Public Bathroom Converts Urine Into Plant-Feeding Water

Public Bathroom Converts Urine Into Plant-Feeding Water
Design & Architecture

Created by Hyphae Design Laboratory, PPlanter functions as both a public toilet and a bamboo planter.

Daniela Walker
  • 27 february 2014


Walking by the PPlanter, one would be forgiven for thinking it is an oddly constructed bamboo planter. In actuality it is a urinal and planter in one, billing itself as a ‘public bathroom and garden’. Created by Hyphae Design Laboratory of Oakland, California, this modular bathroom is said to be an eco-friendly alternative to public toilets and smelly alleyways.

The PPlanter removes the privacy of public toilets that often results in them being used for alternative purposes, by having the user stand in the semi-open stall. Both men and women can stand and urinate (thanks to a handy disposable funnel) and the liquid is then used to ‘water’ the plants.


There is a sink for users to wash their hands, drawing water from an attached reservoir. The sink water then washes the urinal and is put through a biofilter, to water the bamboo plants. The bamboo uses the nitrates from the urine, while the wood chips, styrofoam and rocks that it sits in absorbs the remaining liquid.

When the PPlanter was set out in San Francisco last year, it lasted for 8 hours and had 300 users. There is reportedly no smell – which could possibly be seen as it’s greatest benefit.

Darryl Smith, co-director of the Luggage Store Gallery, hosted the PPlanter last year as part of the trial period. He told the New Scientist:

[It] is lower cost and lower maintenance than any other kind of toilet. The openness of the design keeps people from taking over these toilets to do drugs or other unhealthy things. It makes it safer.



Source: New Scientist/ Gizmag

Images: Gizmag

+Environmental / Green

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