I have a bit of a beef with automatic units in washrooms. Auto flush urinals are great, you walk up, do your thing, and when you walk, away it flushes, once, this however, is not the case with auto flush toilets. My school, Langara College has a lot of auto-flush toilets and recently, I have tried to become more self conscious about being ecological. I have never really bought bottled water, but that’s mainly out of principle since I just think it’s silly to pay such a premium for a resource that is pumped directly into your house, I have also tried to be aware of what I buy, and what I throw away.

Along my journey to ecological nirvana, I have found the auto-flush toilets at Langara to be extremely wasteful. They flush when you walk into a stall, they flush when you stand up from the toilet, and they’ll give you a goodbye flush as you leave the stall. My friend Alisa informs me that they’re fun when you shake your bum at them, and I understand the sanitary reasoning behind having auto-flush devices, but surely they’re only needed for post-washing devices like the towel dispenser or hand dryer.

Once we’ve finished what we came in to do, we get to the drying issue, this all of course is provided you wash your hands, if not, you may as well stop reading. Paper towels work like a charm, and if you’ve had the privilege to dry your hands in a place where they have actual cotton towels, then you really don’t need to be reading this either, but for the rest of us, we know paper towels really aren’t that great because it just becomes garbage afterwards, and some automatic paper dispenser, like the one at my work is infuriating, it won’t give paper when you wave in front of it, but you’ll be on the other side of the room and it will randomly advance the roll, so if you’re going to have one, please change the settings to automatically advance once one piece has been ripped, I like those the best!

After paper, we have air to help us dry our hands, Dyson Airblades are not only cool, but by far the best hand dryers out there. The old “press button, receive bacon” models are awful and outdated:


I think we all need to be aware of the choices that we’re making in our lives and to be aware of what’s going on around us, not just go day-to-day through the paces. Maybe there are settings that could be changed so that the toilets wouldn’t flush so frequently, or they can lower their inherent eagerness to flush, I don’t know, I”ll leave it to the people at Dyson, they seem to have it figured out.

2 Responses to Automatica

  1. Alisa says:

    Oh my gosh, so many things to say.
    1. That button/bacon thing is HILARIOUS. I have never seen that before.
    2. The Dyson Airblades at Pacific Centre suck balls. They automatically shut off while your hands are still in there, and you’re left thinking, “That wasn’t 12 seconds, and my hands are not dry!”
    3. The Xlerator is still my favourite hand dryer. You know, the one that totally blows the skin on your hands sideways as it dries them.
    4. Once upon a time, at a rest stop along the I-5, I came across a toilet flushing device that you activate with your foot; it’s near the ground, or on it, I can’t remember, and you step on it to make the toilet flush. No need to use your hands! Brilliant!
    5. One of the best solutions to the hand dryer situation, if you are a fan of jeans, or other sturdy, dark pants, is wiping your hands on your pants! The key is to spread out where you’re wiping so it’s not a big wet blotch in one spot, and then you’re set.

    I think that’s all I’ve got. Phew.

  2. Graham says:

    I’ve heard a rumor that the dyson dryers are actually quite unsanitary. They’re so powerful that they draw air and fecal remnants from the floor up into the air for us to breathe in. I don’t know if this is 100% true but thought I’d throw it out there.

    (They’re by far the best in the drying business though)

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