Skip on the Loo? City’s Sidewalk Made of Discarded Toilets

There are so many corny jokes we could tell about sidewalks that are made of old toilets…we’re thinking somewhere in the neighborhood of “potholes.” But we’ll skip that because poticrete, an eco-friendly material used to lay new sidewalks in Bellingham, Washington, is no laughing matter. A city worker in charge of extending a pedestrian walkway happened to hear of a local organization that was getting rid of 400 used toilets. Knowing that they would end up in a landfill if no one found another use for the discarded toilets, the worker asked the city’s concrete supplier if they could use the toilets in the new walkway.

When the toilets were crushed and used as filler in the concrete, about five tons of toilet were diverted from the local landfill. The potties made up 20 percent of the finished concrete mix, extending the available materials and reducing the use of virgin materials. Poticrete costs about the same as concrete that uses virgin aggregate, and the city of Bellingham plans to use it again in plenty of future projects. For now, the city is gaining some well-deserved attention for their novel and inventive use of eco-friendly materials.

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See more in New Materials or under Science. March, 2012.