Airplane lavatories aren’t the best, we admit. Even though they are much cleaner and smell better than the washrooms on a train, they are still pretty cramped and the lack of windows only makes you feel more suffocated. And things, more often than not, go down south if the person before you makes a stinky mess.
But have you ever wondered what happens to all the poo? Where is it all going? Who’s cleaning it all up?
Old airline toilets would use large quantities of blue sanitation fluid, but the systems would generally leak, forming a rather big ball of blue ice and frozen feces *insert vomit emoticon*. So they had to think of a better alternative.
Nowadays, everything remains on-board, all thanks to a pretty complex process.
The keywords now are Teflon and Suction! Not in that particular order, though.
When we flush, a valve opens up inside which sucks up everything in the toilet bowl. It is then coated with Teflon, the material non-stick pans are made of. The waste is then moved through pipes and stored in a tank located under the aircraft.
On landing, all the waste is transferred to a honey truck (fancy that for a name of a truck that’s carrying poo) via a powerful hose
This is basically a sewage vehicle. Once all the poo is sucked out, the tanks are sanitised. The honey truck then takes the waste to its right place – the sewer. Being the operator of a honey truck might not be the dream job, but it’s an important one nonetheless.