Our national composting toilet code passed at the IAPMO Green Technical Committee Meeting in California this August!
Mission: Recode changes codes to legalize sustainable building practices by creating collaborative relationships with communities and regulators.

Why: We believe that human beings can use effective design to get our needs met while living in balance with the environment. The majority of our current structures are not in balance and as we damage the environment we are creating a situation that will be too toxic for us to live in. Water is the source of all life so Recode has begun by legalizing practices that conserve water and protect it from pollution. The next phase of Recode’s development will be land-use and zoning. Water, food and shelter, the three main pillars that support life and happiness.

We believe that codes can be redesigned to shift away from compartmentalization to an acknowledgment of the interconnectedness of all systems. One way to do this is by utilizing performance based regulatory frameworks. Performance-based codes stipulate what needs to be accomplished while providing flexibility about how it is accomplished. This allows for innovation to be integrated quickly into the built environment. 

Codes: We go directly to the codes that affect specific technologies. We began by legalizing graywater, have expanded the types of composting toilets that can be used in Oregon, have written a national composting toilet code for the International Association of Plumbers and Mechanical Officials, and advocate for a transition to a performance based code regulatory framework for on-site sanitation.

Community: Recode creates a pathway for community members to participate in creating the rules that govern them.

Process: To create a sustainable, resilient society we need to use intentional human process, good communication and transform oppressive power dynamics. 

Recode was an invaluable asset in the campaign for legalizing graywater reuse.  Recode ably coordinated the many groups working on this bill and brought the voice of the grassroots to the legislative table. Recode’s efforts to remove regulatory barriers to sustainability is incredibly important work.”                  –Ben Cannon, Oregon Representative


Recode Projects

Introduction to Policy Level Activism October 4-5th 2014

Thanks to our funders we are offering a two day training as an introduction to our methods and strategies. This is a great chance to learn how Recode has been so effective at changing codes so quickly and apply these lessons to your own passions.

Recode Draft Plumbing Code for Composting and Urine Diversion Toilets

Recode submitted our latest code collaboration to IAPMO’s Green Technical Committee for consideration in the 2015 Green Supplement. We invite your feedback on our draft code. Email feedback on specific sections to molly (at) recodeoregon.org.  Huge thanks to editor Mathew Lippincott and the entir

Advocating for Performance Based Codes

Performance based codes stipulate that systems remove a required amount of pollution from human “waste” before it is released to the land or water. Prescriptive codes only stipulate a systems look. Ecological sanitation has the potential to breakdown pharmaceuticals, unlike conventional wastewat

Ecological Sanitation Tour

Recode toured the state in 2012 to educate communities & regulators in Oregon about the benefits of creating "waste" treatment rules for Oregon that judge alternatives to septic and sewer systems on their performance and let alternatives compete on cost. Our goal was to lay the groundwork for a po

Legalized Graywater Reuse in Oregon

Recode organized the first public forum on graywater reuse in April 2008, co-sponsored by the Office of Sustainable Development. We invited the wider Portland community to discuss their desire for gray water reuse and their values around water. Recode mobilized a process that resulted in DEQ graywat

Legalized Site Built Composting Toilets in Oregon

Recode legalized site built composting toilets and non-NSF 41 certified manufactured composting toilets in 2011 through Reach Code 1307.4 amending OAR 918-465-0040 & 918-465-0070. Our performance based code protects human health while giving home owners an affordable option for installing compostin