Admittedly, the TFM FacilityBlog Friday Funny touches upon the restroom rather frequently. Last week, we focused on a story about toilet paper (but very special toilet paper); the previous week featured a bonus post that examined restroom hygiene habits. And the list goes on…but with good reason.
Restroom cleanliness is one of the top concerns for facility management professionals. Maintaining these areas and keeping them functional is a constant battle—and it’s one that resonates both with facility managers and restroom users…particularly in high volume spaces that are open to the public.
In San Francisco, a group of designers, landscape architects, and engineers from Hyphae Design Laboratory and Urban Biofilter in Oakland, CA have joined together in an effort to combat one of the most significant urban restroom challenges—public urination. Lack of suitable facilities is one problem; the simple biological consequences is another. The PPlanter attempts to address both with one incredible solution. As the language on the website explains, “PPlanter is a rapidly deployable, reconfigurable public urinal and sink that uses modular biofilters to treat urine and wastewater.”
Ideally, as strategically located devices are installed in and around the city, people will opt to use PPlanters instead of relieving themselves on trees, bushes, buildings, and other inappropriate places. The goal of the device (which is in the prototype stages) is to convert the annoyance of public urination into a positive thing, so the very substance blamed for unpleasant smells and sights could be turned into a positive way to nourish the plantlife it once destroyed.
The prototype device was unveiled on October 20, 2012 at the Urban Prototyping festival in San Francisco. And at the conclusion of the event, the device will be refined based on user feedback. Eventually, the PPlanter will start popping up at “events, construction sites, and businesses that need urinals + greenery.”
Enough babbling. Check out this video to see the PPlanter in action.