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Doodling UNC student invents waterless porta-potty

Posted April 7

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— Porta-potties can be pretty gross.

But where some see a problem, Liz Morris sees a solution.

Liz Morris, a graduate student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has developed a portable toilet that doesn’t require water.

“I was doodling toilets on my thesis instead of writing my thesis and realized that I actually had an idea that could be something,” she said.

Morris formed a venture called Sanitation Creations to market the Dungaroo. It works with a foot pedal flush. Just press, and the waste goes away.

With each “flush,” the Dungaroo spreads antimicrobial pellets over the waste, rendering it odorless and killing germs without using water or harsh chemicals.

The waste is sealed in a bag.

“It all goes into a larger plastic bag with a drawstring, so that's all you're touching,” Morris said. “You’d just tie it up and throw it away.”

Morris is marketing it to the RV and boat industry, and she hope the Dungaroo will eventually replace traditional porta-potties.

In developing countries such as Haiti, where sanitation is a public health crisis, the Dungaroo could save lives, Morris said.

While Morris is trying to get the Dungaroo to market, she’s keeping her sense of humor in a business that seems to bring out the 5-year-old in everyone.

“My nephew calls me a 'poopologist.’ I go with it,” she said with a laugh.

23 Comments

This story is closed for comments. Comments on WRAL.com news stories are accepted and moderated between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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  • ncprr1 Apr 8, 2:19 p.m.

    This doesn't look like a new idea. It's basically like a big Diaper Gennie. I'll be surprised if she isn't sued for patent infringement.

  • Ijaz Fahted Apr 8, 12:55 p.m.

    Is this thing safe for urine?

    — Posted by Obamacare returns again

    I guess the kitty litter inside is the clumping kind.

  • Obamacare returns again Apr 8, 12:21 p.m.

    Is this thing safe for urine?

  • Ijaz Fahted Apr 8, 12:17 p.m.

    So, fill up more landfills with plastic...not the best solution

    — Posted by bizarro

    Careful, others have been chastised for making such comments. We are supposed to know somehow that they are using biodegradeable plastics.

  • packfan79 Apr 8, 12:06 p.m.

    NC State engineering students develop ingenious products all the time, but let one UNC grad student recreate an old idea and WRAL is all over it like stink on........well, you know.

  • In Decisive Apr 8, 10:37 a.m.

    It needs a "Doggie Dooley" type system for disposal. I immediately thought of the diaper genie as well. There are also similar systems for disposing of a cat's waste, just like the diaper genie.

  • Freda93 Apr 8, 10:29 a.m.

    This new pitch on already studied product by a board grad student working on a college thesis sounds good in theory , but not for practical use.. Portable toilets effectively collect over 20 million gallons of human waste each year in N.C. The companies that provide them properly dispose of the waste instead of throwing the plastic bags in the landfill. All the products used in portable toilets are biodegradable, safe to human touch, & approved by the local waste water treatment plants. The Dungaroo may be ok for very low volume usage, but absolutely not a an alternate choice for portable sanitation at most out door events or construction sites in its current form. The product doesn't address the real reason why portable toilets are gross. The users themselves & to many people needing to go with to few toilets on site to handle the volume. This is what makes toilets Gross.

  • Ijaz Fahted Apr 8, 10:16 a.m.

    It's a diaper genie.

    — Posted by Nope

    Pretty much a diaper genie with kitty litter.

  • Ijaz Fahted Apr 8, 10:15 a.m.

    Good idea except the use of plastic. Not very sustainable at all. If she could find another... View More

    — Posted by carrboroyouth

    There are plenty of biodegradable plastics available.

    I enjoy comments on articles from when... View More

    — Posted by smcallah

    Well when you don't include such information in the article it leaves people to wonder. But I guess you already knew that the bags were biodegradable since you are the resident inventor expert.

    Try to be less snarky next time. Carrboro had a valid point that was completely overlooked by the amazing reporters here at WRAL.

  • anneonymousone Apr 8, 10:12 a.m.

    Hurray for Ms. Morris! It may seem as though her idea was an embellished doodle, but there's a lot of thoughtfulness and knowledge behind it (if you'll pardon the inadvertent pun).

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