If you live in an American metropolis, chances are you’ve inhaled the pungent odor of human toilet. For the homeless and the drunk, the city’s alleyways are makeshift bathrooms. But what if public urination could be used for good?
Designers in San Francisco have that in mind. The PPlanter team has created “a rapidly deployable, reconfigurable public urinal and sink that uses modular bamboo biofilters to treat urine and waste-water.”
As Metcalfe explains:
How does this amazing technology work? In short, somebody who needs to really go – the inventors are targeting beer drinkers and homeless people – holds it in long enough to reach a PPlanter. Guys level a stream into the urinal (ladies, you get the pleasure of using a “disposal funnel”) where a possibly bamboo filtration system converts it into drank that’s delicious for plants.
What’s unclear to me (after reading their Indiegogo) is whether or not the treated pee pee can be used to nourish other plants, or if the PPlanter is merely a sophisticated urinal that is merely a bamboo in a planter pot.
My guess is that, in large public gatherings, dozens of PPlanters would feed a large expanse of greenery, replacing the gag-inducing columns of teal porta-potties.
But even in the less ambitious scenario, having a publicly available waste-water system is preferable to treating the city like a gutter.