NPR : News

The 'Sink-Urinal' Saves Water, Encourages Men To Wash Hands

In a blog series we're calling "Weekly Innovation," we'll explore an interesting idea, design or product that you may not have heard of yet. (Have an innovation to share? Use this quick form.)

A Latvian designer named Kaspars Jursons is trying to help solve European water shortages by redesigning the men's restroom. His new urinal design includes a tap and sink right over it.

"It's not just a fancy piece of art," he says. "The idea is about function and consumption. You are washing your hands in the sink on top of the urinal, and the same water that's running is also used to flush. You don't have to use water twice, like when you use the urinal and wash your hands in separate sink."

The design, called Stand, sells for about $590 per unit. They're getting manufactured on a small production line and have already sold to buyers in Norway, Germany, Russia, Poland and Jursons' home country, Latvia.

Several sink-urinals are currently installed in a concert venue in Riga, Latvia, where Jursons reports they have worked smoothly and saved thousands of liters of water.

The tap is hands-free and sensor-activated, and Jursons says having the sink right over the urinal gives it another feature: an in-your-face reminder to wash your hands.

When asked whether folks might find the sink and the urinal a little too close for comfort, Jursons says, "It is more suitable for hygiene than just a urinal and then guys who don't wash [their] hands."

Ladies, if you think your restrooms deserve new design concepts too, stay tuned. Jursons says his next concept is a sink-toilet combo that not only saves water, but saves a lot of bathroom space.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit


Patti Smith Reveals Her Solitary Soul In The 'M Train'

Smith follows up to her National Book Award-winning memoir, Just Kids, with another memoir, M Train. Critic Maureen Corrigan says it is a haunting story about weathering life's storms.

Sunpreme: The Grape That Could Revolutionize The Raisin Industry

Harvesting grapes usually takes thousands of workers. But a new raisin grape variety bred in Central California could dramatically cut down on the need for labor.
WAMU 88.5

The Realities And Possibilities Of Eating Well On $4 A Day

Some see the so-called "food stamp challenge" as one that builds empathy, others see it as a publicity stunt. We consider the realities -- and possibilities -- of eating well on $4 a day.

WAMU 88.5

Environmental Outlook: Lessons From Israel's Search For Water

For this month's Environmental Outlook: Ten years ago, Israel experienced a prolonged drought that forced the country to come up with a strategy to address water scarcity. What its experience could teach an increasingly water-starved planet.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.