First Look Blog

Articles written by the First Look team.


Worst Design Ever Award...

Published by Ken Nunes on 30/06/2015

Urinal drip tray

And the award for Worst Design Ever goes to: The Drip Tray Flush (see photo) common in most boys’ urinals in South Africa.

The design principle is simple and works something like this:

  • A constantly running tap fills an aluminium tray with approximately 10L of water (depending on the size of the urinal - this could be more).
  • Through the slight tilt of the tray, as the tray fills with water, it becomes "off-balance" and decants the water onto the face of the urinals, therefore washing the urinal and taking aways the smells.
  • This process is repeated every 5 minutes, 24 hours each and every day...independent of use!!!

A rough calculation of water consumption, goes something like this:

10L of water x 5 minutes = 120L per hour

x 24 hours = 2 880L per day

x 365 days = 1 051 200L per year (1 051KL)

FINANCIAL COST: Average cost per KL of water (2015/2016), including Sewage and VAT Charges is ±R40.00/KL

ENVIRONMENTAL COST: Incalculable...!!!

Average Annual Cost of Water for one single urinal: ±R42 000.00

Now imagine some schools actually have 4 or 6 of these drip tray flush systems installed. Then imagine the hundreds of schools in Johannesburg where these systems are installed.

Truth is, 99.9% of this water is WASTE.

There really must me some common policy to eradicate this system from our schools, as a matter of priority!!!