Relax. Go easy on water with Water Free Urinals

That’s the picture I stared at stuck right in front of me while doing it in the washroom of DLF Promenade, an upmarket mall in Delhi built by the DLF group. I thought about this message for a while directed to the visitors of this place – this is one of the fantastic examples of green marketing strategies I have come across first hand that actually reaches out to people – you just can’t escape it! I’ve seen some senseless “urinal messaging” in the washrooms of cinema halls. But this one makes the difference. Why? It is not selling or promoting anything. It simply makes people aware of the environmental issues the world is facing.  And that is enough to stick the message in the sub-conscious…Use less water! A classic case of what Sustainable/Green Marketing can achieve that traditional marketing can’t. I must admit in this case DLF group got its green communication spot on.

So, I clicked a couple of pictures with my phone – one above and one of the urinal with a company name written (I had to, after all this was a live breakthrough technology in action as I waited for the liquid to disappear), and immediately (after washing of course) googled the company making this – FALCON.

I reached home and sat down to explore a bit about this. How it works and what it does is all unique and you can go their website and find all about it. The point I find worth mentioning is that the company is founded by noted entrepreneurs and environmentalists, Marc Nathanson and Jeff Skoll (founder of ebay and Skoll Foundation). When you have people like these behind the company, it is no wonder that world’s problems start to solve themselves (for the people who believe that technology will solve everything – technology doesn’t solve, it is the people behind the technology that first solve). Some other companies making water-less urinals are Duravit, American Standard, Rubbermaid, Kohler, Waterless, and Zurn.

Here’s a short video and the text below taken from the Falcon site:

HOW IT WORKS

“… as the urine enters the cartridge, it comes in contact with a layer of biodegradable sealant liquid with a specific gravity less than water. The urine passes through this sealant liquid and passes through the housing tailpipe which is connected to the building’s waste system. This sealant liquid acts as an airtight barrier that isolates the urine from the restroom, providing odor free operation…”

COST EFFICIENCY

Save money by cutting down on maintenance, sewage and water costs

“…saves 100% of water and sewer charges which are sure to rise in the future…also eliminates energy costs associated with pumping water to and from the fixture”

Here is the company’s vision statement: 

“To promote conservation of the Earth’s precious resources and support sustainable resource management by becoming the leading water savings system in the bathroom”

Can we go water free?

Water stewardship has become one of the main areas that companies are looking at. This especially is true for beverage manufacturers and industries requiring huge amounts of water as an input. Pepsi claims it is water-positive. ITC has been water-positive for a number of years. Water positive simply means that these companies give back more fresh water than they actually take from the earth (how this is measured is another issue). Unilever has come out with water-free shampoo under the brand name TRESemme that cleans (debatable) hair without the use of water. We have water-free urinals. Soon, water-free toilets will also be commercialized (using the same vacum technology as in airplanes). I also came across this company making dry toilets from S Africa, that lets the human excreta dry in, later to be converted into fuel!

I don’t need to preach about the water scarcity that the world is going to be facing in few short years. Wars may well happen over water as water turns into the new oil. The less water we use, the better it will be for our humanity at large. Can this water-free urinal make a difference enough? It can. More so, if such technology is used in areas where there actually is acute water shortage or rather no water at all. But for any solution to be successful, it needs to be replicable, scalable and affordable which clearly it currently is not.

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Comments

  1. Thanks for your article but I would like to draw your attention that all the mentioned brands are cartredge based. So disposing it and cost of it is a concern but we are the importers for URIDAN brand that has no relcable cartredge instead can be serived very easily. Visit http://www.uridan.com/en

    • Thanks for your comment Tushar and for bringing this to the notice. I had a brief look at the site you mentioned…hope this technology becomes widespread here in India. Wish you all the best!

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