Flat-packed toilet brings relief to disaster-struck areas
One of the more unsavory consequences of natural disasters can be the lack of access to toilets. Japanese design firm Nendo has taken aim at this dilemma, developing a flat-packed toilet that can be carried in a bag and built on-site with the help of commonly found waste materials.
Nendo points to the devastation caused by the 2011 and 2016 earthquakes in Japan as the motivation for its newest concept, which it calls minimLET, but we'll call the Calamity Can. It says that while portable or disposable toilets have been developed for disaster scenarios, the size and weight of the structural elements has limited their adoption.
So those characteristics were a big focus for Nendo when designing the minimLET. It aimed to keep the kit as light and compact as possible by making it from materials that can serve different purposes. These include six aluminum pipes, a toilet seat, a nylon cloth for shelter, tissues, garbage bags and coagulent all packed into a slim carry bag that can be slung over the shoulder.
The idea is that if you're in an evacuation shelter and have plastic water bottles or drink cans on-hand, then they can be put to work as part of the toilet's structure. Nendo says a 2-liter (0.52 gal) bottle is the perfect height to act as a leg for its toilet, while three steel cans connected together can serve the same purpose. These could be filled with sand or water for improved structural stability.
This frees up the aluminum poles to act as supports for the tent, which can be further pimped out with a cheap rain umbrella and the included nylon fabric that also doubles as a poncho. And the waterproof bag's role in all of this is to double as a bucket, with a gusseted bottom and capacity of 16 L (4.2 gal) giving it the ability to carry enough water for a double-flush.
There's no word on pricing or when the minimLET might become available, but it appears to be a follow up to the Minim+AID kit for disaster victims that the firm launched in 2015, so don't be surprised if it makes its way to market. You can check out the promo video below.