Comment 28134

By todd (anonymous) | Posted January 11, 2009 at 20:10:46

This is THE question: What IS the ethical choice? The questions can be complicated and the answers are constantly changing.

The toilet example is a perfect one. What toilet SHOULD people buy now? What toilet will cost the least in the long run and save the most water?

Not all toilets are created equally. The cheapest toilet may not last as long and it may not flush as thoroughly requiring more than one flush per... event. If the valve leaks quietly for a couple of years you might as well keep your old toilet. There's lots of people out there testing toilets right now.

(link(a little gross)->

Based on reliability, durability, and efficiency, there are two standards that qualify a toilet as being environmentally 'kind' and make them eligible for government grants:
The U.S. EPA WaterSense Specification and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power Supplementary Purchase Specification.

That $130 toilet at the Home Depot may be great, but it is not currently US EPA certified and it only got the Los Angeles SPS in December, 2008. So at the time that we started offering 'our' toilet on the ECC site, the only comparable, grant-eligible toilet at the Home Depot cost over $300.

We chose the specific toilet we did based on consumer reports, warranty, cost of replacement parts, and satisfactory treatment of the workers who made them. It was the best we could do. We're hoping that the ECC turns into a reliable resource that will allow people to make good choices without spending hours becoming experts (in toilets or whatever).

It's quite possible the Home Depot has just put us out of the toilet business. I think that's great. I'm not saying capitalism works or anything but if tree-hugging, cutting-edge has turned mainstream in a matter of months; it's good news.

It turns out there's new technology in toilets that will make them cheaper, better and use less water. Stay tuned. We do welcome any ideas or suggestions. Todd

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