The small town of Nipomo, Cal., announced that before any business or residential property may be sold in the city, it must be retrofitted with water-saving plumbing fixtures.

This is a trend we are seeing throughout the country. Even water-rich areas of the country are requiring that low- and no-water toilets, urinals, and faucets be installed before a property is sold. Others are offering tax rebates to encourage their installation.

Saving water is the goal of these programs. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, an older, conventional toilet can waste up to 4,000 gallons of water per year. And a urinal may use more than 40,000 gallons of water annually.

But what should we do with these old toilets and urinals that are being replaced?

Fortunately, toilet and urinal recycling programs have sprung up around the country, and the old fixtures are being used in a myriad of applications.

"What typically happens is the toilet or urinal's porcelain is crushed," says Klaus Reichardt, founder and managing partner of Waterless Co LLC, manufacturers of no-water urinal systems. "The pebbles can be added to asphalt for paving roads or used in drainage projects."

This, according to Reichardt, not only eliminates the need to discard toilets into landfills, but reduces the need to mine for gravel, a cost savings that benefits the taxpayer and the environment.

Other uses of crushed porcelain from recycled urinals and toilets include:
• Building foundations. Facilities have earned LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification points by using recycled toilets and urinals in this way.
• Nature trails. You will be walking on old toilets and urinals when exploring San Antonio's Calaveras Park Nature Trail. More than a thousand recycled toilets and urinals were used to pave the park's trails.
• Mulch. Botanical gardens have found that crushed toilets and urinals are a welcome addition to mulch.