Students encouraged to save water – by peeing in the shower

A pair of students from the University of East Anglia (UEA) are asking students to join their new environmental initiative – to save water by peeing whilst they shower.

Debs Torr and Chris Dobson are representing UEA in the Npower Future Leader’s Challenge, which tasked them with creating a new environment-saving campaign.

So they created #gowiththeflow, asking students at the university to save water by taking a whiz while they shower in the morning, rather than using the 10-15 litres of water it takes to flush the toilet.

#gowiththeflow infographic

The team have produced a small infographic to help explain their initiative (Image: Chris Dobson)

Yet the campaign has since gone national, with its media coverage becoming yesterday’s most read article on the BBC News website, as well as articles on the Huffington PostIrish Examiner, ITV News, and the Metro.

Co-founder Chris Dobson told The Linc: “Our original intention was for the campaign to be targeted at UEA students, but it seems to have taken off!

“We’re getting messages of support from all over the world, and sincerely hope that more people will consider their water consumption; a resource we largely take for granted.”

It’s estimated that each student could save 4,380 litres per year by using the shower instead of the toilet once a day – enough to take another 70 showers (and have some left over for a cup of tea).

That also means a monetary saving of approximately £7.50 per student per year, which Chris thinks isn’t quite enough to see rents come down for most students.

Those who live in halls, though, might have an advantage; he noted that “students staying on-campus [might see a benefit], since there could be a drastic reduction in aggregate water consumption on campus”.

Chris admits that the campaign has been a contentious issue. “People either seem to love it or hate it,” he explains. “But that’s exactly what we want. We’re trying to challenge conventional behaviour.”

Yet what can be said about the main contention point – would this be entirely sanitary? Chris seems to think so. “UEA is a leader in the field of environmental research, and we’ve held discussions with environmental and medical staff,” he said.

“We’ve been assured that there is no risk in peeing in the shower, since urine is sterile and would be carried down the drain by water anyway.”

There’s even an incentive to switch your routine – the duo are offering the opportunity to win a range of £10 shopping vouchers at retailers such as Starbucks, Nando’s, and Amazon for those who are willing to share their habits on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #gowiththeflow.

For more information, and to keep updated with the campaign, you can find them on Facebook and Twitter.

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