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By Roz Rogoff

About this blog: In January 2002 I started writing my own online "newspaper" titled "The San Ramon Observer." I reported on City Council meetings and other happenings in San Ramon. I tried to be objective in my coverage of meetings and events, and...  (More)

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Getting rid of an old toilet

Uploaded: Apr 21, 2014

Well the title of this says it all. It isn't glamorous but sometimes it is necessary to get rid of an old toilet. I've seen some that were turned into planters, but I have more appropriate crockery for that.

In February I replace my regular height toilet with a chair height toilet. The small toilet is in good condition and I thought someone could use it. My neighbor, who put in the new toilet for me offered to break the old one into pieces to throw away in the next trash pickup. I sometimes give "personalities" to inanimate objects, and I didn't want to see the little toilet smashed to pieces.

Instead I had my yard man put it in the front of the house, and I put a sign on it saying
I also put out a 17 year old microwave oven with the same sign. After a couple of days the microwave was gone, but the toilet was still there.

I called Waste Management to ask if they would pick it up in the next trash pickup. They said it would cost around $60 to take it away, but they would take it for free as part of their special pickup in May. So I asked my neighbor to bring it back into the back yard. He again offered to smash it into pieces, but I said I'd rather wait.

Last week I decided to try listing it on FreeCycle-San Ramon. FreeCycle is a volunteer organization that recycles items from people who wants to get rid of them to others on the list that can use them. The goal is to keep waste from going to the dump. So I emailed a listing for my toilet.

I know, you're thinking "Who would take a used toilet?" Well someone replied to the listing asking for pictures. "Have a pic? Thanks Sent from my iPhone" So I took three photos and emailed them. He (or She, I couldn't tell from the name) replied "Dont see the pics." So I posted them in my FreeCycle photo album on Yahoo.

At the same time I received an email from another FreeCycler suggesting I give or donate the toilet to Urban Ore.

"I'm not sure if you have heard of Urban Ore in Berkeley... but they will pick up household items that they can then recycle. We have had them pick up used toilets and they grind them up and recycle the porcelain... just a thought. If you google Urban Ore you can find a phone # and then you leave a message and they call you back with the date they'll be in the area..."

I contacted the pic's person, and he/she still had not seen them. I was starting to suspect that this person was just jerking me around. So I took down the pics and called "Outside Trader," Urban Ore's Pickup service, and left a message.

A man from Outside Trader called me yesterday. He will pick up the toilet tomorrow around noon. He asked for $10 for the pickup. That's a better deal than what Waste Management wanted and the toilet would be recycled into something useful.

I couldn't recall the exact amount Waste Management wanted to take the toilet away, so called Waste Management again to get the information for this blog. The Customer Service person I spoke to tried way too hard to be helpful. I know they are under scrutiny, but that kind of syrupy interaction creeps me out.

She didn't know what they charge to pick up the toilet, but she gave me the phone number for Waste Management's Hazardous Waste Hotline pickup. She also suggested I call Habitat for Humanity, which accepts building materials for new and remodeled homes.

I called the Habitat for Humanity contributions number and left a message. Someone called back 15 minutes ago. They would accept the toilet but I had to bring it to their location in Oakland. I don't have any way to get it there, so Outside Trader will take it tomorrow to Urban Ore to break it up into recyclable porcelain.
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Posted by mloliver, a resident of San Ramon,
on Apr 22, 2014 at 9:55 am

I drive past Urban Ore in Berkeley often, (Hollis near Ashby) and always wondered what kinds of things they recycled. I stopped in one day and the answer to the question is, -almost everything. That day they were having a special sink event outside and they had literally hundreds of sinks for very low prices. Most were used, some more used than others, but all serviceable. It's definitely an interesting place.

I suspect your old toilet is an old six gallon/flush job or they would likely resell it rather than grind it up. The only ones they resell are the low flow type.

Check out their website.


Posted by Roz Rogoff, a resident of San Ramon,
on Apr 22, 2014 at 12:46 pm


The toilet was new when I bought my house in 1998. It had just been installed. It is a 1.6 gal. low flush Lamosa. I replaced it because I needed the taller model, well as you know, because I'm over 70 now.

You are still so athletic, you probably don't need a chair height yet. I loved the photo of you on your horse, beautiful animal.

Anyway the truck picked it up at 11:30 am. I hope Urban Ore can resell it because it works well and is in great condition.


Posted by Here's Johnny, a resident of San Ramon,
on Apr 22, 2014 at 3:14 pm

Must be a slow news day in San Ramon, Roz. Give us a report on the performance of your new low flow hi-seated toilet!

Posted by Clint, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Apr 22, 2014 at 4:35 pm

Yes, and what color polish did you put on your toes today, Roz?

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Apr 22, 2014 at 6:31 pm

actually the new pot is about 77 inches up from the floor so one can peak out the window while passing time...

in my opinion it's way high up so how could anybody possibly know the color of their toe polish...

i installed a strobe light so things move more easily...

plus there are some things i keep private...very close to my chest...

that's the kind of person i am...

Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Apr 22, 2014 at 6:40 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.

I don't write news. I write a blog, which means whatever I feel like writing about. I used to write about San Ramon, but even in Pleasanton someone might need to replace a toilet and dispose of the old one.

The new toilet is a Champion 4 from American Standard. It was on sale at Home Depot last summer. It has a 1.29 gallon flush which is a 20% reduction in water use over my old 1.6 gallon toilet.

Zone 7, where Pleasanton gets its water, is requesting a 25% cut in water use, with 5% cut from indoor use. Web Link

It might be a good idea to replace an older toilet with a newer more efficient model. Maybe you guys don't care, but someone else in Pleasanton might find this information useful.

And no, I don't paint my toenails.


Posted by resident, a resident of San Ramon,
on Apr 23, 2014 at 7:59 am

77 inches up from the floor. That is a high 'throne'. That is almost 6 1/2 feet!! I hope you don't get a nose bleed up there.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Apr 23, 2014 at 6:33 pm

"throne"'s called high waters model mean you didn't know?

Posted by Joe the Plumber , a resident of another community,
on Apr 24, 2014 at 9:45 am

Remember those old models, where the tank was high up on the wall -- like where Michael Corleone got that pistol in The Godfather? Web Link

I wonder why we don't return to those -- with all that elevation drop, they might use even less water. I bet Roz knows the answer.

Posted by Roz Rogoff, a resident of San Ramon,
on Apr 24, 2014 at 11:35 am


I didn't know the answer, but it is a good question. So I checked eBay to see if anyone was selling an antique toilet wall tank and sure enough someone is (you can find anything on eBay) Web Link

I took the dimensions for the tank, subtracted about 1" from all sides for the thickness of the wood, multiplied the adjusted dimensions to get the cubic inches, and divided by 231, which is the number of cu in a gallon, and the total came out to about 6 gallons. So those early toilets used more water, not less.

Posted by Joe the Plumber, a resident of another community,
on Apr 24, 2014 at 11:57 am

... if they were filled to the brim? With no submerged revolver? They must have had a bobber valve, dontcha think? We need to figure out the greater scouring force of the H20 when it falls from that height, than when it just trickles out of the attached tank.

Is your math up to that? I bet somebody's is. What about it LLab rats?

Posted by Roz Rogoff, a resident of San Ramon,
on Apr 24, 2014 at 1:08 pm


If you were really a plumber you would know that the new low flow toilets use a plunger valve with a larger trap opening to work effectively with a lot less water.


Posted by Roz Rogoff, a resident of San Ramon,
on Apr 24, 2014 at 7:10 pm


I removed your last post because the link is offensive.


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Apr 25, 2014 at 2:31 pm

Roz...are you absolutely certain that I posted it?

I would never deliberately try to offend you.

SORRY...Cholo Pololo Mololo

Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Apr 26, 2014 at 11:48 am

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.


You posted a link to an illustration of a bathroom sign of a Man, Woman, and Centaur (half man-half horse) asking for someone to explain it. I don't get it either. If that's all there was to it, I would not have removed it.

That first slide has a continuation arrow, which goes to an illustrated story about Jesus that I found very offensive. It appeared to be intended to offend people. So I hid your message with that link in it.

I realize now that you didn't know that other story is there. It surprised me that you would post anything like that.

Normally I don't censor posts, even if they are controversial, but this story did not add anything to my blog and it could be offensive to other readers.


Posted by james564, a resident of California Reflections,
on Oct 9, 2017 at 5:10 am

james564 is a registered user. is rated T for teen on Google Play, on iTunes well as dance relocations of their favored vocalists.

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