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If It’s Yellow Let It Mellow: The Great Debate

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If It’s Yellow Let It Mellow: The Great Debate

by Jordan Laio, Networx

The topic of letting urine sit in the toilet until a number two comes along (known widely by the euphonic expression, “If it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down…”) can cause quite an emotional reaction in people. Especially when this approach is applied in a household with disagreeable family members or guests. Many would say the very thought is disgusting.

Some people, upon seeing something distasteful in the toilet bowl before they use it, will actually pre-flush before they evacuate their own waste into the bowl, presumably because they want their own waste to have a full bowl of clean water all to itself.

I realize that this is one of those topics where it’s near impossible to convert anyone, in which case I’m preaching to the choir. Well, so be it, because it needs to be said.

The Water We Waste

What is truly disgusting is how our current human waste disposal system works in the United States. We take about 1.6 gallons of good drinking water to flush 10 ounces of urine and toilet paper down the toilet. In doing so, the 1.6 gallons become undrinkable.

Next, the water must be routed to a wastewater cleaning facility where it is processed, usually with heavy chemicals like chlorine, then processed once more to remove the chemicals that were used to decontaminate it. Then it is dumped into the rivers and oceans. In other words, we take perfectly good drinking water, make it toxic and then doubly toxic, clean it and then dump it into the environment.

In reaction to this massive waste of drinking water, countries like Singapore have created wastewater treatment facilities that clean wastewater effectively enough that it is considered safe to drink. Such facilities supply about 30 percent of Singapore’s drinking water.

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278 comments

+ add your own
6:17AM PDT on Mar 9, 2014

thank you

11:13PM PST on Nov 7, 2013

the smell can be aversive too. some people have really strong pee.

1:58AM PDT on Jul 15, 2013

Ι am pleasantly surprised to read such an article in Care2. The technique described is not new to my household, however I must point out this: in Greece, toilet paper is not flushed, because our sewer system can't support it. We use a wastebasket instead, where the used paper is disposed. Unless a similar system is employed in the US, I don't see how you can have a toilet bowl full of used paper that doesn't clog up every day.

1:34PM PDT on Jun 18, 2013

Thank you for the information. I neither thought about this nor heard the phrase before today. We will try it, but I plan to keep a box of baking soda in all of the bathrooms.

11:45AM PDT on May 18, 2013

thanks.....we have to do everything we can to save what we can, reduce our consumption and waste.........we do not inherit the world from our ancestors, but from our descendants.

11:44AM PST on Jan 14, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

10:00AM PDT on Apr 11, 2012

I was compelled city ordinances to get a low-flush toilet. It does clog up more easily. I got one in 1997, the next in 2009. It still is an issue. Any tips from anyone?

1:56AM PST on Feb 2, 2012

I agree it saves water. But who wants a bathroom that smells like urine.?

5:34PM PDT on Sep 28, 2011

maybe we should use more recycled water which is yellow anyway so everyone can use this method!

11:07AM PDT on Sep 28, 2011

Right on,

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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