‘The Daily Poo!’ This week, ‘A Potted History of the Toilet’ part 1.

copyright Mark Hendriksen 2020| Jon Fowler Media

As per last week’s heads up on the bottoms down. We should point out from the very start, it’s a history that relates more to the west as sitters, than the east who predominantly squat (or other regions where people still squat) – as we all did once upon a time!

Nevertheless, with the exception of 25% of the world’s population who still have no access to basic sanitation, the evolution of the toilet [sit down, or squat versions + urinals for men] has been relatively slow – and as you’ll read, has also been relatively painful. The illustration above, from one of my books on the subject about, ‘The History of the Toilet’, shows that after the creation of humanity, all of who squatted – some bright spark designed and invented the first sit down toilets… Thousands of years ago in Mesopotamia first by the Sumerians, the Indus-Harappan, and Egyptian civilisations, then Greece, and a while later add Rome to the list – and so on and so forth, as many would have read at school. For example, the phrase ‘you got the wrong end of the stick‘ derived from the sponge on the stick that Romans used to wipe their bums, dip it in a bucket, and pass it on – I guess you’re now picturing that phrase somewhat differently!

Again, as in the illustration above, the first sit down toilet designs were a row of seats with horseshoe shaped holes, they were unisex, and the ablutions were washed away to the river, with their clever drainage/sewer systems, albeit they were polluting their rivers in the process. Bearing in mind how many thousands of years ago this was, a) there’s been relatively little progress, b) why there was no particular loo taboo then, how did that change, c) as it became obvious that bad sanitation and poor sewerage systems killed people – again, why such slow progress and, d) why no one ever asked the question about such a dramatic posture change, ‘so how does it affect the health of humanity to suddenly go from squat to sit?’ Guess what, same questions as above today, yet only some more definable progress in the last 180 odd years,… err wtf?

For example, Sir John Harrington is accredited with the first mechanical flushing system in 1596. But, to highlight the glacial pace, new design, development and infrastructure barely started to make an impact again for another 4000 years, way up until the mid 1800s when we learn that as a result of London’s ‘The Great Stink’ sewers and sanitation jumped up the ‘to do’ list, and around the same time the first septic tank was invented, and then Thomas Crapper became a marketing legend, which led to all sorts of tweaks to toilet and flush designs, aided by Alexander Cummings, Mr U or S Bend one might say. It was a bums rush of activity, infrastructure and invention!

As you can see, even with this brief insight – this is a big subject. After the mid 1800s progress lowed gain in real terms. For which reason this brief history is a two parter, no. 1 [this week] and no. 2 [next] explaining how the software (so to speak) evolved, as the hardware was introduced. Other inventors and ideas, and how we’re still struggling to cope to this day, and as mentioned at the start, at the same time neglecting 25% of the population who, quite honestly, are far worse off today than many people were all that time ago, over 5000 years earlier.

Until next week… and ‘The Daily Poo!‘ ‘A Potted History of the Toilet’ part 2.’

Childrens books, concept, content, text & illustrations
copyright Mark Hendriksen 2020

‘The Daily Poo!’ Eco friendly toilet paper companies & the latest news…

Mosaic by the River Thames, London UK

There’s an increasing number of people around the world who use toilet paper, and it’s big business for your big business. Although few of us may consider the implications, or the statistics, that make toilet paper one of the no. 1 considerations for no. 2s! In this 2019 lead article from Fortune, they quote the following statistics:

“The U.S. consumes more toilet paper than any other country, almost three rolls per person each week. And a number of the brands they choose to use aren’t sustainable, with hardwood trees being pulped to create the soft toilet paper consumers want. Following the United States’ annual use of 141 rolls of toilet paper per capita is Germany with 134 rolls and the United Kingdom with 127. Japanese consumers average 91 rolls annually, while the Chinese average just 49. They estimate the US toilet paper market alone to be worth $31 billion. That’s one huge amount of trees and impact on the environment and the big players need to address this as Kimberly Clark are doing along with their Andrex Brand and sustainability. Meanwhile smaller companies like ‘Who Gives a Crap‘ and ‘Cheeky Panda‘ are introducing new alternatives and they’re giving back too, by supporting charities that help people around the world with better hygiene and sanitation.

Here’s the latest and relevant articles form the news on loos and poos over the past week or so…

  1. I’m dreaming of a green Christmas. Toilet rolls for home made crackers…
  2. Scientists develop slippery toilet coating to stop poo sticking. The toilet brush need never leave its holder again.  + Why this idea could save billions of litres of water!
  3. Latest news in Toilet Tech (following on from last weeks blog) and more posh loos and tech news – feeling flush?
  4. How TUSHY’s Bidets Are Cleaning Up Both Backsides and the Environment. Wash not Wipe!
  5. Amazon’s Dash Smart Shelf was made for the office – but it really belongs in the toilet…
  6. Unrolling a leading toilet paper manufacturers’ sustainability claims, and illustrating the need to address it.
  7. Why you may want to consider buying hemp toilet paper, let’s get to the bottom of this!
  8. Asian pulp giants pressed to paper over rivalry to save rainforests. Why we need open data from the industry!
  9. Public toilets – fair provision for women. We all know the queuing women have to put up with, what’s changing, or needs to?!
  10. We go through 36.5 billion toilet rolls a year – so Emma McGowan asks, ‘Are bidets worth it?’

Apologies for rather omitting any poop talk and article this week – we’ll make up for it next time + look at a few Christmas presents with a toiletty twist in next week’s blog on ‘The Daily Poo!’ Meanwhile ‘A whole lot of POO!’ can be enjoyed on this funny podcast.

‘The Daily Poo!’ Charity, investment & environment update + World Toilet Day 19.11.19

‘World Toilet Day’ for more details click here: https://www.worldtoiletday.info/theme/

In last week’s blog, we began to focus on a more global look at what’s happening to improve sanitation and better facilities around the world where not everyone has the luxury of a private, or clean public, toilet. Importantly this coincides with ‘World Toilet Day‘ which is tomorrow Tuesday 19th November 2019. Just to give you an idea of the proportions we’re talking about here are a few stats:

+ 2.4 billion people lack access to basic sanitation services, such as toilets or latrines. [un.org]

+ At least 892 million people continue to practice open defecation.[un.org]

+ More than 80 per cent of wastewater resulting from human activities is discharged into rivers or sea without any pollution removal. [un.org]

+ 1 in 3 people don’t use improved sanitation (a facility that safely separates human waste from human contact). [unicef]

World Sanitation Factsheet

The above are just a few of the challenges that are being addressed by individuals and organisations worldwide. ‘World Toilet Day’ was founded by Jack Sim [aka Mr. Toilet] back in 2011 and as mentioned in last week’s blog, he’s created such a movement (pun intended) that his work is not documented in a movie that’s just been released about him and his work, Mr Toilet: The World’s #2 Man

Apart from the UN, WHO and Unicef, the problem has the attention of; The Bill Gates Foundation, Unilever, WaterAid, EcoLoo, CleanIndia to name but a few. As described in the following article, the opportunity exists for an approach that makes it possible for businesses to do well – while doing good. Interestingly, major toilet manufacturers worldwide could join in and help educate and invest in this very idea themselves. The following article is from Nov 2018 ‘Tech Disruption Comes to Global Sanitation.

Finally, this week’s line up of fun & facts in the scoop on the poop…

  1. G&P – Gin and Poop… a tipple for those who like Kopi Luwak Weasel poop coffee I guess?
  2. John Hamburger (his real name!) How toilet paper is a recession indicator, amongst other things.
  3. There’s an enormous poop coming to New York – step inside it – not on it!
  4. Yet another plug not for the sink, but for Mr. Toilet, the mild-mannered pooper hero… Pooperman the Movie!

Next week we’ll look at the latest in eco friendly toilet paper and also a few pointers on poop and your health in ‘The Daily Poo!’.

‘The Daily Poo!’ Toilet Tech plus the latest news & views in the poop loop.

There’s a fundamental difference about the way people go to the loo, primarily (as a generalisation) in the west we sit, and in the east they squat.

In itself the correct posture is quite a matter for debate, after all humanity was designed to squat. Then way back in the days of the Sumerians, sitting suddenly became a new option, adopted by the Romans and carried through to the present day. But, where was the research and science to back up the supposition that sitting was a good option, when squatting had always been the natural position by design. Today, a vast amount of the population (who are fortunate, or not, to have such facilities) are still squatting. Meanwhile sitting continues to be adopted farther afield, and toilet manufacturers keep inventing more devices to enhance the experience. That’s what we’re highlighting in ‘The Daily Poo!’ today… Toilet tech and a few other articles on what’s happening behind those closed doors.

  1. This time last year The Bill Gates Foundation showcased products aimed to revolutionise sanitation technology… Bill Gates brandishes poo to showcase reinvented toilet tech!
  2. 16 weird things [and amazing inventions] that shock foreigners about Japanese bathrooms. We ought to be adopting a few of these technologies & ideas here!!
  3. Toilets around the World: Designs in various countries…
  4. Shower, toilet and paper: Why the rest of the world considers toilet habits of the West strange.
  5. Inspiring Design Ideas for Dezeen Day: Sewage as a post-plastic alternative…
  6. Here’s what bathrooms look like all around the world [Insider]:
  7. Toilets get a high-tech makeover… Manufacturers of the toilet are going high-tech.
  8. Top 10 bathroom innovations of the future… from voice recognition to hovering mirrors that may soon be reality.
  9. Travel Tips and ‘when a squat’s the only option…’
  10. In case you missed it, ‘How dog poop illuminated a street lamp!’
  11. The Poop powered Pub.

Next week we’ll look at charities and organisations that aim to aid poorer countries as the World Health Organisation reports, 74% of the world’s population (5.5 billion people) used at least a basic sanitation service. 2.0 billion people still do not have basic sanitation facilities such as toilets or latrines. So heading back to our first article that’s what Bill Gates and others are on a mission to change. Another amazing man is also on the same mission, Jack Sim aka Mr. Toilet who founded World Toilet Day which takes place on November 19th this year. He’s also just released his first movie documentary, which we hope will be shown in the UK anytime soon…. Mr Toilet: The World’s #2 Man