One landscaper has developed a unique method for cutting down on water usage in Bakersfield, California.
Mike Henson, the owner of Maranatha Landscaping, has patented his Sweet Pea waterless urinal and is now looking to mass produce them.
The Sweet Pea is a decorative porcelain bowl that sits on a porcelain sleeve. The sleeve houses a PVC pipe that is connected to a “clean-out.” Men urinate in the bowl and it passes through the clean-out to the home’s sewer system.
As odd as it sounds, the Sweet Pea can be customized to look like just about anything. Henson has made ones that look like a fish, a flower, a bear’s head, an acorn and flames. He’s actually had to turn away a suggestion to do a certain U.S. president’s head.
These urinals can be subtle additions to a backyard landscape. Henson’s personal Sweet Pea is sheltered by three ivy-covered trellises and has ivy growing up the pipe as well.
Sweet Peas cost $175 as Henson and a Tehachapi artist currently make them by hand. He hopes to get the price down by mass producing them. Currently, it takes about four to five weeks to make a Sweet Pea.
“It’s a novelty,” he said. “They’re handmade and that takes time.”
A variety of people have purchased the Sweet Pea, and not just drought-stricken Californians. According to Henson, people have bought the urinals for family reunions and he expects it to be a hit among those who travel in campers. People with pools also have found the porcelain bowl is quite convenient for male swimmers.
Henson got his patent last December. By targeting his best potential customers, young men, he hopes to spread Sweet Peas far and wide.
“They’re out in the backyard barbecuing, drinking beer with the guys and (because of the Sweet Pea) they don’t have to march through the house, their wife doesn’t have to wipe up after them and their buddies,” he told .”
Sweet Peas sales haven’t taken off just yet, but Henson has been busy with other projects lately and hasn’t had time to create much publicity for them.
“I was farmer for years and then landscaper for 30 years and then this drought came out and I was just thinking of ways to save water,” he said.