Are Urinal Screens an own goal or are they quite simply he easiest answer to a smelly problem?
Urinal screens have been around for long time. Like most things in this industry once a few players get involved innovation starts to kick in. The original urinal screen was a hard rigid plastic that was predominantly to minimise chewing gum and cigarette butts (not so long ago) from being washed down the urinal and causing blockages – lets call this US v1.1?
US v1.2 was of a softer material so one size pretty much can fit all when it comes to urinals, but at this stage they also coated the screen with a fragrance. This was pioneered by Swisher in the US and any other markets that the franchise operated. US v1.2 had a lot of copycat rivals and this is where the market started to take off. Fresh Products/Waypoint got involved and launched the P Wave. They had two unique factors they had found a way to impregnate the ‘plastic’ material to maximise the effect and secured a patent on the amount of fragrance in a urinal mat. This was 2010/11 I think and in the last 5 years the demand for the urinal mat has grown considerably.
This demand has been driven by end users and really the washroom services industry have missed a trick, although there is some movement now. Now the reason in part for the washroom service companies not advancing with the urinal screen is that service companies like to sell complicated service equipment at a premium, there is no better example of the multitude of urinal sleeves which will cost the average business 4-6 times the cost of a urinal screen (there may even be installation charges on top).
Now this is a blog not a book and I good fill several chapters on urinals, the issues and the various pluses and minuses of the multitude of systems that are out there (if there are any publishers out there interested drop me a note). However at this stage let me talk about US v2.1. The market has moved on and now both Waypoint (USA) and Prodifa (France) have launched a screen with not only fragrance but also enzymes/friendly bacteria. These impregnated mats release bacteria that eat uric acid, this slows down the calcification and build up of solid materials in the drains – it won’t prevent it happening but it can considerably slow it down. (At this point I should add a disclaimer tat if you are pouring bleach or any strong acid product down the drain you will neutralise the effect and in doing so wasting your money!).
Both companies have also added a 3D finish (which looks a bit like astroturf) to eliminate splash back, another innovation. Great, I hear you say but Waypoint have not held back and have launched US v3.1 this is a double sided urinal mat which is now hexagonal instead of round, and so has a snugger fit in smaller urinals, can be fitted either way and also comes in a super long urinal trough version (photo to follow). This can be interlinked to fir right along urinal troughs, great for schools and sports stadiums.
So back to m question at the start is the simplest solution the best? Like all things everyone has an opinion, me I wish that Waypoint had made their mats better colours? the orange/mango is a bit garish and would not sit well in a 5 star venue, but the truth is that there is a place for them and the Prodifa goal post idea brings a bit of fun to the toilets (not to mention better accuracy).
I look forward updating this blog once we get feedback fro our customers.