Archive for World Toilet Day

Everyone deserves the dignity of a working toilet.

Did you know that the advent of the toilet has saved more lives than any other invention in history? That’s right – more than seat belts, vaccinations or any medical device, modern sanitation has bolstered better living conditions, better health and even better economies! This year, we’re making an ode to the commode by awarding a deserving organization or individual with up to ten (10) Thank You Toilets for their home, school or other facility and $200 USD towards the cost of installation per donated toilet. The winner will be announced on the newly United Nations recognized holiday World Toilet Day, November 19th!

How does Thank You Toilet Work?

From now until October 30th, 2013, nominate one deserving group or individual to receive a toilet or toilets of their choice from American Standard by sending us their story to Be sure to include the following (in 500 words or less):

  • Why you believe this group or individual is deserving of the toilet(s) – have they made profound impact on a personal or community level?
  • How they will benefit from the Thank You Toilet(s)
  • (Optional) Any pictures of depicting the current state of the facility, at least 200×200 pixels
  • Contact information (Name, Phone Number and Address) for both nominee and entrant

A panel of judges from American Standard will evaluate each submission using the criteria listed above. The winning organization, group or individual will be announced on World Toilet Day, November 19th! No purchase is necessary. This contest is open to legal residents of the (50) United States ,the District of Columbia and Canada (excluding Quebec) 18 years of age or older. Official rules after the jump.

UPDATE November 19th, 2013: Congratulations to Williamsburg Elementary School in Williamsburg, Ohio for being selected as this year’s Thank You Toilet winner! The elementary school, which currently uses fixtures that are original to the building, will benefit from new water-efficient models! Thank you to all of the nominators for submitting your nominations. Happy World Toilet Day!


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Today, November 19th, 2012, marks World Toilet Day – a day celebrated annually that is dedicated to breaking the taboo around the toilet discussion and spreading awareness of issues surrounding waste management on a global scale.

So why should you give a $h!t? Imagine life without a toilet or sewage system. Imagine having to defecate in the open. While this is nearly unthinkable for those of us living in the developed world, this is an unfortunate reality for the 2.5 billion people in the world who lack access to a clean toilet and the 1.1 billion that practice open defecation. Why does this matter? Illness and disease that are spread through human waste is the second largest killer amongst children living in developing countries; that’s more than HIV/AIDS, measles and malaria combined or 1 death every 20 seconds!

How can you help? The World Toilet Organization, the group that organizes World Toilet Day, offers several suggestions on how you can get involved including signing the Keep Your Promises Petition and contacting your local media to get involved in the discussion. Learn more ways to get involved here.

Learn how American Standard has teamed up with the Gates Foundation earlier this year to make the world better one toilet at a time by developing a new, low-cost yet efficient, toilet system that was exhibited at the 2012 Reinvent the Toilet Fair.

Follow the conversation; Follow @WorldToiletDay and #IGiveaShit via Twitter today!

Yesterday the Professor was thrilled to tune in to NPR’s Science Friday to hear toilet experts discuss a favorite issue: building a better toilet. Participants included Jim McHale, vice president of engineering at American Standard; author Rose George; Frank Rijsberman of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; and Daniel Yeh, engineering professor and toilet inventor.

The topic of the day was World Toilet Day, an event designed to raise awareness about the 2.6 billion people on earth – that’s 1/3 of the world population – who do not have access to proper sanitation. Lack of access to toilets lead to diarrhea, disease, and death, and represents a serious problem in the developing world.

This is why engineers are working on “reinventing the toilet” to create a commode that does not require access to a sewer system or clean drinking water for flushing. The Gates Foundation has also created a special program offering grants to engineers to create new toilet prototypes. Dr. Yeh is currently working on a model that uses anaerobic bacteria to digest waste, for example.

The Professor also appreciated the discussion on the challenges faced by toilet designers in the U.S. McHale explained that the main concern at American Standard was to conserve water without sacrificing performance, and discussed the company’s participation in the EPA’s WaterSense program, which promotes water efficient products and encourages water-saving behaviors. The Professor particularly enjoyed McHale’s description of the H2Option siphonic dual flush toilet, an “engineering miracle” that uses smart science on the inside and an EverClean glaze on the outside to ensure that a wasteful “double flush” is never necessary to clean the bowl.

If you missed the original broadcast, you can listen in on the Science Friday podcast page.

Want to do more to support the fight for better sanitation around the world? Donate to the World Toilet Organization now!

November 19th is World Toilet Day, which is naturally one of the Professor’s favorite holidays. Today NPR is helping to raise awareness about the lack of access to sanitation around the world by devoting a portion of this week’s Science Friday show to World Toilet Day. Guests will include Jim McHale, vice president of engineering at American Standard as well as several experts on global sanitation issues and civil engineering.

Catch the entire Science Friday episode from 2-4 pm. The World Toilet Day feature will start at 3 o’clock.

Follow the link above to find out what stations in your area will be broadcasting the show, or to listen online. In the meantime, check out the great toilet videos that are already posted on the website. And check back soon for the Professor’s recap on the show.

November 19th was World Toilet Day, an international homage to modern sanitation.
During his globetrotting commemoration of this sacred day, Professor Toilet was
pleased to see the initiative taken by one protégé, who organized “The Big Squat” in New York City.

Held in conjunction with World Toilet Day, the social fundraiser helped raise awareness for the four in 10 humans that live without adequate sanitation, and was sponsored by The People’s Own Organic Power Project (The POOP Project).

One attendee of New York’s Big Squat celebration of World Toilet Day helps The People's Own Organic Power Project advocate for the toilet-less in developing countries.

One attendee of New York’s Big Squat celebration of World Toilet Day helps The People's Own Organic Power Project advocate for the toilet-less in developing countries.

According to Shawn Shafner, founder and executive director of The POOP Project, the event was part of an ongoing campaign to “create constructive, educational poop-positive environments that allow people to move past this socially taboo topic in order to confront the global lack of access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene.”

Shafner founded the arts and education organization in response to the lack of public awareness about crucial sanitary issues. Sadly, he notes, children are the most susceptible to illnesses caused by poor sanitation, resulting in 4,000 preventable deaths every day. Yes, each day, inadequate hygiene kills in epidemic proportions.

“World Toilet Day is a way of honoring the modern plumbing system that most of us take for granted,” says Shafner. “But we’re also aware that this system presents a looming disaster this decade as fresh water becomes more scarce, even in major U.S. cities.”

Blogger Deanna Neil posted a good question and answer dialog with Shafner, including his assertion that America’s sewage system is old and overburdened and, moreover, using “fresh water to flush our poop is simply not sustainable.” He also offers a number of ways to learn about water and sanitation issues and advocate for change.  Kudos to the “Puru” of POOP.

You may have thought the Professor was kidding about doing the Big Squat in honor of World Toilet day.

You would have been wrong.

One of our agency partners, Zeta Interactive, got into the mood big time:

The Big Squat from Zeta

The Big Squat from Zeta

While there’s nothing better than a bunch of creatives with a good toilet story, the Big Squat had a serious purpose: to help raise awareness for the 2.5 billion people who don’t have access to sanitation.  Organized by the World Toilet Organization (the other WTO), donations to the cause are accepted here.

It’s World Toilet Day.  A perfect day to hug your plumber.

The premise of World Toilet Day is to remind us all of the serious sanitation problems facing much of the world.  Problems that affluent countries rarely think about.  Until you study World History and learn about the Plague for the first time.

The first rate sanitary systems we enjoy in North America are indeed due to our advanced product technology, but also to the plumbers who protect the health of our nation every day.

So in honor of World Toilet Day,  the Professor urges you to do three things:

1. Make a donation to your favorite clean water charity.

2. Go ahead and do the Big Squat.

3. Hug your plumber. And tell him or her “thanks.”

The iconic 1930s American Standard ad

The iconic 1930s American Standard ad