Potty Favors: Department of Environmental Protection Gives Cash for Old Crappers

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New York's mind is in the toilet.

Carter Strickland, Department of Environmental Protection commissioner, announced a plan that would make Sir Thomas Crapper cry with joy: The DEP has planned an upcoming toilet rebate program to swap 800,000 NYC loos with water-saving models.

That program would start in 2013 and would "reduce water consumption, typically one billion gallons per day, by 30 million gallons per day -- a 3% total reduction," the DEP announced. That's because newer, high-efficiency latrines only use 1.8 gallons of water -- compared to as many as 5 gallons on old versions.

If you are interested, you will likely get $125 for switching out your old pot, "covering all or most of the cost of a typical toilet."

A similar initiative ran from 1994 to 1997, and replaced 1.3 million city commodes and brought down water consumption by 90 million gallons per day.

Right now, the DEP wants companies to submit bids for recycling discarded toilets. Interested businesses have until April 4 to turn in proposals.

You might wonder: What can you do with an old toilet?

Quite a lot, in fact!

Turns out that porcelain can be mashed into powder and re-baked to make new toilets -- and tile, bathtubs, and sinks, too. Apparently some people even use it instead of gravel or for construction fill material.

Some other ideas? Bellingham, Wash., has made sidewalks out of recycled toilets! And check out these really pretty decorative tiles! Last but not least, how could we forget the most obvious idea: turning used thrones into flower planters!

Follow Victoria Bekiempis @vicbekiempis.

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