What Really Happens On A Moving Airplane When You Flush The Toilet


Anyone who’s ever used a toilet on a moving airplane must have always wondered what really happens to their excrement. As a kid, most of us might have thought that they are thrown out of the moving airplane down onto unsuspecting people.

Which Isn’t Entirely False Though

Moving airplane, toilet

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In older times when commercial airlines were not a thing, primitive airplane careers did not have a built-in toilet. The only way you could answer mother nature’s call was with the help of a bottle or a bucket. And yes, those bottles and buckets would then be thrown down into the unsuspecting world below.

Moving airplane, toilet

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A New Method Had To Be Developed After Pressurized Cabins Were Invented And Commercial Airlines Became Easily Available

Moving airplane, toilet

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Buckets and bottles would no longer work inside a pressurized cabin as throwing them out became impossible and keeping them inside the airplane would result in the passengers getting a good(bad) whiff of their own excrement.

So The Scientists Came Up With A Solution

Moving airplane, toilet

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The solution was Anotec, a blue gel which had deoderent-like properties to combat the bad smell and help flush away the waste every time the toilet was used.

But Anotec Came With Its Own Problems

Moving airplane, toilet

Image credit: Express

A moving airplane has already enough load to carry. On top of that it had to carry hundreds of litres of Anotec on each flight. This resulted in wastage of fuel and lessened the passenger carrying capacity of an airplane.

Toilet Waste Would Also Accidentally Leak And Fall Down On The Earth Resulting In Damage To Property

Moving airplane, toilet

Image credit: Slate

Since a moving airplane is so high up, the waste that leaks from its toilet freezes into ice before it rains down on cars and buildings which does a lot of damage to them.

Finally, In 1975, A Person Called James Kemper Came Up With The Design Of The Modern Airplane Toilet

Moving airplane, toilet

Image credit: Fast Company

These modern airplane toilets use a vacuum system to flush the toilet. Anytime it’s flushed, a valve is opened on the sewer line which sucks away the waste back to the sewer line which is stored in the back of the airplane far away from the passengers.

Moving airplane, toilet

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Around 230 Gallons Of Sewage Is Created This Way On Long Flights

Moving airplane, toilet

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Which is siphoned off each time the plane lands by the waste crew at the airport.

Moving airplane, toilet

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Now you finally know what really goes on in airplane lavatories!


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