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L'Uritonnoir puts festival-goers' urine to good use


May 3, 2013

L'Uritonnoir is a portable, composting urinal for large festivals that reduces a bale of h...

L'Uritonnoir is a portable, composting urinal for large festivals that reduces a bale of hay into usable fertilizer

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Festivals can be great fun, but aren't always so friendly to the local environment. Gathering that many people in one place tends to produce a large amount of waste, but it's the human waste that can be the hardest to dispose of cleanly. That's why French design group Faltazi has produced L'Uritonnoir, a portable, composting urinal for large festivals that helps to turn a bale of hay into usable fertilizer.

The name derives from the French words "urinnoir," meaning urinal, and "entonnoir," meaning funnel; and that's basically what they are. By itself, a single Uritonnoir looks like a wide funnel with a tapered spike on the end and is either pre-made from stainless steel or folded together from a flat polypropylene sheet.

The simple urinals are designed for easy setup using a bale of hay as a stand. The spike on the end just needs to be inserted into the hay at a comfortable height and then secured with a strap that wraps around the entire bale. Depending on the size of the bale, you can add as many Uritonnoirs as you need.

The spike on the end just needs to be inserted into the hay at a comfortable height and th...

The nitrogen in the urine reacts with the carbon in the straw to speed up the decomposition process, reducing an entire bale to fertilizer in 6-12 months. And since festivals go hand-in-hand with beer drinking, there's bound to be plenty of "nitrogen" to go around. As a bonus, festival organizers can opt to have graphics displaying their brand, paid advertising, or other messages silkscreened onto them.

Once the festival is over, L'Uritonnoir's creators suggest either having a garden service collect the bundles of smelly hay or leaving them in place to serve as planters in the future. The designers also suggest setting up a smaller bale of hay in a residential garden to make your own fertilizer at home. Ideally, this would all fit into Faltazi's larger Ekovores project, which aims to create designs for better local food production.

By itself, a single Uritonnoir looks like a wide funnel with a tapered spike on the end an...

There are quite a few clear advantages to L'Uritonnoir's waste management system – it's cheap, creates a usable resource, doesn't require water, etc. – but there are also some potential disadvantages, like a lack of privacy. They're also likely to smell worse than typical porta-johns and aren't able to deal with number twos. One also has to wonder how much waste might be produced when the urinals are thrown out. The steel ones could possibly be washed and reused, but it's doubtful anyone would attempt that with the ones made from plastic.

Still, L'Uritonnoir could definitely appeal to some festival organizers, so the next time you see some bales of hay at an event, try not to mistake the straw urinals for the straw seats.

Source: L'Uritonnoir via The Guardian

About the Author
Jonathan Fincher Jonathan grew up in Norway, China, and Trinidad before graduating film school and becoming an online writer covering green technology, history and design, as well as contributing to video game news sites like Filefront and 1Up. He currently resides in Texas, where his passions include video games, comics, and boring people who don't want to talk about either of those things.   All articles by Jonathan Fincher

This looks kind of like an April fools joke.

3rd May, 2013 @ 01:12 am PDT

Things like this are why it is so hard to sell "green" projects such as biomass power plants.

3rd May, 2013 @ 03:58 am PDT

Hmm, I forsee just some of the following as issues with this:

1) Privacy as mentioned above

2) Stench throughout the area, especially as it becomes more and more saturated.

3) As it becomes more and more saturated, it will likely leak through and create a pool of urine around it.

4) As more people continue to use it, or if it is raining, there will be giant mud pits of water/urine which means people will be tracking that all over the place for days to come.

5) While it could possibly produce some decent fertilizer after 6-12+ months, the grass and such beneath it has been compressed and without any sunlight for that length of time and as such now is a big dead spot.

3rd May, 2013 @ 09:29 am PDT

They got a $220 million loan from the EPA for this.

Todd Dunning
3rd May, 2013 @ 09:43 am PDT

Biodegradable urinals could be made with stiff hemp composite sheets and left in place. In prudish America, a curtain would have to be placed around the bale.

3rd May, 2013 @ 10:13 am PDT

Why do you need the funnel to urinate on it? It seems like only a small portion near the funnel would get urine and nobody would want to touch the funnel to move it. Why not just have people urinate on the top of it?

I also agree that most the urine would just filter down through to the ground and it's probably only slightly better than just having people just pee on the ground in a taped off area.

3rd May, 2013 @ 10:58 am PDT

Americans would be more than prudish, they would be very afraid.

Public urination is a serious criminal offense that would place you a registry as a sexual offender (child molester) and ruin your life forever.

Facebook User
3rd May, 2013 @ 12:49 pm PDT

Excellent! Very un-American dream too! radical! Problem: only serves half the population! I call discrimination! Even squatter's rights! Most events should fill a few bales, move them to appropriate locations, and after the proper fermentation times, prove to be excellent fertilizer. Solids can be collected and anaerobically digested with other manures for methane gas (in appropriate apparatus) and a Top Soil building fertilizer too! Methane – almost propane, can be safely stored in the same tanks too. And: no loans from China to pay for imported Foreign oil to make fertilizers that kill the top soil.

Bruce Miller
3rd May, 2013 @ 01:39 pm PDT

Some instant fencing and tarps would take care of the privacy, but storing the urine in a tank for later use would make more sense.

3rd May, 2013 @ 05:42 pm PDT

Sorry but why don't you just piss on the top of the bale. I mean either stand on a stool or just aim high..

Facebook User
3rd May, 2013 @ 07:00 pm PDT

What about the ladies?

4th May, 2013 @ 03:20 pm PDT

Easy enough to make a seat to place on top of a small square bale for the ladies. But Number twos an issue for sure. But I'm with the others on this - why not just piss on top of a smaller square bale - or store in a tank - easier to mix with high carbon material at later stage.

4th May, 2013 @ 06:26 pm PDT

Thinking outside of the box is fine and all, but this is just eww.

5th May, 2013 @ 10:35 pm PDT

To reduce the urine odor, just mix in orange peels in the haystack.

7th May, 2013 @ 09:31 am PDT
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