It’s summer 2021, after a pandemic year, and everyone’s excited to get back to outdoor festivals, fun runs, and just plain having a good time with family reunions and camping adventures. If you’re one of the hundreds of planners organizing an outdoor event, you may have just found out there are no portable toilet rentals until September – or later. How is this possible?
Summer is always a busy time for porta potty rentals, but several states are experiencing portable toilet backlogs in 2021 that will last through October. Here’s a brief explainer on why this is happening and what you can do if you can’t get a delivery when you need it.
Why is there a shortage of portable toilet rentals?
Summer is a busy time even in a regular year. Summer festivals. Fun runs. Construction projects. DIY. There is always an increase in demand for portable toilet rentals in summer. In 2021, though, there are more reasons for shortages.
- Labor shortage. It’s an incredibly competitive hiring market in the waste services industry right now. A shortage of qualified workers means companies sometimes don’t have enough drivers or service personnel to deliver, pickup and service all the units as quickly as they can in slower times.
- Rise in materials costs. Some of our haulers are telling us they’re seeing a rise of more than 300% in the cost of materials – including the cost of new porta potties and replacement parts – and delivery wait times are six months or longer due to ongoing supply chain delays.
- Demand is high. People are ready to be outside and socializing again, and there’s an increase in demand for portable toilets and toilet trailers.
Now that you know what makes 2021 an unusual year, what are your porta potty alternatives?
Alternatives to portable toilet rentals
You may have seen the plastic five-gallon camping toilets you can carry with you on backpacking trips. A quick search for “portable camping toilets” will bring up a variety of options designed for easy, pack-and-carry convenience. There are styles that feature a regular toilet seat on a plastic container. There are also styles that look like folding chairs with plastic bags underneath. While these are certainly options, and they’re readily available from any camping retailer, you do have other options.
Composting toilets look more like regular toilets (though smaller) and they have the benefit of feeling a little sturdier when you’re seated. There is no water in composting toilets, which might make them easier to transport.
There are also flushable camping toilets (sometimes these are marketed as portable RV toilets) that have water tanks to give you more of a traditional toilet experience. However, keep in mind this may use a lot of water depending on the number of guests. If eco-friendliness is a concern, look into waterless camping toilet options. There are many on the market.
One of the benefits of these portable camping options is you can purchase a pre-made camping toilet tent (yes, you can pick these up from a camping retailer), or get creative and make your own privacy tent. How about a privacy fence with flowers and a string of outdoor, solar-powered lights? You can get creative with it.
Traditional outdoor toilet solutions
Let’s be honest, a public park is not going to let you build an outhouse (although, if it’s private property and the owner gives you permission, an outhouse is easy to build). However, most parks will open their locked bathroom facilities, where available, for an extra fee.
Call the park ranger’s office, or the city recreation department, depending on who manages the park or public space. Ask if they have restrooms available for an extra fee – most do, and most will send someone to open and close the bathrooms while you’re there. They may not be glamorous, and your guests may have to take a hike to get to them, but at least there will be facilities available.
No matter the year or the circumstance, summer is a busy season for outdoor events. Make sure you call and book portable toilets (and fencing, storage containers, and any other services you need) as early as possible. Even if your area is booked solid, you can still use these ideas to keep your event on track.