet recycling?
Originally one of our containers was previously made into a dwelling. The bathroom had a low water consumption toilet.
Unfortunately, during the relocation of our shipping container, there wasn’t any crane or other equipment available to unload the container onto our property. As a result, the truck driver literally just dropped it and left.
The original toilet broke. So we had to replace it.
As it happens, some friends of ours were remodeling their house and offered us their old lavatory. I know it may sound gross to some of you. It was a classic American Standard lavatory, a high-quality one that uses lots of water per flush.
What products do we use to make the Loo look “Brand New”?
Well-water plus uratic salts caused a massive amount of mineral deposits that completely blocked toilet flushing over time. Which is one of the reasons they were replacing their own toilet.
To fix the problem, taking precautions and using the appropriate PPE safety glasses and rubber gloves face mask in a well-ventilated area,
We Unblocked the scaling using 1 gallon of muriatic acid**, a plastic washing pan, and a metal spatula. We kept running the acid through until it was descaled entirely and would flush adequately.
The cleaning took a better part of the day and some elbow grease, but the results were worth the effort. It was like a brand new toilet.
To make the outside of the lavatory look new, we used “bar keeper’s friend,” which you can find in a powder or cream. I also like to use a similar product from “Cif.”
I not only got impressive results on the porcelain toilet, but I also used it in the fiberglass shower and the stainless steel kitchen sink. In addition, they don’t have much smell, so they don’t bother my allergies.
Water conservancy and recycling
In our case, water conservation is critical because we have a limited water supply. Generally, we get water sent to us once a week by the city, so we have to store and look for ways of not wasting this precious commodity.
However, we should think more seriously about water conservation, no matter where we live or our circumstances.
So finally, after all that cleaning on our recycled toilet, we still had a problem with high water consumption. So we temporarily decided to place a 2lt soda bottle inside the tank, filled with water (you can also use sand or gravel). The filled bottles displace the water, so less water is used with each flush.
Even after using the displaced water control method, we were still trying to use only half flushes whenever possible.
So to make our life a little more convenient and environmentally friendly, we purchased a dual flush converter system.
How we converted it into a low-flow toilet
Converting your old “john” into a water-saving “loo” is a simple DIY project. And no need to “repurpose” your old john. The dual flush system is easy to install. Not many tools were required. And It took less than an hour to install.
Apart from being affordable, we really like how many adjustments there are. You can set it to the perfect amount, so you get a clean bowl every time without any extra wasted water.
With this model dual flush system, we discovered that we need full water pressure (30-40psi) for the tank to fill correctly. We rely most of the time on a gravity feed 250-gallon water storage tank on the roof.
We’re installing a cistern and a water pressure pump that turns on when you open the water to pressurize our water lines.
Tell us about any water-saving tips you might have!
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