‘Beauty Spots’ where to go when there’s nowhere to go? This week’s news on loos & no. 2s.

Getting out and about as lockdown eases. Illustration from the children’s book ‘All Animals Poo & We Do Too’ copyright Hendriksen & Hopson

Scoop the Poop. The past few weeks have seen more and more people out and about in the sunshine at parks and beaches. But at the same time public toilets have so far remained shut. This has led to a number of headlines highlighting the growing problem of ‘where to go when there’s nowhere to go’ and what’s subsequently been happening to these well-loved beaches and beauty spots. We’re used to the ‘scoop your poop’ signs and doggy doo’s bags and bins for our pets, but as for us humans? A more tongue in cheek sign at Trinity Bellwoods Park in Toronto, Canada recently served to highlight the issue, one that we felt needed to be discussed in this week’s post. Here’s that exact article by Jenny Yuen for The Toronto Sun in which she said, “Ten thousand people, no bathrooms, you do the math.” So we did – see below!

Facebook | Ira Samuel Cohen

Scoop on the Poop. To focus on one country as an example, the UK has approximately 9 million pet dogs. One in four households in the UK has a pet dog, and they produce 1,000 tonnes of poop a day, or 365,000 tonnes a year [Hansard UK Govt.] and that’s about 85,000 times as heavy as a Hippopotamus [The Measure of Things.] Now that your imagination is ignited… That would mean that in theory if the UK population still had to poop their average 4-500 grams a day outside [LiveScience] then at 68 million people, we would be depositing the equivalent weight of approx. 68 million adult Pandas of poop in the open each year. That’s without accounting for the use of tissue to clean up after, which would mean mountains of mess throughout the land and widespread disease. Fortunately for us that’s not the case, but remarkably it is still the case for 1/3rd of the world population.

To be in the Loop. This may seem rather abstract but it helps us to add a perspective on outside pooping, and also introduces the more serious and less publicised point that open defecation (rare in the toilet owning world), is a huge problem for over 1 billion people worldwide [WHO] that still have to ‘go outside.’ An even higher figure if you add those without access to basic sanitation or water, which brings the total to 1 in 3 people globally. Add to that the extraordinary number of diseases associated to this scenario and you may be surprised to learn that those diseases include; cholera, diarrhoea, dysentery, hepatitis A, typhoid and polio. According to the WHO diarrhoea remains a major killer (432,000 diarrhoeal deaths annually). So far 380,000 deaths have occurred worldwide from coronavirus. But, better water, sanitation, and hygiene could prevent the deaths of 297,000 children aged under 5 years ‘each year’ from said diseases.

The Big Necessity.‘ There are many resources you can access if you want to know more, and plenty of statistics and eye-opening stories but our ‘take home on this’ is that while the problem is being addressed through a number of determined passionate people and organisations, this is nowhere near enough supported to stop the tragic and yearly consequences from being anywhere near adequately addressed. For what we consider to be one of the most ground-breaking, informative and unforgettable books on the subject, go buy Rose George‘s, ‘The Big Necessity‘ – it’s a fascinating read as she exposes the biggest single unexposed health problem on planet earth.

When Nature Calls. Meanwhile back to where we started, and a few links to get you through the weeks ahead until the public toilets reopen. Stay safe, stay aware and please leave no trace when pooping outside to keep other safe too. As an addendum, we just spotted an article in the Evening Standard by Lezlie Lowe, published today 5th June, entitled, ‘As lockdown eases we need to talk about toilets.’ Here, Lezlie reiterates the comments we’ve made and also those we discussed about improving public toilets for women, link here. Well worth reading as she’s researched the subject far more than we, and do buy her book too, ‘No Place To Go: How Public Toilets Fail our Private Needs.’ The other article that’s popped up since we published was in HuffPost on 6th June, where Sophie Wilkinson writes for ‘Opinion’, ‘Public Toilets Are An Equalities Issue. Why Don’t We Care?‘ Great to see these expert views on the subject.

  1. Huffpost: How To Pee And Poop Outdoors If Provincial Park Washrooms Are Closed.
  2. Road Trippers: Nature is calling: Here’s how to poop properly in the great outdoors.
  3. A classic list from Adventure Journal: Seven Ways to Poop Outdoors.
  4. The Manual: How to Poop in the Woods: A Guide for When Nature Calls.

We’ll be back again next week.

Do you prefer to use the same toilet paper brand each time, which is your favourite & 2 other quick questions in our 30 second research Q&A…

Toilet Paper Q&A
‘Can you pass me some toilet paper please’ illustration copyright Hendriksen & Hopson

To jump straight to the quick quiz, scroll to the end of the post…

When it comes to toilet paper certain influences or advertising trends tend to set a preference. Which is your favourite brand, why did you choose it, and have you been faithful during the times tp went short? We’ll check your answers at the end of the article, and will publish the results in a couple of weeks from now. We’ll also look at the eco-friendly contenders such as Bamboo toilet paper and let us know if you’re now using one of the recent list of start-up’s who are emerging and catching people’s attention. There are a vast number of brands out there and, depending on which country you live in, brand names can specifically selected for your local market. Who are the big players and which of their brands may be familiar to you or the ones you’re using? This week we thought we’d take a look and get your feedback.

In terms of the biggest, Procter & Gamble and Kimberly-Clark are two of the best known (in the USA add Georgia-Pacific to that mix.) Although we’ll focus on toilet paper manufacturers and suppliers, they also have vast numbers of subsidiaries of which we’ll highlight those of particular interest associated to TP. Procter & Gamble are most famous for their Charmin® Brand, which interestingly is their global brand (not differing names in various markets.) But they’re the company that also do; Pampers®, All Good® and Luvs® diapers. Bounty® paper towels and Puffs® facial tissues, and then for personal hygiene; Always®, Always Discreet®, Just®, Tampax® and This is L®.

Whereas, Kimberly-Clark have a number of well-known brand names which, as mentioned earlier, you’d recognise depending on where you live; Andrex®, Hakle®, Cottonelle®, Scottex®, Page®, Neve®, Petalo®, Wondersoft®, Tela®, Scott® and Viva®, add Kleenex® in the professional list. Adult and feminine care products include; Depend®, Poise® and Plenitud®, various Kotex® products, Intimus® and Camelia®. When it comes to kids there’s; Huggies® + Pull-Ups® and Little Swimmers® and also Goodnites® & DryNites®.

Let’s now stick solely to toilet paper brands as we run through a number of other big players.

SCA in Sweden and their sister company Essity produce an array of famous names. Essity is the world’s second largest supplier of consumer tissue. Their brand portfolio comprises many strong brands; Lotus, Tempo and Zewa are the leading ones (France, Germany and Russia.) Cushelle, Velvet and Plenty (UK and Ireland), and Edet (Nordic region and the Netherlands.) Essity is the market leader in China through its majority shareholding in Vinda (see below.) Familia and Regio (Colombia and Mexico), respectively.  Georgia-Pacific are the most famous in the USA for their Quilted Northern® and AngelSoft® rolls. Metsä Tissue in Finland makes the following toilet tissue brands; Lambi, Serla, Mola and Tento, Metsä Tissue is a notable supplier of tissue papers tailored for our customers’ own brands. In China the tp biggies include Hengan, with their Cha Yu Si Xiang series and Vinda‘s ‘Vinda‘ tp range (oddly enough same name as the co.) has been recognised as one of China’s most famous brands. Sofidel has a wide range of brands, again varying depending on country; Regina (their most famous), Softis (big in Germany and Austria), Le Trèfle, KittenSoft, Cosynel (Belgium), Nalys (Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg) and Lycke eco-care (Sweden.) We could go on, but let’s wrap this up before you glaze over, Nevertheless let us know if there are any of ‘your favourites’ that we’ve missed!

Finally let’s throw some new eco-brands into the mix. We’ve tried and tested the ones we can access in the UK, but can you see one you recognise (or have started using?) These disruptors and direct to consumer brands include; Who Gives A Crap, The Cheeky Panda, No. 2, Peach, Reel Paper, Bumboo, EcoLeaf and Greencane. After all of that, maybe your answer is, ‘None of the above, I just bought myself a bidet/bumwash?’ Well that’s good to know too.

If you could spare 1 minute we’d love your feedback on the following 3 quick questions… Please reply here with your answer to 1. and then choosing for 2. & 3. just choose between (a), (b) or (c). [We will not share your details and will delete all of the replies immediately they’re received and added to the survey.] Thank you.

  1. What’s your favourite Toilet paper brand?
  2. Did you choose it because of (a) an advert or (b) ‘always been used by or in our family’.
  3. Since the coronavirus have you (a) ‘been faithful to your brand’, (b) ‘switched and not gone back to it’ or (c) ‘converted to some type of bidet/bumwash?’

Have a great weekend and we’ll be back next week…

Planet Poop, ‘We have a problem!’

Planet Poop, ‘We have a problem!’ Before we look at alternative uses for human and animal poop as promised last week, there’s the human poop lifecycle, a major global problem that we ought to flag up first. Since the earliest records of sanitation during the Mesopotamian civilisation flourished in the Euphrates River area (modern-day Iraq, Iran, and Syria.) Effectively, from 4000-2500 BCE until today, a) 25% + of the world population still has no access to basic sanitation and/or water, this means open defecation and a lack of hygiene that needs addressing, and b) those of us that have toilets and sewerage systems are using gallons of fresh water to flush and producing a mountain of poop that needs to be properly managed (in unison with continuing research and improvements) at sewage plants.

If we don’t resolve this and better manage all the animal waste (which account for about 80% of the world’s poop) as well as human waste, then the world faces a huge problem. Even if it were possible to have the majority of animal waste reused as fertiliser (which it presently isn’t), scientists say this is a major environment and health problem that urgently needs addressing. Think air pollution, water pollution, climate change, the dumping of excess waste and waste can poison wildlife, aquatic life and then ultimately enter the human food chain.

The Sh*t Hits the Fan. As the impact of bad management, lack of planning, investment and foresight, has little improved since the dawn of civilisation, now, as it was back then, rivers and oceans (today incinerated or in high cost landfill) still seem to be the major disposal options and therefore account for the many of the problems and challenges mentioned above. While urine and faeces do potentially have a wide range of applications they are not being given the attention and funding they deserve. Looking at the primary uses, it can provide nutrients for diverse ecosystems, be used as fertiliser or for soil conditioning in agriculture, burned as fuel, or dried and used in construction. Some medicinal uses have also been found.

A Mountain of Mess. Most importantly the big question of what to do with the growing mountain of waste is still largely ignored and remains unanswered. There’s just so much animal poop (primarily) but also human waste out there, that the shit has already hit the fan and it’s spinning off at an alarming rate. The proper disposal of human and animal waste is a major sanitation problem in the Third World and elsewhere, both in its quantity and as a serious health hazard. We’ll need improved international policies, investment, communication, and state-of-the-art technologies to address the impacts this has on global health. If we want to live sustainably and save the poor the planet and the environment we, as well as the industry, need to keep taking this subject very seriously and driving change.

Poo with a Purpose. When you get to the bottom of it there are some huge benefits in reusing sh*t, or getting creative with it that can greatly contribute to reducing the impact on our ecosystem. One major difference between human and animal faeces is how much of it is produced.  ‘The average human produces around 1/4 – 1lb of poop [up to 1/2kg] per day. That’s in stark contrast to animals such as a cow 65lbs [30kg] per day or an elephant 100lbs [50kg] or even a pig 11lbs [5kg] as other recognisable examples.’ Just to expand on this to give a better overall picture, ruminant animals like cows also produce emissions when they belch or pass gas. In terms of these manure and global warming the chief offenders are beef and dairy cattle which produce about 62% of it. Put simply, livestock manure, which is the organic nitrogen that is excreted from animals is either deposited directly on pastures during grazing, or is collected, stored and processed. That treated manure then becomes available for application to agricultural soils, mostly land for crops. But whatever the stats and processes in all this, it’s collectively an enormous problem, so why aren’t we really ‘Getting our sh*t together?’

How can we #BeMoreDungBeetle and become better at waste recycling? As mentioned above, faeces can be used as fertiliser or soil conditioner in agriculture. It can also be burned as fuel, i.e. used to produce combustible gases such as methane, or dried and used for construction. Flies actually have a positive use in converting human waste into chicken feed (there’s a reassuring explanation;)) We’ve selected a few of the more recent articles that further enlightened us on what’s going on and where. We’ll get back to this subject in more depth again as the lesson we took from all of this is that we must continue redefining ‘waste’ and finding alternative applications.

  1. ‘A Proposal for Recycling the World’s Unused Stockpiles of Treated Wastewater Sludge (Biosolids) in Fired-Clay Bricks‘ from Buildings via MDPI, started appearing in the press in early 2019. While there are still some issues to iron out with the prototypes, it remains a strong possibility that a % mixed with the clay could still work, in other words biosolid-bricks are a topic worth keeping an eye on. We contacted Professor Abbas Mohajerani at RMIT who led on the paper and are just awaiting an update.
  2. There’s a company that’s setting a fine example with Human Waste Briquettes. It’s called Sanivation and they collect human waste from special toilets and turn it into sustainable fuel, which improves sanitation and reduces the environmental impact of burning wood. They partner with local governments to help meet the growing waste processing need from septic tanks and pit latrines. Sanivation design, build, and operate treatment plants so that they can be operationally sustainable. The plants transform faecal sludge into biomass fuels.
  3. Human Poop as fertiliser: [Additional updates to original article June 5. 2020., ‘Human poop as crop fertilizer?’ and from The Sacramento Bee, ‘From rabbit poop to tomatoes, a new vegetable swap has a little of everything.’
  4. Back to construction, on the BBC back in 2019, ‘Would you buy a home made from poo?‘ Where a Thames Water sewage plant in Beckton, East London used the waste to power electricity and they were producing ‘bricks’ in an effort to have a more positive effect on our planet and the environment.
  5. Animal Magic. In 2017 (as data is often not so immediate) The Food and Agricultural Organisation of the UN reported ‘ The largest share of total livestock manure Nitrogen inputs were in Asia (35%) and Africa (25%), followed by South America (16%), Europe (10%), North America and Oceania (4%).‘ So manure for fertiliser is still a biggie, and set to keep growing.
  6. Sheep, shearing sh*t is big business, literally! Aidan Smith for Farm Weekly explains, ‘Crawling under a shearing shed with a vacuum cleaner hose to suck sheep manure out doesn’t seem appealing to a lot of people.’ Aidan commented to us that, ‘The manure is usually spread out on the farm as fertiliser or for the home gardens etc.
This is so much more than a Museum! | ‘Museo della Merda’ Castelbosco Italy

Biodiversity, a Problem with an Opportunity! We’ve only really touched the surface but wanted to put these thoughts in your mind, and as you can imagine there’s a lot of this to wade through. Having mentioned ‘The Biggest Little Farm’ it’s time to look at ‘The Shit Museum‘ officially known as ‘Museo della Merda‘ in Italy [mentioned in a previous post.] If you wanted to wrap up all that we’re trying to put across, in one place that you can go see for yourself, then look no further. Pottery, energy, fertiliser and foresight

In the province of Piacenza, on a farm which makes milk for Grana Padano cheese and includes seven production units. Here every day 3,500 specially selected cows produce around 50,000 litres of milk and 150,000 kilos of dung. Under Locatelli’s management, this quantity of excreta started to be transformed into a futuristic ecological, productive and cultural project. Using highly innovative systems, electrical energy started to be produced from the manure. Today the farm produces up to three megawatts per hour. The buildings and offices of the farm are heated exploiting the warmth given off by the digesters as they turn manure into energy. Not to mention the fertiliser produced. All these activities have drawn attention from various international institutions concerned with ecology and innovation, leading to widespread recognition and prizes, and making Castelbosco a point of reference.Click here to find out more!

The Biggest Little Farm: While we’re on this subject, do watch (if you haven’t already) the recent Amazon release from back in 2018/19, ‘The Biggest Little Farm‘ where on barren land about an hour north of Los Angeles, a couple along with an expert mentor started to create a farm. This enchanting documentary is particularly poignant in these current times, as you witness an earthly paradise and imagine a new ‘Garden of Eden Project.’ This ecological restoration provides an environmental diversity for plants, humans and animals to coexist as nature does its thing. Apricot Lane Farm, is a farm for organic food production it’s a 200 acre biome of balance and sustainability. True to Rudyard Kipling’s ‘If’ they must ‘meet with both triumph and disaster and treat those two imposters just the same.’ It is, as you’ll see, bringing hope for a better future.

Finally, in addition to this weeks main article, let’s quickly look at the work of Jim Bachor, a talented mosaic artist in Chicago, USA who has been getting very creative with potholes. One mosaic particularly caught our attention, it’s a sign of the times and as posts about loos and no. 2s are totally up our street (pothole pun intended) we didn’t want you to miss out on this. Also, mosaics and bathroom history also flow perfectly with the theme of one of our children’s books about the history of the toilet ‘It’s All About Poo!’ and so we loved Jim’s similar arty and humorous approach to an issue that drives most of us mad – potholes. But let’s start with a little more detail about mosaics. According to the Ancient History Encyclopedia mosaics first emerged in the Bronze Age and subsequently with patterns resembling mosaics dating back to the 8th century BC in the Middle East and the 5th century BC in Greece. Things got more colourful when the Romans commonly used mosaics to decorate homes and public buildings, often in flooring. 

Photograph courtesy of Jim Bachor

As Jim explains about his work, ‘Trying to leave your mark in this world fascinates me. Ancient history fascinates me. Volunteering to work on an archaeological dig in Pompeii helped merge these two interests into my art. In the ancient world, mosaics were used to capture images of everyday life. Using the same materials, tools and methods of the archaic craftsmen, I create mosaics that speak of modern things in an ancient voice.‘ We have a mosaic timeline along the river Thames by Queenhithe dock, part of which you can see below, and hopefully these images might remind you of how bad waste management has been for thousands of years, but also to maybe inspire you to think about a mosaic in your bathroom designs. With Jim’s toilet roll embedded forever on the bathroom floor or wall, you’ll never be without tp ever again!

More news next week. Thanks for following us. Do get in touch, we’d love to hear from you, or get any updates, insights or suggestions on this, past or future posts e. chat@thedailypoo.co.uk

‘Mr. Toilet. The World’s #2 Man’ is now available on Amazon.

Mr. Toilet. The World’s #2 Man

A film title that may feel less than serious than it actually is, as this film has an important message. A docu-film about one man’s mission to focus world attention on the enormous percentage of the population who have no access to basic sanitation and/or water. What percentage? According to the World Health Organisation it’s over 2 billion, which to provide a perspective one can more easily imagine is over 25% of the world’s population!

In ‘Mr. Toilet. The World’s #2 Man’ prepare to wade through a lot of poo and unpleasantness that should make you open your eyes to these problems, even if you have to pinch your nose. To get the message across Jack Sim does exactly that, by taking a serious subject with a twist of humour to engage his audience. You’ll see many striking visions of just how bad it really is and how, quite frankly, not enough is being done to resolve the problem, nor to educate and encourage use of toilets and better sanitation practices.

In the earliest times, people really weren’t that fussy about privacy nor easily embarrassed about open defecation, so they tended to just go, when and where they felt like it. Before the first toilets, people lived by, washed, drank and defecated in rivers. But, it wasn’t long before our ancestors figured it was not such a great idea to use the same cleaning and drinking spot in the rivers to also go the loo. They soon understood it was better to wash upstream and do their ablutions downstream, so as not to mix the two! Civilisation was beginning to dawn. It’s been slow progress over thousands of years for the evolution of the ablution and sanitation to get to where it is today. But in these poorer places it’s not a great deal different to those earliest times, the outcome of which is spreading disease and many other serious and worrying peripheral problems.

But, when you get the likes of politicians and ambassadors around the world, plus the UN, Water Aid, Water.org, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the WHO involved, and then add Matt Damon into the mix plus get a movie made about you, then you’ll see why Jack really does make a difference. The film is engaging and honest, but could perhaps have a slightly different structure and focus for a call to action i.e. tangible results. That said it’s a remarkable achievement and Jack’s personality, passion, positivity and engaging nature are getting results and a lot of media attention – if that makes a difference and improves sanitation in those poorer cultures, then ultimately it makes a difference to us all and he has to be congratulated.

If you’ve got Amazon Prime then it’s free, if not… check it out anyway, ‘Mr. Toilet, The World’s #2 Man‘ starring Jack Sim, founder of WorldToiletDay [every year on Nov 19th.]