Featured Stories

We are participating in the conversation about equitable and
resilient public health and sanitation systems.

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

 


From the Blog

There’s plenty of toilet paper in the US – so why are people hoarding it?

Almost 150 U.S. companies make toilet paper. Studio Dagdagaz/Shutterstock.com Jay L. Zagorsky, Boston University The other day I went into Costco to buy some toilet paper. It came as a small shock when I couldn’t find a single roll. The new coronavirus is inspiring panic buying of a variety of household products such as…

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The POOP Project is coming to Portland 2/22/2020!

Straight from New York City, The POOP Project is coming to Portland! How do you break the potty taboo and catalyze creative conversation about sustainable sanitation for the person, planet and world community?  The People’s Own Organic Power (POOP) Project​ has been showing us how, using a brilliant combination of theater,…

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A Report from the Rich Earth Summit

PHLUSH President Hayley Joyell Smith, currently a PhD student at the University of Georgia, reports on the Rich Earth Summit held at the University of Michigan, November 7-8, 2019. She was among the experts – entrepreneurs, engineers, farmers, regulators, researchers and practitioners – who explored the theme “Policy, Regulation, and…

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