29 August 2010

It's a urinal! It's a sink! It's both!

Lloyd Alter is the lead irritant of the usually irritating website Treehugger. On Friday, he posted something on that site that stood head and shoulders above anything I'd ever seen him write about before.  And here's what he wrote about.

It's a sink and urinal combination. After a gentleman finishes his business, he washes his hands in the sink in front of him and the water from the sink drains into the urinal and flushes it. It's absolutely brilliant.

This sink/ urinal was designed by Yeongwoo Kim, a young designer from South Korea. He won an International Forum Design, Design Concept Award this year for his efforts and he had this to say about his creation:
To save water, Eco Urinal is designed to use the water that was used for washing hands to flush the urine. By this process, we don't have to use water twice after using the urinal.

Moreover, it reduces the establishment expenses by optimizing the materials. Upper space of this urinal is made with glass, and it helps to secure a clear view for users. It also promotes people to keep their sanitation because people need to wash their hands to flush the urine after use.
It's the ultimate gray water solution and it'll make plumbing something like this half as complicated and half as expensive. I think it's brilliant.

In looking over the comments though, people really flipped out. From the tone of of a lot of them, you'd think they were being asked to bathe in pee or something.

What do you guys think? Good idea or bad idea? Am I too much a libertine (hah!) to have a problem with this? What do The People think about this?


  1. Old hat in Japan. All the toilets are equipped with a sink on top of the tank. When you flush, water comes out the spout and you wash your hands.
    "In looking over the comments though, people really flipped out. From the tone of of a lot of them, you'd think they were being asked to bathe in pee or something."
    That takes a lot of nerve coming from a culture that typically places a toilet right next to a shower. That's enough to make Japanese people sick.

  2. Have you ever seen a study of enteric bacteria contamination in a "clean" bathroom? Toilets are efficient aerosolizers and shit (literally) goes everywhere. Here's an old study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC187159/pdf/applmicro00026-0083.pdf

    It's enough to have the hypochondriacs out there reintroduce the outhouse.

  3. Very clever design, as long as the height is all right. Wouldn't want the basketballers having to crouch!

  4. Good point. I wonder if it comes in custom heights.

  5. I showed this too my husband. He said it looked a little too close for comfort for him. He is a pretty square guy though. Not much thinking outside of the box for him.

  6. I have 3 boys, and my husband, who often ends up on bathroom detail with them, asked me half-jokingly the other day if I thought it was possible to put urinals in the bathrooms used by the kids. I like this design because I would hope having the sink right in front of them as they go might encourage them to wash up afterwards too without a reminder from me...

  7. Sharon: Your husband's not alone in his opinion unfortunately. I don't understand it.

    Havoc: Home urinals are the key. I plead with people to put them in.

  8. Looks like this could be a good solution if the sink height were adjustable. I'm just thinking of my 2-year-old grandson who is potty training. He could stand at the urinal (the adult toilet is too high for him at this point in time), then wash his hands without the need to climb up on a step stool. A height-adjusting pushbotton and flexible plumbing connections could do the trick.

  9. At first I thought EWwww.... then I read about it. I think in Public Mens rooms a good idea. At my house? No way :-)

  10. I think I was at some fraternity parties in the early 80s at which the sink/urinal concept was explored.

    The problem I see with this product is that it will increase the time one spends at the urinal leading to longer waiting time for others. In new construction, designs could incorporate more urinals and fewer sinks. However, for retrofit there could be a problem.

  11. Undecided. But like the design for public use. Never in residential. Takes away too much of the design aesthetic. But great ideas from this designer!

  12. David Mathias needs some love for what apppears to be a completely underated joke (standing and clapping).

    I wrote a post on urinal splatter which makes me wonder what the underside of that peice of glass looks like after use... shudder.

    What's so wrong with waterless urinals and regular sinks? There are times I like to spash my face with a little cold water (typically after I realize what I just said to someone at a party) and I am thinking this might not be for me.

  13. I find it hilarious that no one has commented on the mirror! I see many guys talking to the mirror as they hold their 'object in question' Many comedic conversations going on in those wash rooms.

  14. Roxanne: Good idea. An adjustable-height sink's usual limiting factor --the drain line-- is missing from this sink. Making it adjustable would be easy.

    Christiane: What ewww? I think they're a brilliant idea in a public restroom or in a home. My next bathroom will have a urinal in it. Mark my words.

    David: I think I was at the same fraternity parties.

    Cheryl: I think it defines the aesthetic. You will learn to embrace the urinal.

    Bob: Look at the diagram. If you can manage to splash the underside of that sink you are a man of rare skill.

    Shaynna: Actually, a mirror over a urinal is not an unusual thing. It allows whoever's standing at the urinal to see behind him.

  15. I totally don't understand the "ew" factor that people have with urinals in the home. The only reason that I wouldn't put one in my home is that my husband is 6 and a half feet tall and sits to pee to avoid "splash back" on his shins. If this wasn't the case though, (and if I owned my own home) I'd certainly be putting a great fixture in my bathroom like that (along with a bidet!).

  16. Lisa: I think we're the same person.

  17. I think it's a great idea. I've see the toilet/ sink combos but hadn't seen the urinal version.
    I would probably suggest putting sinks sans the urinal in the restroom as well though. If you are just going in there to wash your hands I'd probably not want to do that at a urinal.

  18. Excellent concept provided 'everyone' washes their hands after using. -Brenda-


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