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Inside the back wall of the Blue Diversion toilet from Eawag, ETH Zurich’s aquatic research institute, a compact water recovery system diverts water used for hand-washing and flushing to separate collection tanks. This segregation lets the system treat and safely reuse each water supply for the same function multiple times. Separate collection of feces and urine allows the solid waste to be treated to minimize odor and pathogens. Users can rotate the squatting pan 90 degrees to use it as a cleansing station.
Willie Jones is an associate editor at IEEE Spectrum. In addition to editing and planning daily coverage, he manages several of Spectrum's newsletters and contributes regularly to the monthly Big Picture section that appears in the print edition.