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Fun Facts About Porta Potties

We’ve talked about them before, but there’s a lot you still may not know! Today we will cover some fun facts, statistics, and the history of porta potties.


If you are looking to plan an event, set up a construction site, or develop disaster relief in the future, this will help provide you with a full understanding of everything “Porta Potties”.


Where was the first porta potty born?


According to a few external sources, the first notable porta potty originated in 1940. This was during WWII, a bustling time in history where there was much to be done.

It is said that workers who occupied shipping yards in the U.S decided to construct impromptu porta potties to avoid the long walks back to where washrooms were located.


They were quite rudimentary, simply collecting waste with basic sheltering for privacy and containment of smell. Unfortunately for these lads, they didn’t have the chemicals we use today to manage and mask the odor associated with portable toilets.

However, they did manage to increase productivity through saving the long walk back down the docks. And so, portable toilets were born with patents arising in the 1950’s to commercialize this revolutionary idea.


What does the portable toilet industry look like today?


Today, the porta potty industry has grown to a billion dollar industry in Canada and the United States. Employing thousands of people from thousands of businesses profiting off of the demand from the current markets.


Porta potties are primarily used for convenience’s sake in the developed countries of our world. We usually only think of portable toilets when we are at an outside event, construction site, or a marathon for example. However, this isn’t the case for third world countries or those experiencing disasters.


In actuality, portable toilets find much more importance in places experiencing disasters such as tsunamis, hurricanes, and earthquakes. They additionally provide a means of sanitary human waste management for those without developed sewer and waste management systems.


As we mentioned in a previous article; porta potties save lives and provide invaluable assistance to those in needs. So in today’s world portable toilets are an integral factor in our society, whether it be out of necessity or simply convenience.


A toilet with many names.


Portable toilets go by many names:


  • Porta Potties

  • Porta Loo

  • Portable Toilet

  • Portable Restroom

  • Jon

  • Jon-on-the-spot

  • Water Closet

  • Honey Bucket

  • Deification Station

Depending on which neck of the woods you live in and what your preferred title of these units are, results may vary. If we missed any, or you can come up with some new ideas, let us know in the comments below!


The evolution of porta potties.


As mentioned before, the roots of portable toilets came from very basic beginnings. In fact, they weren’t so “portable”.


In most cases, the first portable toilets before patenting were made of wood and metal. These were not the portable plastic materials such as polyurethane as we see today. So you can imagine how the demand for something more transportable to follow the needs of those who required a toilet came to be.



Next problem was the the odor. The smell of raw sewage building up made the waste management a nightmare to deal with. Constantly having to empty the receptacles just to manage the smell become too tedious. That’s when people started using chemicals such as formaldehyde to manage the smell and the decomposition of waste within portable toilets. This solved the problem for the time being till we changed over to more friendly chemicals to manage this, hence the familiar blue liquid seen in most porta potties.


Since then, minor adjustments in style and amenities have evolved. Providing hand washing stations, sanitizers, seat covers, ventilation, and other adjustments have since made these much more inviting and accommodating facilities for everyone to use.

In some cases as well, there are VIP units available. These are essentially trailer drawn washrooms which have much more space with lavish interiors. The only draw backs are price and lack of portability in comparison to portable toilets made of plastic. Since an entire trailer is needed to haul only one or two VIP units, it’s more viable to have exponentially more standard units to meet the needs of a site.


Porta Potties have an incredible impact on the environment (Or, lack there of)


One of the commonly overlooked benefits of portable toilets is their efficient use of water to manage human waste! The average toilet in a home consumes 200 gallons of water per day depending on the amount of people using it daily. In most common cases, you have roughly 4 people using a toilet up to 4 times a day each.


This consumes a large amount of one of humanities most import resources; fresh water. A portable toilet on the other hand uses 90% less water than you average toilet. Since it isn’t using fresh water to transport waste after each use, the water used for a porta potty is significantly lower than household toilets.


So we can thank portable toilets for saving our precious blue planets resource of sustainability. Due to the common use of portable toilets at event centers and construction sites, water consumption is drastically decreased in comparison to using conventional toilets as an alternative.


Porta potties invaluable sidekick: toilet paper.


Toilet paper originally found it’s roots in early China. First made for only the Chinese Emperor Family, it was a luxury product which was even perfumed.

It wasn’t until 1857, when a man named Joseph C. Gayetty commercialized the production of toilet paper. That’s less than 200 years ago! Since then, we have made advancements with things like adding perforations, optional ply, softness, etc.


Most of us take it for granted, but having toilet paper made us smell better and become a more hygienic society. Cleanliness avoids multiple diseases and illness caused by unsanitary practices. Luckily, this is now common practice and readily available to most of the world.


Thank you for reading!


We wanted to have a little fun today with our article and shine some light on the interesting facts and history revolving around porta potties. We hope this was a fun read for you and hopefully you learned something new!


Let us know what you think below, and stay tuned for more articles from your favorite environmental waste solution experts.

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