Oui! France Whips Out Composting Public Urinals

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If you can’t beat ’em, enjoin ’em: France is tackling public urination by whipping out greenery-topped, compost-generating “Uritrottoir” urinals.

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Doing a wee-wee in public is a no-no just about everywhere, and for a host of obvious reasons. Unfortunately, drinkers gonna drink and when public restrooms are unavailable, well… what goes in must come out, anywhere and everywhere. Yuck. Sure, we could punish protagonists of les pipis sauvages (“wild peeing”) by painting walls with so-called “splash back” paint but it’s an imperfect solution: the urine has to go somewhere and though the walls stay clean, the drunk and everything around them gets doused. Why not find a kinder, gentler, more useful way to tackle the issue?

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It would seem someone’s done just that. French industrial design firm Faltazi has come up with the Uritrottoir – the name is derived from the French words for “urinal” and “pavement”. This urbane urban urinal looks like a street mailbox with a wee, er, little herb garden growing out of the top. The interior is filled with compostible bio-materials such as straw, wood chips and sawdust that absorb moisture and reduce odor. “We’re making compost, a fertiliser, so it’s a circular economy,” explained Laurent Lebot of Faltazi to The Guardian newspaper. “We’re re-using two waste products, straw and urine, to make something that makes plants grow.” That, and keeping urine off the streets… sounds like a match made in heaven!

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