You’re in for a Treat


Waterless street urinal in London

Water is one of the most significant elements when it comes to sustainability. Much of the drought ridden west of the United States must deal with severe shortage of water supplies. As Americans, we have grown accustom to seemingly unlimited water at our disposal. Most Americans have cheap and clean water as a given utility in a household. Because of this, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the average American uses 78 a day. For those who live in a suburban house (most of us), the average increases to over 100 gallons a day.

Needless to say, these lifestyles are not sustainable. In an age of climate change and unpredictable severe weather, the need to conserve water has never been greater. And need is the greatest catalyst for ingenuity.

Many techniques have come to offset the amounts of water unknowingly used by the unwary. The bathroom, as expected, is the largest consumer of our water. Showers use on average 2.5 gallons per minute while turned on. A bathroom faucet on average (depending of pressure) uses two gallons per minute. Standard toilets today use 1.6 gallons per flush, while models over ten years old use 3.5 to 7 gallons per flush. My favorite technique that is becoming increasingly common in my home of California is waterless urinals. These efficient and environmentally friendly commodes rid unnecessary water and utilize gravity to bring the dispensed liquid away. A special chemical solution is used to keep odors away. NBC Universal has recently began a sustainability campaign called “Green is Universal.” They have replaced all urinals in their facilities and theme parks with waterless ones. In heavily trafficked areas, over 40,000 gallons of water can be saved annually per urinal. Every gallon is critical in reducing water consumption especially in Southern California. Other developments, notably 4 Times Square in New York, lead by example by using low-use water fixtures as well. All government buildings in the State of Arizona must be retrofitted with waterless urinals from a bill passed not too long ago.

Environmental Protection Agency:

Urban Sustainability at the Building and Site Scale:

Photo from Creative Commons:



7 thoughts on “You’re in for a Treat

  1. I certainly was in for a treat reading this blog post Afortu4! However, a few of your claims left me grasping at thin air, desperate to know what you were talking about. For instance, you claimed that the average American uses “78 a day”. 78 what… Bananas??!! Regardless of this small oversight by the author, I certainly learned a lot about water-less urinals. Why do urinals have water in them anyway? I’m glad that major companies like Universal Studios are doing their part for a cleaner planet. You gave some great statistics and it certainly was a treat to read.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I definitely agree with replacing urinals with waterless urinals. I believe that after someone goes pee, there is not necessarily a reason for the person to flush the toilet. The only reason would be to get rid of the odor. But, if the urinals are using a chemical that takes away odor, there is not another reason to flush the toilet.


  3. This is a very interesting post. I agree that we have a water usage problem here in the US, and there has to be a shift in the “American Dream” mindset if we want to solve water usage issues.


  4. I really like your idea. Water is really significant for people to live on the earth. People can only live without water for 7 days. However, there are still a lot of places that are very lack of water and water for the people in that areas means “life and gold”. The people in some places are very lack of water only do showers when they are birthday. Therefore, people who live in the areas have enough water to use should save water instead of wasting. Everyones saves a little of water may be a lager amount of water for the people are lack of water.


  5. This was fantastic post! I also saw these Urinals in Berlin and hope they catch on I the U.S. Aside from the most important reason, water conservation, and added reason these are being added to many of the city centers or town squares in Europe is for hygiene. These are accessible to many (tourists, homeless, etc.,) that were being refused access to washrooms in commercial areas even though there weren’t public washrooms nearby. For many of the male population a simple option was to use an alleyway or discreet area of the side streets. This definitely a great idea towards solving environmental issues.


  6. I completely agree with this. I believe the waterless urinals were an amazing idea that should be implemented around the country. When I use the toilet to pee, I try not to flush (although this may sound disgusting) because there is really no need to flush the toilet after peeing.


  7. Pingback: One Bryant Park | Principles of Urban Sustainability

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