The first company to introduce no-water urinals to the U.S. market is celebrating its 25th anniversary on May 1, 2016. Waterless Co. Inc, a family-run company that began operations in California, now has a global distribution network and its urinals are sold worldwide.
"Being the first company to market a new technology like waterless urinals was rather tough in the beginning," said Klaus Reichardt, CEO, inventor and founder of the company. "Twenty-five years ago, there just did not seem to be a call for urinals that didn't use water."
Because water conservation and water efficiency were not the environmental concerns that they are today, Reichardt says the company first marketed no-water urinals as a way to improve restroom hygiene.
Waterless urinals stay dry so there is less chance of bacteria buildup. In addition, because there is no flushing, there is no "bacterial mist" released, which happens when a water-using urinal is flushed.
"Things started to change in the mid-2000s," Reichardt added. "The U.S. Green Building Council's LEED certification program started putting more emphasis on water efficiency, and about that time, water and sewer costs started rising throughout the country."
Reichardt adds that interest in the technology also grew as building owners and managers turned from finding just greener ways to operate their facilities to finding more sustainable ways, including reducing water consumption.
Interest in the technology has recently reached a "crescendo," as Reichardt put it, with the ongoing drought in California and much of the western half of the United States.
"Today, building owners and managers treat water consumption the way they treat fuel or energy consumption," said Reichardt. "The focus [is on] using less, using it wisely, and using it more responsibly, which is where no-water urinal systems come in."