3. Prospect Park’s Composting Bathroom

This June, Prospect Park opened up an eco-friendly public bathroom in the Wellhouse Comfort Station, which is actually the last building left in the park which was designed by the park’s original architects, Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux. The building originally held a coal-powered steam engine, but over the years it fell into disrepair.

Now it has been turned into a public bathroom, with a twist. Its composting toilets use 3 to 6 ounces of water, which is 97% less than your typical toilet’s 1.6 gallons. The compost collected from the bathroom will be sucked into compact tanks under the earth, which are full of red worms and bacteria. If this goes well, it could become the model for other bathrooms, hopefully inspiring a more eco-friendly way of managing waste.

As part of the restoration, a new layer of paint was applied to the bathroom, restoring it to its original hues and a new roof was installed. In addition, major excavation efforts had to be done below the bathroom to make room for the composting bins.