New Toilet Directs Soapy Sink Water into Flushes
A new toilet design by Jang Wooseok directs used sink water to flush the toilet.
CREDIT: Jang Wooseok
It seems like such a waste to watch all that fresh, potable water literally go down the toilet with every flush. So over the past few years, several designers have come up with sink-and-toilet units that direct the soapy water from hand-washing into the toilet bowl for flushing. Here's the latest, by Jang Wooseok, a starting designer (an online profile says he has one year of experience) based in South Korea.
In Wooseok's design, the sink is slightly offset from the toilet bowl, so people stand to the side to use it, an improvement on some designs where people need to lean over the toilet bowl to wash their hands. (What if you're short? Do you kneel on the lid?) A compartment directly beneath Wooseok's sink catches used sink water. An LED light tells users when there's enough saved sink water to flush. When the light is green, not red, users can push the flush handle on the sink side to clear away the toilet with so-called "gray water," the name for slightly used household water from sinks, showers and laundry machines.
In case there's not enough saved sink water, the toilet saves fresh tap water in a compartment next to the gray water compartment. So when the LED light is red, users just need to push the fresh water flush handle.
Though Wooseok's design seems to still be in the prototype stage, those interested in getting a gray water flush system right away have a couple options. There are those designs that put a sink directly over the toilet tank, which are commercially available. Homeowners can also retrofit their existing sinks and toilets with the AQUS system, which uses a thin pipe between the sink and toilet to carry over gray water. One particularly appealing design by Europe-based Roca also has an offset sink, but it's unclear whether that product is available for sale.