It’s the time of year, when our kids are going back to school. We’re usually focused on which teachers they’ll have, how many students will be in their classes or how safe it will be for them to get there. An aspect that is most times overlooked are the sanitary conditions in schools.
In the South-West of France, an elementary school in Saint-Germé took the bold step back in 2012 to install dry toilets in their new school building. The toilets look just like the ones we’re all used to – except that they work without water and there is no need to flush afterwards. There are 5 urinals and 7 cabins. The remaining grey water from hand washing is treated in reed beds.
According to the director of the school, the toilets have worked very well for the kids. They used them just like they would with water-flushed ones and there were no problems of adaptation.
Also, the cleaning personnel has been very happy with those toilets. They had the impression that they were easier to clean and that the facilities are generally less dirty.
While it was difficult in the beginning to convince the local authorities to try those new paths, it seems that the mothers in the town council were most open to trying this concept. The mayor stressed that critics were afraid that the number of students in this school would drop if there are no water-flushing toilets available. The opposite turned out to be true: more parents want to send their kids to this specific school because it implements a philosophy of treating resources in a sensible way.
It turned out to be a health step as well. With the new toilets, there had not been a major outbreak of gastroenteritis within the school. Even though there had been situations of infections in the past.
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