Eco-Friendly Toilets: Everything You Need to Know

A field of wildflowers with an eco-friendly toilet on the right side of the image.

Eco-friendly toilets reduce water consumption, conserving our most precious and rapidly depleting natural resources. 

Toilets account for more than 30% of a household's water usage. Second only to outdoor water use, a building's restrooms are often the least efficient rooms in the entire structure.  

If it's time to install eco-friendly toilets with water and energy efficiency features, check out this guide to learn everything you need to know about these environmentally conscious toilets.

Key Takeaways:

  • Toilets have a significant environmental impact involving water consumption, energy use, paper waste, and ecological pollution.
  • Waterless toilets, like composting and incinerating toilets turn human waste into small particles you can introduce back into the natural environment.
  • Dual flush and low-flow models significantly reduce the amount of water used. These systems use 1.6 gallons per flush, some even as low as 0.8.

A Toilet's Impact

A toilet's impact on the environment comes down to four main factors with hefty consequences. These factors include:

  • Water consumption
  • Energy use
  • Paper waste
  • Ecological pollution

Toilets use a significant amount of treated water. It's often the same water that comes from the building's clean water system. That means the water used to flush toilets is as clean as drinking water from the tap. 

Clean drinking is scarce in many places throughout the world. Four billion people in the world experience water shortages for one or more months every year. The more areas that face drought and extreme weather caused by climate change, the more need for eco-friendly fixtures increases. 

Image of an atlas of the world showing areas where water scarcity is at its highest percentage.


What eco-friendly toilet would be ideal for your home or business? Let's review the most popular types of environmentally conscious toilets.

6 Eco-Friendly Toilets for Residential and Commercial Applications  

There are hundreds of options to choose from when selecting the best eco-friendly toilets for your needs. Here are six of the most popular types:

1. Composting Toilets  

Composting toilets don't function like traditional models. They utilize natural decomposition processes in a separate system outside or a unit attached to the toilet. 

These fixtures require little to no water and are classified as waterless models. They don't use water to flush waste into the septic or sewer. Instead, the toilet turns human waste into nutrient-rich compost.

2. Incinerating Toilets   

These toilets incinerate human waste using electricity to burn it and turn it into sterile ash. You can then dispose of the waste anywhere in the natural environment or throw them into the trash. 

Incinerating toilets don't require water to function. While they do use electricity, they are still an ecological and economical choice

Power the system using renewable energy for added sustainability. These systems are especially useful in remote areas where public sewers and septic tanks aren't available.     

3. WaterSense Fixtures  

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) developed the WaterSense program to promote the manufacturing of water-efficient plumbing products. You can identify them with the WaterSense sticker.

These fixtures are as efficient as possible and are in line with the EPA's efficiency standards. The program encourages consumers to purchase eco-friendlier toilets and other plumbing fixtures. 

The specifications requirement mandates that these fixtures reduce water usage by 20% or more, translating to 1.28 GPF rather than the typical 1.6 GPF minimum standards.

Infograph of the water savings when switching older toilets to new WaterSense models

According to the EPA, by switching to a WaterSense toilet, users can save up to 60% of the water their household would use without it. This means an average American family can save approximately 13,000 gallons of water a year. Commercial buildings could save 39 billion gallons of water annually if they all switched.

4. Bidet Fittings

Water consumption isn't the only concern when it comes to toilets. Paper waste is another significant issue. While all toilet paper eventually breaks down, some can take longer and cause clogs in the system. Bidets eliminate the need for toilet paper by cleaning your skin with a stream of water. 

While these toilets use a little more water, the amount is negligible compared to what you will save on paper products. Install a bidet toilet or retrofit your fixture with a bidet fitting using a fixed feature attached to the toilet seat.

5. Dual-Flush Actuators  

Dual-flush toilets offer two buttons that allow you to use only the amount of water needed to flush. You can use one for a full flush, meaning it uses roughly 1.6 gallons of water per flush (GPF). The other is a half flush option for liquid waste, releasing around 0.8 GPF, using only the minimum amount of water per flush.

These models are a simple way to save water, especially in commercial buildings. Some toilets have buttons on the top of the tank, while others use remote flush plates. 

One nice thing about these systems is that you can retrofit a dual flush actuator to most standard toilet cisterns without replacing the entire system.

These flush plates are easy to install, as illustrated in the video below. If you have any questions or concerns, you can reach out to the product manufacturer for support and troubleshooting advice.  

6. Low-Flow Models   

As the name suggests, these toilets use a low water flow to flush waste without sacrificing performance. For a fixture to qualify as a low-flow device, it must use 1.6 GPF or less. Older toilets can use as much as six gallons, meaning these fixtures are nearly four times as efficient. 

These fixtures don't require special installation tools, so their installation process is straightforward. However, if you opt for an ultra-low-flow option, you will need a particular type of bowl, cistern, and flush mechanisms. 

These toilets are ideal for areas with water restrictions because they use as little as 0.8 GPF.

Sustainability Meets Durability with Geberit Plumbing Fixtures  

For sustainable plumbing fixtures, Geberit is a name you can trust. We operate with a strong conviction to create sanitary products that are durable and good for the environment. 

We develop high-quality in-wall cisterns and flush plates that offer water-saving features like dual flush and low-flow. The time for installing eco-friendly toilets is now, and Geberit has you covered.

Contact us today to learn more about all our eco-friendly plumbing fixtures and fittings.