Friday, June 21, 2013

Three uses for an old toilet besides a planter

Last week at the end of replacing a leaky toilet tank for a friend I found myself with two entire toilets and a tank. The first step in my reuse project was to dismantle them. After I'd taken the tanks off and removed the spud and fill valve and handle I cleaned everything with Bar Keepers Friend. Then I Googled up reuse ideas for unwanted toilets. Does nobody take them apart but me?! All the ideas were for entire, assembled toilets! Freakin' petunias in the bowl and the tank, just sitting there looking like a toilet. I think the worst idea I read was to put the whole thing in the garage and store a bag of fertilizer in the empty bowl.

The next step in my toilet reuse project was to put the two stools in the car and take them to the dumpster. The trap set up makes them pretty terrible for anything. They're going to hold water and breed mosquitoes right side up. Upside down is not that useful either. They could hold up the ends of a board to make a bench, but I don't need a bench. I thought of stacking them somehow as the start of a porcelain totem pole. But that wouldn't go with the light'rd stobs that decorate my yard. I thought I might be able to bury them in such a way that just the front of the bowl sticks out of the ground like two eyelids. I could plant shrubbery for eyebrows, nose, mouth, mustache. Hilarious. But I don't even like pictures of faces. Anthropomorphic yard art is the last thing I want. So to the dump they went. (Read my last blog post if you want further insight into my limits for doing things strictly for sustainability. We can always mine the landfills later for toilets to crush up for concrete aggregate.)

The tanks on the other hand, those don't immediately trigger thoughts of private moments best forgotten. They're perfectly nice little glazed porcelain containers in an efficient shape. So here's what I did with them.

The first one now catches the condensate drip from my air conditioner.
If it weren't on the North side of the house this actually might be a good
opportunity for a planter. Instead I'm just using gravel
 to cover the holes in the bottom so it will drain out gradually
into the soil and not make a mess from splashing.
Can you guess what's in there?
The extension cord for my leaf blower!
I plugged up the holes in the bottom with metal plates and
steel wool in the one the cord goes through so mice won't go
in there. I put a piece of tape over the handle hole too,
after I took the pictures.
The last one is the huge tank from the 1950s toilet I was working on.
This one has a crack in one corner that makes it leak. I replaced it with a new1.6 gallon one by the same manufacturer
that miraculously fits. And it flushes fine. This tank from the '50s is different from the ones from the '90s in two ways. First of all it's a lot bigger. But more interestingly, is is glazed all over -- front, sides, back, inside. Everywhere but the bottom and the top lip. The other ones don't look that nice from behind. But since this one does I took advantage of that and used it as a table base for a scrap piece of granite somebody gave me. I think it's a sink cut-out. Double reuse points!

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