Start-up aims to tackle France’s public urination problem

29th of November 2023
Start-up aims to tackle France’s public urination problem

A new app that rewards businesses for making their toilets accessible to the public is being rolled out in parts of France.

Designed to help combat the ongoing problem pf public urination, the ICI Toilettes app has been developed by Nantes start-up Urban Services.

It features a geolocation application that helps users to locate public toilets and allows them to update the status of the facility. This allows people to find the closest functional bathroom and keeps local authorities informed of the state of the city's sanitation infrastructure.

The app's second function is to create a network of local businesses willing to open their washroom facilities to the public. These "partners" are given €100 per month by the local authorities for their participation in the scheme.

Public urination is a major issue in France, partly due to the lack of available toilets.
"Around 56,000sq m of walls and doors are ruined by urine every month in Paris alone," said Urban Services CEO Thomas Herquin. "That can be very costly."

The app is currently in operation in Montreuil in Nantes, with all participating businesses given stickers to proclaim the "open" status of their washrooms. The service is now set to be rolled out in Grenoble and talks are also under way with the authorities in Saint-Denis, a municipality just north of Paris.

If all goes well, the scheme could be in operation throughout Paris in time for the 2024 Olympics. Urban Services hopes to set up a network of 100 partner retailers in Paris by June 2024 - a number Herquin says will raise the capital's public toilet capacity by 25 per cent.



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