Falling a drop of water

Water & Waste Management

Being a waste and water engineer, this is definitely Molly’s area of expertise. Friends joke about sending gifts of chocolates and wine to her (through the sewers!), but who’s laughing now…

No taps, no toilets, no showers, no rivers…A lot of us take for granted the availability of water for drinking, cooking, washing and other domestic uses. In the Stauning Alps, Greenland everything will be frozen and for the duration of our 4-week expedition we’ll have no access to running water. This in itself poses a huge challenge.

We’ll need to melt snow to make drinking water. This will be a time consuming activity. Snow is mostly composed of air so it will require a surprising amount of snow to produce a litre of water. This will no doubt make us appreciate this valuable resource even more.

We’ll need to wash by rubbing ourselves down with snow. An experience I’m not looking forward to! We’re limited on the amount of fuel we can carry and therefore only taking enough to cover us for melting snow for drinking and cooking, not washing.

We’ll need to make our own toilet. In accordance with Greenland permit stipulations, human waste and biodegradable toilet paper are allowed to be left at the expedition location if buried under snow or rocks. Our plan is to construct a long drop Ig-loo. Examples of several different designs are shown below –


Toileting in the arctic is no relaxing ritual, no newspapers or the like…it’s all business. Apparently there are several rules that should be followed:

  1. Avoid the wind – or at least face into it to protect your bum
  2. Biodegradable toilet paper – the “snow ball wipe” is way to hardcore!
  3. Be quick

Non-Human waste. We’ll be very frugal on all the food packaging we take out with us it’s all dead weight. All rubbish and waste products will be returned to the local Greenland airstrip for correct disposal. Nothing will be left in the mountains.

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