Blog

Will no-mix toilets work on San Francisco streets?

At PHLUSH we’ve been looking at urine diversion technologies and think no-mix toilets are going to be really important in the future.  And we’re keen to get the word out as we consider earthquake preparedness and what to do for emergency household toilets when we can’t flush.  So a proposal, picked up by the New York Times, to use urine diverting “no-mix” toilets  to serve users San Francisco’s Tenderloin District intrigued us. But could no-mix toilets possibly work as urban public toilets, we wondered?  So we asked Mathew Lippincott, who’s leading PNCA’s Collaborative Design Studio on toilets, and he immediately stumbled on several dangerously unfounded assumptions in the design. First, while urine is indeed valuable, selling it won’t cover facility costs.  Second, not mixing urine and feces when using a toilet requires awareness and training; public toilets are not the place to instill such subtle behavior change. Third, using UV lights to sterilize poop and to illuminate the facility would cause eye damage!   Read Lippincott’s Note to aspiring restroom designers. While it’s good to see San Franciscans trying to put restrooms where the public needs them, it’s okay to stick with flush toilets in heavy use downtown areas with water and sewer connections.  Hyphae Design Laboratory and the North of Market Tenderloin Community Benefit District would do well to look to Portland, where Portland Loos safely serve downtown users 24/7, and to Victoria, British Columbia, which now offers the Victoria Urinal and will soon be home to the Portland Loo. Resources on our website and the PHLUSH Public Restroom Design Principles can familiarize local communities with the options and help them make better decisions.

Hyphae Design Lab's New Public Restroom Paradigm

 


Is the Queen City ready to PHLUSH?

No matter one's position in life, the title of that old children's book applies: "Everyone Poops." From a manual laborer all the way to royalty, nature's call is one we all must answer - sometimes more urgently than others! That's why even The Queen City must admit that she's ready…

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PHLUSH is looking for volunteers!

Are you passionate about public sanitation, toilet access, and emergency preparedness? PHLUSH (Public Hygiene Lets Us Stay Human) is looking for enthusiastic volunteers to help us make the world a better place to poop and pee. The need for public restrooms has never been greater due to the pandemic, rising…

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Public Restrooms and COVID-19: Guidelines for Reopening

June 29, 2020 The re-opening of the economy during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic depends on the successful re-opening of toilet facilities. Retail businesses, manufacturing firms, trade workshops, food-processing units, schools and universities, and government institutions must protect people from the SARS-CoV-2 virus. And they are in a position to support…

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