Low entropy technologies aim to reduce their impact on the environment while maximizing their impact on the quality of life. They are the "how to" of sustainable development. At ReSource, we have a particular focus on waste management processes and technologies. By rethinking the processes and technologies we use in the creation and for the disposition of waste, we can stop pollution and start recycling; finding health, economic, and environmental benefits along the way.
We advocate for and support low entropy systems; non-depleting, non-wasting, non-polluting technologies. These include zero discharge waste treatment technologies, greywater recycling systems, new energy technologies, and alternative building materials and designs.
ReSource Composting Toilets:
The ReSource Composting Toilet is a low maintenance organic waste
treatment system which uses natural, biological decomposition
to convert toilet waste into safe fertilizers. This aerobic process reduces the volume of material inside the composting chamber by 95%. Modeled after
the Clivus Multrum, our toilets have proven effective
in both wealthy and poor communities. They can be built or manufactured with varying degrees of sophistication; including dry and low-flush units.
In the ReSource Composting Toilet, a small amount of thoroughly
decomposed material, a humus and excellent soil conditioner, settles
to the bottom of the composting chamber and is removed via an
access door at the front of the chamber. Twenty-five uses a day
will produce about two cubic feet of this compost after two years.
A valuable liquid end-product is captured at the bottom of the
tank, in a separate storage container. Urine moves through a nitrification bed
inside the compost chamber and breaks down into an odorless, pathogen-free, and stable fertilizer. A family of six can expect to capture between 100
to 500 liters a year, depending on usage and evaporation.
Disease causing organisms in the waste pile are not killed by heat. Rather, they die because conditions inside the composting toilet are not favorable
to their growth and because they are consumed by an active
population of decomposer organisms. Fifty years of testing of this
style composting toilet confirms that it meets vigorous health
Maintenance must be managed. It should not be left to individual households, no matter the education or training initiatives. Households can and should be expected to lend a hand, but just as a plumber is called to fix your flush toilet, people with composting toilets should have a trained and reliable expert on which they can call for help.
Greywater treatment and recycling
Any water that has been used in the home, with the exception of
water from the toilet, is called greywater. In the United States,
greywater by and large goes to sewers or septic tanks. In the
Third World, it runs into the streets or is piped to rivers and
lakes. The safe and ecological way to treat greywater is to use
it as irrigation water, utilizing its nutrient value while saving
fresh water for other uses. This means taking greywater out of
sewers, septic tanks, and gutters and feeding it to plants through
A number of different systems exist to take the greywater from
the house and efficiently deliver it to plants. The best system
is determined by the site characteristics, the volume of greywater
produced, your objectives for its use, the regulatory climate,
material availability, and cost.
To see an example of our greywater work, see Oasis Design's web page on our greywater work in Maruata, Mexico. Oasis is a RILES partner. Since 2001, RILES has been working in Maruata with Art Ludwig and Oasis Design to help this community at "a development crossroad" make choices about which direction it will take in its growth and development plan. For more on Maruata, see Maruata at the Crossroads, a book on the Oasis website. Complimentary copies for qualifying institutions and communities are available from RILES.
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