BABY STEPS

Thank you, Latvia, for this combination urinal/sink

Obsession
Design
Obsession
Design

A combination urinal and sink isn’t as weird as it sounds—it’s actually kind of genius. Latvian designer Kaspars Jursons’ newest creation, Stand, was inspired by concerns over both water waste and poor male hand washing practices. A sink nestled above the urinal provides a bold hygiene reminder, and the water used is then recycled to clean the unit.

“It’s not just a fancy piece of art,” Jursons told NPR. “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.”

The urinals are currently being manufactured in small batches and selling for around $590 each, and Jursons says that they’ve already saved thousands of liters of water in a Latvian concert venue.

We can assume they’re getting men to wash their hands, too. A study earlier this year found that men were compelled even by the placement of a prompt more subtle than a sink in the face. When researchers posted signs in a college bathroom reminding men of the importance of hand washing, the practice went up more than 10%. Good thing, too, because a 2010 study found that men only wash their hands (PDF) in public 77% of the time—that’s compared to a 93% washing rate for women. And behavior is way worse in stadiums, where hand washing drops to only 65% for dudes (though ladies actually wash their hands even more).

So if the idea of washing your hands over the urinal you’ve just used grosses you out, just remember: you probably weren’t even going to wash them in the first place, and that would be even ickier.

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