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China Does A New Take On Public Restrooms

How do you celebrate World Toilet Day in China? By rolling out new public restrooms, of course. Forget everything you know about public restrooms, because China has designed what it hopes is the restroom of the future. (At least in China.)

Sure, the new public restrooms contain sinks and toilets, but why stop there? Need cash? Use the ATM. Stressed out? Listen to a little Enya. On a road trip? Empty the trash from your car into the recycling containers you’ll find in the public restroom. And speaking of road trips, you probably aren’t the only one who needs a little break. Plug in your electric car into one of the charging stations while you relax, refresh and hit the vending machines inside. When you get into the stall, flip on the flat-screen TV and catch up on the day’s news or your favorite TV program. It’s all there, just waiting for you!

While this all sounds a little opulent, it’s also environmentally conscious … sort of. The toilets use wastewater from the sink for flushing, separate urine from solid waste at the toilet, and the bathrooms aren’t connected to a sewage system, per se. They have their own septic tanks, which will be pumped out weekly.

This public restroom design is a go. The Chinese government says it plans to install nearly 60,000 carbon copies of this setup around the country in the next three years. What’s the rush? China is hoping to capitalize on Western tourism leading up to and following the Olympics. China hosted the Olympics in 2008 and has won the right to host The Games again in 2022. Taking a lesson from the most recent Olympics in Sochi, when host country Russia took it on the chin for its bathrooms, China is getting its public restrooms in order before inviting the world over for some fun!

The Internet hasn’t been left out of this arrangement. There are tentative plans to use public restrooms as a “depot” of sorts for package delivery. It works like this: order something online. The retailer delivers it to a designated locker in a convenient public restroom, where the buyer retrieves it.

China’s new public restroom model has a little something for everyone. In more rural areas of the country, where power could be a problem, public restrooms can be outfitted with solar panels. Better still, the solid waste will be treated onsite and made safe enough for local farmers to use it for fertilizer.

The latest public restroom design in China is just one of many steps the country has taken to improve its sanitation. In the last quarter-century, China has upgraded toilet facilities for nearly 44% of its 1.36 billion citizens and has a plan in place to continue modernizing its sanitation infrastructure.

Happy World Toilet Day!

Happy World Toilet Day! You're pooping wrong

An Israeli study from 2003, which looked at the way adults poop, found that pooping from a sitting position really isn’t the best way to do it. The researchers asked adult participants to poop from a seated position using a standard height toilet and a low toilet. They also asked the participants to poop from a squatting position – the position we’d naturally use if we were… you know … natural.

Not surprisingly, the researchers found that pooping from a seated position (whether higher or lower) requires more effort and more time than pooping while squatting. Over time, researchers say that our unnatural pooping position can cause digestive problems and other physical maladies, like hemorrhoids.

Don’t get rid of the flush toilet yet, though! There are a lot of things to like about our porcelain thrones, but their ergonomics isn’t one of them. Coming to our rescue is a number of designers, who are bringing a number of friendly alternatives to the bathroom.

In fact, the University of the Arts in London held a contest to design a human-friendly toilet that was based on the idea of squatting rather than sitting and the results were not only artistic, but practical.

If you’re ready to go beyond concepts, for as little as $35, you could try the Squatty Potty, which isn’t really a potty at all. It’s a little step that elevates your feet and legs when you sit on a conventional toilet. The positional aid helps you to achieve a better, more natural posture during elimination.

If you are looking for something a little more hard-core, try the Lillipad Toilet Squatting Platform from New Zealand, which fits around your toilet and lets you squat on top of it. The Lillipad comes in two different heights and will set you back about $160, including shipping. You can also find other foldable or collapsible toilet platforms that range in price from about $80 to $160 that will also allow you to poop while squatting.

Squatting may seem unnatural to us, but two-thirds of the world’s population poops from a squatting position, and sitting while pooping has only been around for about 150 years. Just something to think about on World Toilet Day.