Drop-A-Brick is a clever PR campaign to cut water waste in severely parched California, a state with dwindling aquifers that is experiencing its worst drought in 500 years. It’s a project that can be implemented everywhere there is indoor plumbing, and the concept is sound – displace some tank water and over time, save buckets of the wet stuff. This is an ideal solution for those of us put off by the “if it’s yellow, let it mellow” credo, yet not yet ready to pee in our shower. Let’s not just read about water conservation and, instead, actually act to save some!
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Americans use more water flushing toilets than they do with any other daily activity. Compared to Europe, America was late to hop on high-efficiency plumbing fixtures – but that high-toilet-flush stat is likely true for most developed nations. Middle Eastern bathrooms are fast adopting western-style fixtures, including a predilection for EU-style bidets. Water waste is rising in this region that can least afford it, despite record rains in Jordan and elsewhere – so listen up desert nations: this brick shtick will work for us too.
The Indigogo campaign is a lighthearted way to convey a serious message, and given the myriad other puns the founders could have played with, the mild poop joke seems a wise choice. Project Drop-A-Brick is a not-for-profit, grassroots initiative, an eco-friendly improvement on the old trick of placing a clay brick in a toilet tank to save water. The mass of the brick displaces a half-gallon or so of tank water and reduces the amount used in each flush, with little impact to toilet performance.
Their new “brick” is made of nontoxic rubber and filled with a hydro-gel that expands when mixed with water. It’s pliable and fits inside almost every toilet tank. The gadget is more tank-friendly than a real clay brick and less water use means lower utility bills.
This brick costs $15, not exactly cheap but it will earn back its price tag over time. The campaign offers the usual crowd-sourcing fun stuff: you can give a brick to families that can’t afford them. You can buy them in 3-packs (keep in mind, this is California-centric where most suburban homes come with at least three bathrooms). There are “bag-of-bricks” deals for office buildings and motels, and the “brick wall” for bulk buyers. Or live like a “King or Queen of Your Thrown” and give $2500 to the cause to jump-start production, run longer shifts to get Drop-A-Bricks made sooner, and spread the word.
They’re not the first to jump aboard toilets as a weapon of mass-desertification – Green Prophet recently alerted you to the pee-in-the-shower craze – but Drop-A-Brick may prove to be a new bucket challenge. The developers figure each brick will save about 50 gallons of water a week. That’s astounding.
If you are in the U.S., check out their website and consider these as wise and wacky water-saving gifts. If you’re out of shipping reach like me here in Jordan – go for a walk, pick up a few stones, or indeed, a real brick – and pop it in your toilet tank. Sure, it’s fine to read about conservation (likely when sitting on your “throne”) – but take it a step further with a simple action to start saving water, in significant amounts, now.
Images from Drop-a-Brick