The Portable Toilet Industry Has Turned Green

Over the past decades important discussions concerning the environment and our impact on it have been happening in many corners of American industry. Every industry should pay attention to what those conversations are about in order to figure out what they can do to lessen the negative impact. A natural first step in the Portable Toilet Industry is to offer eco-friendly portable toilet products, and that is exactly what two companies—PolyJohn and Armal—have been doing.

According to Jamie Kostelyk, design engineer at PolyJohn, is looking for ways to improve the environment in which we live has been at the forefront of thinking throughout the company. “When California mandated that all portable restrooms be fitted with a secondary containment to catch any spills that an operator may make during services, PolyJohn was one of the first to develop a drip containment tray to contain water and cleaning solutions during servicing, which directly answered to this need,” says Kostelyk. “The tray is thermoformed from tough, impact resistant, high molecular weight, high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic that has been up to 80 percent recycled, and it fits almost every style of any portable toilet manufacturer’s restrooms, and complies with the EPA Storm Water Protection Program also, he tells us. Koselyk goes on to say that the trays are “the perfect solution for environmental compliance and eco-conscious end-users.” The trays come equipped with a peripheral lip that guides fluids into the pan, and then they simply drain towards the rear of the tray to a convenient pump-out location.
“The same kind of eco-friendly thinking goes into our Bravo sink designs” says Jamie. “Our Bravo sink has been designed to be manufactured with up to 50 percent recycled plastic materials that also comply with EPA regulations for drinking water.” To be specific, the Bravo units are made from materials that comply with the U.S. Public Health Service Drinking Water Standards, 42 CFR part 72, and U.S. EPA Interim Primary Drinking Water Regulations 40 CFR part 141. As Jamie explains, “while PolyJohn sinks aren’t meant for drinking purposes, the end user can be assured that their hands will be free of any contaminants that might cause illness. The Bravos feature a 22 gallon fresh water tank reservoir and 24 gallons of grey water capacity and are designed to provide hand washing capabilities in the remotest of places.”

In 2015 Armal introduced their newest portable toilet, an eco-friendly model they call the G-Wave. It is an injection-molded structure that is manufactured from 90 percent post-consumer recycled material, demonstrating that the company is fully adopting the expression “environmentally friendly.” According to Sam Calleiro, North American Sales at Armal, “the idea of the G-Wave came from our new COO Karl McMichael.” One of the first topics of business that Mr. McMichael faced was to see if portable toilets were being made from recycled materials. No satisfied with what he saw, he simply concluded “let’s make this happen;” hence the initial birth of the idea for the first Armal portable toilet made from recycled materials—the G-Wave.
Sam tells us that the first step Mr. McMichael took was to find the right plastics company, and he chose K W Plastics in Troy, Alabama. As Mr McMichael puts it: “I was familiar with the work that K W did…and I knew they put out a good product,” continuing, “when it comes to portable restroom units that are durable and provide longevity, K W was able to provide the material that is just as effective as our traditional material.” “The hallmark Armal Wave design was of course the basis of the new unit, and so it is equipped with everything Armal customers have come to expect and respect of our products,” says Calleiro, including “smooth surfaces that are easy to wash; overlapping wall assemblies that conceal all rivets, making cleaning safe and practical; and an internal design that is refined and stylish.”
“We are sensitive to the impact our industry can have on the environment and we are fully committed to designing and manufacturing products that are environmentally friendly,” says Sam Calleiro. This philosophy is imbued into all levels of management. The COO Mr McMichael says that “To me, there’s no reason why units constructed out of recycled and repurposed material cannot become the industry norm at some point…It’s part of a change in our approach to the industry. I consider putting out products that are environmentally friendly as the wave of the future.”

Green All the Way
Recycling and repurposing are, of course, an integral part of the environmental movement’s primary initiatives. As the slogan goes, “Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.” Environmental issues do not stop at the portable toilet structure and components, however. To be fully green, portable toilet rental companies should also take heed of the kinds of chemicals that are being used. To be fully committed to “green all the way” companies can take advantage of deodorizers free of formaldehyde and alcohol and are nontoxic. Also, make sure that the cleansers and solvents are biodegradable and nontoxic, and avoid Aerosols, Butyl, and Glycol. Finally, make use of recycled paper products that are chlorine free. Both the paper products and the water used in flushable stalls can be conserved through dispensing systems. Gray water from sinks can even be treated and recycled at a certified waste treatment center.

Story by Mark Joseph Manion


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