where is Solomon when you need him?


Creative Commons License photo credit: daviddesign


Here’s a question for you, to see where you fall on the health/hygiene versus the environment scale. Ladies, sorry but I’ll be referring to a purely male institution so bear with me.

In the office I’m working in we have urinals. They are the old-fashioned kind where you have to yank a lever to flush – no motion detectors, no waterless suction, etc. When you flush, a HUGE amount of water rolls down the drain. And the drainage is so crappy that to get the water clean, you have to hold down the lever.

Here’s the question: which is the best course of action?

A. Hold down that flusher until the water is as clear as Lake Baikal
B. Push the flusher down for one second, just to show you made an effort to anyone else in the bathroom, but effectively leave it unflushed.
C. Walk away and wait until the urinal’s been used by four or five different guys before flushing thoroughly.

I know it’s a disgusting topic but every single day for a year it’s bugged me, and I’ve even said something. For the record, the response was “we plan to install waterless urinals eventually.”

Not if eventually means within the past year, they didn’t.

So which is worse?
A bathroom smelling like a Greyhound station or gallons and gallons of clean water being used to flush a fairly small amount of waste down a drain?

10 Replies to “where is Solomon when you need him?”

  1. Here’s the truly “green” option – plant tress on the rooftop and let the guys take care of business like they were out in the woods.

    Another option, for real, would be to use the stall instead of the urinal. It may use more water but it might prove a better balance between hygiene and environment (assuming people don’t miss their target).

  2. Steve,

    Good luck asking any company to spend any money on anything. Especially since you are a consultant, your word does not really matter to them 😉

    BTW I am all for planting trees and doing number 1 there..Except in the winter..

  3. I’m not an expert, but I believe that urine is germ-free, so (aside from the smell … where are the ‘green inventors’ when we need them?) there’s no real reason to flush (or even wash your hands). Just for the record, though: I flush AND wash … thoroughly!

    BTW: There is a useful business lesson on the subject of toilets:

    There was a very successful bakery in a country town … tourist buses make special trips to this bakery (now they have expanded to multiple areas). One of the reasons is that they survey their customers and deliver what they want.

    And, when they surveyed their female customers, what did they want from a quaint little bakery in the countryside?

    More/better toilets!

    That was the #1 request … so they renovated to provide LOTS of pristine-clean female toilets and the rest is … history. AJC.

  4. Plant a tree in the urinal!

    Well, that’s not practical so they make cake deodorizers that can be put in a urinal so if you don’t flush completely it won’t smell horrible. And, while urine doesn’t have germs coming from your body, as well as no smell, it does get odoriferous when left to stagnate because of all the bacteria it encounters outside of your body. (that’s your science lesson for the day… ;o) ..)

    Pine deodorizers are also effective. Good Luck! (ps: that would bother me too)

  5. ugh, waterless urinals may save water (duh) but oh dios mio do they stink.

  6. I used to clean urinals with the same problem. Unfortunately, I don’t have a solution, since I was always cleaning and never using. I appreciated when people gave it at least a partial flush…

  7. You work as a consultant? Must be slow.

    Why don’t you try the toilet, like you do in your own home and forget about the urinal for now?

  8. Dude. Wasting that water is way worse than the smell. Yeah it smells bad but look at our times. Water is considered a scarcity now.

    Can you believe it? A planet almost SOLELY composed of water on its exterior, is now considered a scarcity. Water purifying jobs are going to boom in the next couple of decades at this rate.

    Here I go! Jump the entrepreneurial opportunity bro!


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