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Waste Not, Want Not

NCJ Number
Date Published
2 pages
This article reports on envisioned correctional and law enforcement uses for the Portable Environmental Toilet (PETT) that emerged from a demonstration at the January 2004 meeting of the Advisory Council of the Office of Law Enforcement Technology Commercialization (OLETC).

PETT has been marketed primarily to campers. PETT is about the size of a standard U.S. toilet, but it breaks down to approximately the size of a large briefcase. Each individual uses his/her own powder-filled removable plastic bag, which zips shut for transport away from remote sites where the PETT is used. Instead of water or chemicals, the PETT system uses a vegetable-based powder enclosed in each plastic bag. The powder gels the waste products into a semisolid, whitish material. Because the double-layered, puncture-resistant bags are biodegradable, they can be placed in any garbage can. A privacy tent (4-foot x 4-foot base) comes with stakes and its own backpack carrying case. The demonstration of PETT before OLETC's Advisory Council included a "brainstorming" session on how the PETT might by used in law enforcement and correctional settings. Suggested uses in correctional settings included the following: to determine whether inmates passed swallowed balloons containing drugs; when natural disasters cause correctional facilities to lose running water; when transporting prisoners, so rest-area stops are not needed; for inmate road crews; and when temporary outside guard posts are used. Some suggested law enforcement uses are for SWAT teams on extended training exercises in the wilderness; for officers using a van on a stakeout; and for lengthy, remote crime scene investigations. Although many uses for the PETT were suggested, no modifications of the product were required for the suggested uses.

Date Published: January 1, 2004