Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008
Poteez: Is Pooping into Cardboard Boxes the Next Big Thing?
What do these people know that we don’t know?
They are a mom and pop inventor, an investment fund executive and a chartered accountant all agog over UK celebrity endorsements for their toddler product.
Poteez is a cardboard potty “believed to be the first of its kind.” Well, maybe not. Back in 2005, the PottyFlip cardboard potty was profiled in Thinga’s portable potty roundup. Investment bankers don’t read my baby blog. I’m hurt.
All due credit goes to the Poteez folks for making a relatively attractive potty… nothing like the makeshift PottyFlip [image].
Poteez starts flat and folds into position, with a redesigned “pop-up” version reportedly folding within 5 seconds. It is said to be made from recycled cardboard, 100 percent biodegradable and watertight.
As an emergency potty while traveling, it seems useful given that it can be stored completely flat. And by emergency, I mean a rare occasion. That’s cool if every family brings their poop-filled boxes home to rest in their backyard composer. You all have backyard composters, right? Otherwise, it’s just more waste for our overburdened landfills.
Imagine if Poteez becomes wildly popular and garbage cans at ever roadside rest stop are overflowing with these poop boxes.
It doesn’t stop there. The inventors consider this potty worthy for home use because it’s more hygienic and convenient than a plastic potty. Find that funny do you? On a purely logical chartered accountant type of basis I have to agree with the claim. Millions of families use disposable diapers for the same reason â€” toss it in the trash to be done with it.
Oh, but think of stuffing dozens of these boxes in your garbage can every week. Or do you have a really big compost bin? How long, exactly, does it take cardboard to decompose? What’s it smell like when you stick your pitchfork into your compost to turn the debris, puncturing the box to spread the stuff around (you have to do that, you know, to help along the decomposition process).
Maybe they could design a spout on the box so you can pour the contents into your toilet.
Really, the problem is the overreaching claims about the versatility of a cardboard potty. It may have its place, but it should be a very narrowly defined place… emergency use while on the road.
But on the other hand, I wonder how many plastic potties get reused by new owners before they just get thrown away. How many parents would never even buy a used plastic potty? By all rights, the market should be overflowing with used plastic, but it’s not.
In that respect, what’s more environmentally friendly â€” a plastic potty for each child born that takes hundreds or thousands of years to break down into toxic sludge seeping into our ground water, or a vast sea of cardboard potties filling our landfills? Tough call.
Yes? No? Would you buy a cardboard potty?
Update: This comes by way of my earthy aunt:
“As you might remember, I have a composting toilet in my cottage. It has four compartments inside a rotating carousel. Every six months I empty the
oldest (2-years-old) and fill it with peat and start that new
compartment under my toilet shoot. According to the manufacturer, it
takes about 2 years for human waste to safely compost, even if it just sits
there without turning. Bacteria just work on it, not unlike the familiar
garden and kitchen waste composters.
Composting sounds less and less like an option.