Conservation By Urination

According to the Brazilian environmental organization SOS Mata Atlantica, a household that flushes its toilet one less time per day saves more than 1,100 gallons of water per year. So the organization has launched a TV ad campaign encouraging Brazilians to avoid a flush by peeing in the shower. The ad shows cartoons of everyone — from aliens to King Kong — urinating in the shower and ends with the slogan: “Pee in the shower! Save the Atlantic rainforest!” (Hmm: another Pareto improvement?) [%comments]


Given how heavy the Brazilian diet is on meat, just having people eat 5 lb less meat per year will do much better in terms of water conservation than urinating in the shower. Each pound of meat requires anywhere from 450-5000 gallons of water, so this idea, while good on the surface, is negligible in terms of water savings compared to lessening meat production.


that is the best commercial i have ever seen.


Wouldn't you want to turn the shower on to wash it away?


That would not be as helpful in most, if not all, of the US. Most modern building codes restrict the use of 3 gallon toilets for a more efficient 1.5 or even 1 gal. tank.

I got the 3 gallon figure by dividing 1100 gallons/year by 365 (days) to get the 1 flush amount. (FYI)

Humberto Massa

@Jimmy: heavy on meat? Rich Brasilian people maybe, but the 60% poor Brasilians only eat meat once a week. Rice, beans, corn flour and manioca flour are the staples of our diet.

Eric M. Jones

"We don't shower in your toilet, so please don't pee in our shower."


People need to be told to pee in the shower?

Janet V

Have to agree with Jimmy ... most of the Amazon deforestation is due to the ill-advised clearcutting for grazing, is it not?

Remind me to never, ever take a shower in Brazil.

Gary O'Brien

Been doing this for years, in addition to hewing to the old Sonoran Desert maxim: "If it's yellow, let it mellow. If it's brown, flush it down."

Jimmy is right, of course. But the pee-in-the-shower approach may help introduce his big-picture idea.

Gary O'Brien
Charlotte, NC

Humberto Massa

@Janet: our average temperature is 90°F. If you don't shower daily here in Brasil, no perfume or deodorant can stop your B.O. from becoming _really_ foul.

Michelle F.

Actually, since urine is sterile, there's no reason not to pee several times in the toilet before flushing (in addition to peeing in the shower, if one needs to pee before showering but obviously peeing in the shower while one is not showering is a bad idea).

Humberto Massa

@Janet: (2) ah, and the meat from the grazing you mentioned is consumed almost completely by European and middle eastern countries and the US.


People are gonna 'take time' peeing in the shower - and how much water will they use - extra - while peeing? About the same as a toilet flush?


Hate to break it to you Janet, but this happens in the US too. Often.

My question is, does this add any time to the average shower length? If so, how much extra water does the extra shower time waste?

Also, as if baths weren't wasteful enough, this widens the water use gap even further between showers and baths!

A final thought. In Europe, I've noticed a propensity to use the hand-held spray showers rather than the wall mounted ones found in the US. Is there any net water use difference between the two, on average? I find it takes much longer to shower using the hand-held ones, though that may just be because I'm not used to them.


Water scarcity is a local issue. Not eating meat that was raised using water in another area doesn't save your city any water. Unless you happen to a rancher, the water is coming from different sources, and the water source used for livestock may not even be overtaxed.


I follow this advice already...been doing it for years. It would be naive to think a majority of males haven't ever urinated in the shower. The commercial just brings to light the brilliance of the idea. It's taking multi-tasking to the next level.

As for the Brazilian diet, when the President Lula's goal is to guarantee at least one meal a day (even if it's just rice and beans) for his countrymen, I don't think the major concern is meat consumption.


"People need to be told to pee in the shower?"

I'm with Zach on this one.


What about those of us that take baths instead of showers, would the recommendation still apply?

Doctor Gonzo

Is this so shocking? I mean, come on: 50% of men admit to peeing in the shower, and the other 50% of men are lying.

Humberto Massa

@M.B.: eew. Baths are already somewhat unsanitary (stew in your own filth, eh?) and urinating in the bath won't score those already scarce good smell points. Anyway, anytime I bathe I also usually shower afterwards to finish cleaning up.