What to Know about using Bathrooms during the Pandemic

Many people currently avoid public restrooms, but that isn’t always feasible.  With many people traveling with kids, public restroom stops will need to be a thing, and some may want to pack disposable gloves and of course avoid touching anything that they don’t have to.  You should make sure that you disinfect your hands when you go to the car and wipe down those “high touch” areas that contain germs.

But, that still dose pose a risk.  Some may not realize that even just flushing the toilet pushes germs into the air.  Plus, COVID-19 can be excreted in feces too.  If you don’t have to use a public restroom, don’t’ do so.  That of course is an obvious thing to know, but the thing is, you won’t be able to always avoid this. however, we’ll go over how risky they are in this article, and what you need to know.

Public toilets are definitely hard to navigate, since they are small, and you can’t always socially distance. They also aren’t totally ventilated, and of course, with toilets being flushed, that can send particles into the air.  Hot air dryers also are another part of it, since they can disperse the virus around.

Finally, there is the hazard of course of the doorway, and if you touch those surfaces, it may spread the virus as well.

Toilet shot in detail in a white subway tile bathroom

However, the biggest issue, is the close contact, so you should try to use a single stall restroom if you can’t that you don’t’ need to share. But, wearing masks and social distancing can mitigate the risks as well. They are the most effective way to stop this, especially if people aren’t wearing masks.

Wearing a mask is mostly to protect others, rather than shielding yourself, but if others aren’t wearing them, that isn’t protecting you.  Some may also have different things in where they will taper off the sinks or urinals to space out visitors.  If you see that the restroom is crowded, try to wait until they’re done, especially since you reduce the risk of these particles in there.

Do make sure that you wash your hands as well as you can.  This is definitely something that you have to do, since this is one of the few low-tech remedies that we have, and something you can stick to. If you do have disposable gloves, wear them when in the restroom, throwing them in the trash when you leave.  You can even use a plastic bag over your hands. But, if you are going to wash your hands, do this for 20 seconds with soap and hot water afterwards. Dry with paper towels and try not to use the air dryers as much, since they can spread the coronavirus around, and that may put you at risk too.

Finally, use a paper towel to turn off the faucet, and then throw it away. Public restrooms are definitely still risky, but when you’ve gotta go, you gotta go, so; make sure you understand the risks when you do use them, and of course what this may mean for you as well.

Coffee to Fuel? More Likely than you Think!

Are you tired of your old coffee grounds being sent to rot in landfills? Well, there is a potential for a recyclable alternative to this, and it may work. The problem is, it’s hard to really make this into a valuable resource.  Our world drinks 2 billion cups of coffee each day, which creates 6 million tons in this alone.  When they go the landfill, this will release into the atmosphere, contributing of course, to global warming. A company called bio-bean though, is taking 7000 tons of these to use as biofuels.  They started to use this at first in diesel buses in London, but it really wasn’t viable, so they used this instead for industrial and household use.  These fuels then release greenhouse gases when burned, but if they’re replaced with other carbon based fuels, there is a chance this can reduce the emissions by 80% when compared to sending these to the landfill.

Bio-bean has raised over $7 million in funding, and it recycles grounds that are collected from Costa Coffee, the London Stansted airport, and of course the Network Rail, which is a UK rail system.  This is an innovative solution, and while it is on a small scale, this is definitely making changes.  While it has been impacted by the pandemic, operations are of course continuing. While coffee outlets in the UK have closed temporarily, they manage to get the grounds from different recycling partners, but at much lower volumes.

Should grounds be used as fuel? Well, this can be used to remove paper or plastic cups and bags.  From there they’re passed through a dryer, creating a screening process, and are finally processed into products such as biomass pellets and of course fire logs. This also offers a natural flavor extract that comes from this too.

The pellets that are made can power the industrial boiler, heat commercial greenhouses, or even to dry cereal crops, while the coffee logs are used in wood-burning stoves in order to help heat homes.

It’s actually a fantastic fuel too.  They burn about 20% hotter and 20% longer than the normal wood logs which are used do, so it is a viable process, and something which is considerable in terms of size and scale.

These recycled coffee grounds have markable potential as fuel for a lot of people, but it also is good since it’ll save carbon and is a good alternative for dealing with coffee grounds waste or turning it into mulch.  These grounds are higher in sulfur and nitrogen than most wood, that emits harmful gases such as sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides when they are burned.  These commercial biomass pellets also have lower particulate emissions than most of the wood logs.

Of course, despite the pandemic, they plan to expand into northwestern Europe within the next five years, giving a great alternative fuel to other people that will help them as well.

Are you in Danger of COVID-19 in the Water?

Can you get the coronavirus from swimming, or does chlorine kill it? We’ll answer these questions here!

With beaches and lakes being flooded with people during memorial day weekend even with a stay-at-home order, you might wonder if this can infect you if you go swimming. The main way is through respiratory droplets, and that happens within 6 feet of another person. So what does it mean in bodies of water.  Currently, the CDC says there’s no evidence that you can get the coronavirus through swimming in the pool, and that if you clean it with chlorine or bromine should inactivate the virus. So why are pools remaining closed? Well it’s because it spreads easily. For example, if someone spits out a mouthful of water, that can infect people close on by. There is also the fact that humans love to shit on the shallow end sand some will play a game and they’re more likely to get it from the saliva of people talking and shouting.

Not only that, they tend to have a lot of surfaces which are touched a lot, such as railings and steps. This is hard to fully keep cleaned out, and bathrooms, lunch lines, and even shady indoor areas can get flooded with people and foot traffic. So simply put, it isn’t that case, mostly because humans love to touch things.

But what about the lake or beach? Well some places have them closed off to prevent the spread. Again, it’s because of how many people are there.  many beaches in California are closed, while others are open for active recreation, which might be enforced by a beach patrol vehicle or lifeguards. So hanging out to grill or go on a picnic won’t happen. You should limit the people that go to the beach with you. Water is safe as long as you social distance from others you’re not in close contact with a lot.  If someone is sick and the coronavirus is in the water, it’s very unlikely to transmit this, since this can dilute the secretions, making it difficult for those particles to come in contact with you.

The problem is, you might not even know that someone’s infected, because there are asymptomatic people.

So can you go outside with friends on the lake.  This can spread more easily in enclosed areas or those who share the same air, which is why the opening of curbside pickups and outdoor dining is being phased.  You should check to see if these small gatherings are allowed.  You might have to rain check it as well if you’re not limited to only the people at home. Also look if you spend time with older people or those with a compromised immune system. Make sure you stay away from others, and don’t load the boat up with a bunch of people sitting near one another, and don’t share drinks.  Try to discourage reusable cups as well.  You should keep everything socially distant.

So yes, while it can be safe, please use your best judgement, and make sure that you’re being smart and safe. Remember just because it’s getting warmer doesn’t mean the coronavirus magically went away.