In the United States, one of the greatest compliments to our industry is that portable sanitation is taken for granted. Almost every time we gather outside for work or play, we expect to see a row of those colorful, plastic units that give us a clean, private sanitation experience. We don’t think twice about it.
But here’s something we should think about – the important role that portable sanitation has in maintaining the good health of our environment. Through your hard work, portable sanitation is a public service with a multitude of environmental benefits.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a single gram of human feces —about the weight of a paper clip — can contain one trillion germs. Portable sanitation is a strong defense against the potential for disease and sickness.
Thanks to portable sanitation, there are several ways that cleanliness and environmental benefits go hand-in-hand:
Good environmental stewardship starts with each person. Portable sanitation, especially handwashing, helps maintain high standards of cleanliness.
Poor sanitation is like a germ highway. Germy hands that touch doorknobs, use computers and shake hands, or other personal contact, increase the risk of spreading some nasty bugs, especially salmonella, E. coli, norovirus, adenovirus and hand-foot-mouth disease.
Portable sanitation and the regulated disposal of waste at dump sites prevents it from entering drains, streams, groundwater and watersheds.
Human waste can spread diseases and be poisonous to wildlife and plants.
Insects, such as flies and cockroaches, can pick up disease-causing organisms and parasites by coming into contact with or feeding on waste.
Operating a more efficient workplace and saving fuel are good for business and the environment as well.
Portable Sanitation Association International (PSAI) calculated the economic impact if there were no portable restrooms on construction sites. If each construction worker left the site only once a day, the cost would be enormous: more than $10 billion in lost productivity every year, and more than $280 million in wasted fuel!
The most significant benefit of portable sanitation is water conservation. PSAI worked the numbers and came up with this outstanding statistic:
Every day, portable restrooms save 125 million gallons of fresh water!
In a year, that’s 45 billion gallons!
You can buy decals from PSAI to stick on your units. Sales help fund PSAI humanitarian initiatives.
Your dedication to the environment can also be shown through the supplies you purchase. You can use 100% recycled toilet paper in your units, as well as eco-friendly chemicals.
PSAI is an enthusiastic supporter of World Portable Sanitation Day (WSPD), which is held every year on November 19. WSPD is a campaign to raise awareness and promote change by expanding access to sustainable sanitation and to encourage local solutions that prevent the spread of disease, save water and improve the quality of life.
As a member of PSAI, you can use the WSPD toolkit available at http://psai.org/wpsd-toolkit/. It contains information and templates for your company to promote WPSD and plan events in your community.
Get involved! Be the pro-environment portable sanitation professional! Word gets around when you publicly promote the environmental benefits of your portable sanitation business and take pride in your role in maintaining a clean environment. Your business will earn a healthy reputation, and the people and groups that you meet could become your next customers.