Only 2.8 percent of urinals sold in United States in 2012 were water free. That number is bound to grow. Replacing urinals that flush with waterless urinals will save millions of gallons of water. This is a case of low-hanging fruit.
Waterless urinals are good for the environment, and our wallets.
M&T Bank Stadium, home of the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens, reduced its water usage by 43 percent after installing 400 waterless urinals. The Staples Center in Los Angeles — which hosts the NBA’s Lakers and Clippers — is saving 7 million gallons a year, according to Falcon Waterfree Technologies, the leader in waterless urinals. Bank of America Tower in New York saves 3.4 million gallons a year thanks to water-free urinals. The average water-free urinal in an office building might save about 25,000 gallons a year. There’s no cost from hooking them up to a water system. And water-free urinals have no moving parts that can break.
Depending on the model and specific sale, water-free urinal fixtures are often cheaper than traditional flush urinals.
Water will be the new oil, and will be used as a weapon.
The United Nations projects the current world population of 7.2 billion to reach 9.6 billion by 2050, which will further strain water supplies. Shortage of fresh water is a hazard to U.S. national security. As 2050 nears, the likelihood increases that water will be “potentially used as a weapon, where one state denies access to another,” said a senior U.S. intelligence official. According to a Nature study, 1.7 billion people already rely on aquifers that are rapidly being depleted.
Waterless urinals offer an economical way to help the problem.
Waterless urinals don’t have to smell, and are hygienic.
With a waterless urinal such as Falcon’s, which carries the Sloan brand name, urine passes through an oil-filled filter. The scented oil acts as a barrier to keep smells from the drain out of the restroom. Over time the oil drains out, and the cartridge needs to be replaced after 7,000 uses, which will prevent unwanted smells. The only routine maintenance needed is spraying and wiping the urinal clean. The technology behind waterless urinals has improved since emerging in the 1990s.
“With any new technology, the first technology wasn’t very good. It caused for some people some nervousness and some issue with the product,” said Falcon Waterfree Technologies CEO Simon A. Davis. “The technology we have today is really really good, but in some cases we have to go back over perceptions from early adopters.”
Waterless urinals have found a foothold in China because hygienic-concerned customers prefer not to touch urinals, according to Davis.
Areas with strained water systems are catching on.
In the United States waterless urinals are most popular in the Southwest. Falcon has seen its international business grow, especially in the Middle East. While its sales used to be split 80-20 between the United States and abroad, the ratio is now an even 50-50.
“With the technology we have today, and the technology moving forward it’s not if it’s going to happen, it’s when everybody adopts it,” Davis said. “At the end of the day the macro system will tell you we’re going to have water shortages. We’re going to have issues. Why not have a technology that saves water and money?”