All I needed to share was the title and I had you.
Take a look at the picture:
Sure looks like a typical urinal, but without the handle. For those of you not familiar with a urinal because you’ve never been in a men’s bathroom, it’s against the wall and you stand in front of it. To use. For peeing. Thus the name “urinal.” Ok, moving on.
The concept is pretty straightforward: urine is already a liquid, and gravity will take care of the flow. And based on the amount of water typically used in a toilet or standard urinal, there’s an enormous opportunity to save the planet. No, seriously, the water usage statistics are crazy (courtesy of Wired):
Go ahead, do the math. To quote HowStuffWorks in their article about waterless toilets, “A family with four males, each flushing the 1.5-gallon (5.7-liter) toilet three times a day will save 6,552 gallons (24,802 liters) of water a year by installing and using a waterless urinal [Source: ZeroFlush].” That’s a lot of water.
But why, one may ask, are you dedicating a post to a urinal? I don’t know, is the answer, except that I saw a bank of waterless urinals in the men’s room at an event last week, and I realized that every time I “use” one of those urinals, I hear a voice saying “waterless? Isn’t that gross? And why is there a butterfly logo about 1/3 of the way up the urinal on the inside?”
Let’s answer those separately. I call my blog “Random” on purpose. Because I have thoughts that are at times Random. File this one under Random.
Second, it does seem unsanitary and gross. But it’s actually not. There’s a little “trap” with liquid under the drain that is a filter. It needs to get changed every 7000 uses or so (who did the math in the lab?). The filter not only buffers the urine, but stops any odors from creeping back up. I didn’t make this up. Check out the “how it works” post. It’s a cartridge that needs to get replaced. It’s just like an oil filter or a filter in an air conditioning unit.
Now let’s talk about the butterfly logo, or the design that is on the inside. Welcome to the world of adult potty training. I’m not gonna go overboard here, but let’s just say that guys are not the best aim. Ask a woman. Forget about the toilet seat conundrum in a shared household — it’s just the facts. Check the floor. So that little logo took me back to the potty training efforts parents will use with boys. Like this set of “targets” you can buy to put in a toilet:
Yes, those are targets. Not to pick up and play with, but to help boys focus on where they are aiming. I remember using cheerios long ago, but of course someone now sells something.
And leave it to some brilliant designer trying to build the better urinal. Not only do they need to solve for the cleanliness without flushing, but there are all sorts of things to work out. The manufacturers apparently have peeing robots that can vary the “urinal input” so they can perfect the design, contour, and shape of the urinal to accept all different heights, sizes, stream pressure, directions, and …. ok, I’m done. You get it.
There. Feel educated? I told you it was random.
I'm Glenn Engler, Global Chief of Staff & Director of Corporate Strategy at Edelman. Husband, father, sports junkie.