Home » People & Society » Social Issues & Advocacy » How Did an Amsterdam Airport Reduce Toilet Cleaning Costs?
Amsterdam Airport

How Did an Amsterdam Airport Reduce Toilet Cleaning Costs?

Cost-cutting methods are vital for businesses to survive especially with the current economic crisis. There are several measures that were introduced in the past few years but have you heard about how Amsterdam Schipol was able to reduce its cleaning costs by about 8%?

To reduce spillage in men’s wall-mounted urinals, Amsterdam Airport devised an ingenious design to etch an image of a black house fly in the early 1990s. As a result, spillage was reduced by 80%.

The History of the Urinal Target

People used to put pictures of bees in urinals and toilets in late-nineteenth-century Britain. They served as a target, but also as a joke about the honeybee’s genus, Apis. Thomas Crapper, an engineer, and businessman, even put a picture of a bee in the toilets his company manufactured, down below the water.

An inventor patented a propeller contraption suspended over a toilet and attached from the outside in 1954. While In 1976, a dentist in New Jersey patented the Tinkle Target bullseye decal, citing how parents, janitors, and others responsible for this cleanliness have frequently despaired the human male sloppiness of failing to direct urine into the proper receptacles. These have been installed in urinals in airports, stadiums, and schools all over the world. (Source: Urinal Fly)

How Did the Amsterdam Airport Come Up with this Unique Idea?

Cost reduction is critical for all airlines and airports, especially in the current environment. A lot of cost-cutting measures have been implemented over the years, but this one from Amsterdam Schiphol has to be one of the most surprising. The airport estimates that adding an image of a fly to urinals, has saved 8% on cleaning costs.

The concept is not unique. It is attributed to Aad Kieboom, who oversaw terminal extensions and renovations at Amsterdam Schiphol in the early 1990s. He was inspired in turn by a colleague in the cleaning department, who got the idea from army targets placed in urinals. The concept has gained traction. It is now used in a variety of other contexts – and not always with a fly.

I spent 31 years at Schiphol Airport. I worked at JFK Terminal 4 for many years, first in the operations department, then as the project manager for major projects such as the terminal three-building, a brand-new railway station incorporated within the terminal buildings, renovation of terminals one and two, and developing four new piers, as well as being the Chairman of Schipol’s Fine Arts Committee.

Aad Kieboom, Amsterdam’s Airport Manager

(Source: Elite Aviation)

How Does the Urinal Target Work?

Urinal design frequently deals with cleanliness issues, changing its structure, or adding elements such as screens to prevent spilling or splashing. Targets are one type of intervention that encourages users to direct a stream of urine to a specific location. 
While the flies in the Schiphol Airport urinals are etched, they can also be baked into the porcelain or stuck on afterward as a sticker. One type of sticker is temperature-sensitive, and the fly disappears when heated. (Source: Works That Work)

Leave a Comment