Imagine a men’s restroom. You can probably envision yourself standing near the entrance. On one side, there’s a line of sinks — they’re probably white porcelain set into a black countertop. There’s a paper towel dispenser hanging on the wall. In one corner, there are a few stalls with black walls that don’t quite meet each other, but are hung together with little silver brackets. On the same wall as the stalls, but closer to where you’re standing, there’s a bank of urinals attached to the wall. In the bottom of each one there’s a little pink urinal cake, and at the top there’s a bright silver pipe that culminates in a large head with a narrow silver handle sticking out the left side.
The urinals you just imagined are conventional flushing urinals, and before long they might only be in your imagination. That’s because of a revolutionary new type of urinal system called waterless urinals. As the name implies, waterless urinals do not use any water to operate. Instead, the urine simply drains to the bottom where it enters a trap that seals it away along with any unpleasant odors. Waterless urinals are quickly becoming commonplace in large cities because of the many benefits they offer over conventional flushing urinals.
One of the largest benefits is the significant reduction in water use, which also lowers utility bills. In fact, the average business using waterless urinals saves over $200 in utilities per urinal each year. Water use is becoming an extremely important issue in many areas where years of droughts have led to water shortages.
But the advantages of waterless urinals don’t stop there. Studies show that they also control odor better than conventional toilets and they are more hygienic. Couple that with the fact that they are easy to maintain as a result of having no mechanical parts and you’ve got a recipe for the extinction of flushing urinals.