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Publication Date


Document Type

Class Project

Study Type

ENV 300


Environmental Science and Policy


A move toward sustainability involves identifying areas where we can recycle and reuse our resources, and an area greatly overlooked is our own waste matter. The scale of population and the effluence it creates has made management of human waste a necessary endeavor to pursue. Collecting and treating human waste in wastewater treatment plants as is currently done has served a tremendous importance in creating a healthier, cleaner and more sanitary society. However, current treatment methods make human waste a waste product, while using the valuable resource of potable water both to clean and to dispose of in an environment not conducive to its inherent decomposition capacities. This paper will explore an alternative approach to wastewater treatment at Smith College through the installation of composting toilets at the newly renovated athletic fields. In an effort to reach sustainability goals set forth in the 2009 SCAMP report, composting toilets are a viable way to minimize water use on campus, while simultaneously returning nutrients to the soil, minimizing contamination to our waterways and setting forth a new agenda as a model for a new culture of sustainability.


©2011 Emily Gannon