Promote the Positive Message of the Portable Sanitation Industry

Promote the Positive Message of the Portable Sanitation Industry
Karleen Kos is executive director of the Portable Sanitation Association International. She may be reached at or 952/854-8300.

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If you have been paying attention over the past few years, you know PSAI has been raising awareness of the many benefits of portable sanitation. We even declared every Aug. 15 “World Portable Sanitation Day” to draw attention to the valuable role our industry plays globally and environmentally. In fact, the third annual WPSD celebration is going on right now, bolstered by companies like yours who are working hard to spread the word.

But we can be real. I know a lot of you are thinking, “Why does this matter to me? I’m just trying to run a successful business here in (location), and I don’t have time to spend on extras. My customers don’t care about this stuff.”

Perhaps they don’t. Then again, what if they did care and you have been missing the chance to promote your business and our industry?

A study by GfK Roper Consulting Green Gauge found:

“Americans still want companies to go green, and there is evidence that they give credit to companies that do so. About three in four (74 percent) agree — a (company) that reduces the environmental impact ... is making a smart business decision.”

So, odds are good that three out of four of your customers would be interested in knowing that portable sanitation is a “green” industry. Is this something you tell them? Importantly:

  • Portable sanitation saves water. As much as 125 million gallons a day. We’ve got the data to prove it. When water is in short supply — whether that’s because there’s been a disaster, you’re outside a long way from permanent facilities, or you live in a Third World country — portable sanitation is a critical service.
  • Portable sanitation saves lives. Around 2.5 billion people don’t have access to a toilet — and they are not all in developing nations, according to the World Health Organization. The resulting contamination leads to diseases that sicken or kill millions of people each year. Germs are not selective, and portable sanitation promotes everyone’s health (yes, in North America, too) by keeping fecal matter isolated.
  • Portable sanitation saves the environment. As most PROs — and not many customers — know, portable restroom waste is recycled and returned to aquifers. Where land application is allowed, properly treated waste provides nutrients for the ground. Many deodorizing products contain natural bacteria and enzymes that are environmentally friendly and help break down the waste. You won’t find many industries that are “greener” than ours.

We all know that portable sanitation gets a bad rap. That’s hardly a secret. But let’s not let the very positive side of our industry become a secret instead. We provide better work sites, better weekends and a better world. Let’s work together to educate and inspire customers and stakeholders. They still may not “love” a portable restroom, but they can come to respect them as a noble and necessary service. Then everybody wins.

Playing small does not serve the world. Who are we not to be great?


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