The “design” of these roadside public toilets can be forgiven, I think, because:
1) They are Toilettes Sèches (dry toilets) that don’t waste (or use for that matter) any water; 2) don’t use any chemicals at all; 3) derive energy from solar panels (if necessary); 4) produce a renewable material in the form of compost; 5) are accessible to the disabled; 6) are well maintained and clean; and most importantly; 7) They don’t smell!
It was the first time I’ve seen these environmentally kind and clean public toilets in France and well, tant mieux. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking: clean, public toilets in France? Isn’t that some sort of oxymoron? I am telling you I am witness to this. It’s hard to imagine, I do realize – but it’s for real.
You might think, EIUW! It must have a horrible odor, but it doesn’t. There’s an aeration system that magically helps this issue.
How does it work?
It looks like any other restroom you’ve seen but it’s quiet because there’s no flush of water. Once you do your thing in that toilet, the “deposit” is distributed evenly via a type of conveyor belt. This is activated by the user pressing a pedal next to the toilet. The accumulated human waste and toilet paper are broken down with the help of earthworms. It’s basically compost (much like the compost in gardens) and the process is so efficient, these toilet houses only need to be drained every 5 to 10 years. The compost needs to be removed twice a year or every 3 to 4 years depending on the amount of use. The final compost can be dried and/or removed and used as any other type of compost.