Waterless urinals: Cheap. Green. But many think ‘gross’

Sanitary fixtures in men’s rooms don’t make for polite conversation. Nor would many people want to read about them over a morning cup of coffee.

But it’s Jan Aceti’s job to encourage people to think about them. As principal of consulting firm Aceti Associates, Ms. Aceti tries to spread the word about “waterless” urinals, an environmental innovation that she hopes can ease the world’s water problems.

Fresh water is a dwindling resource worldwide. A waterless urinal saves one to three gallons of fresh water per flush, compared with a normal model, according to a 2008 report Aceti’s firm prepared for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. In an office with 1,000 men, that adds up to 1.56 million gallons of water saved annually.

This waterless message has finally started to catch on, says Aceti.

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