Porta-potty shortage a potentially messy situation

Porta Potty suppliers and manufacturers nationwide are scrambling to find the equipment to do their jobs.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Porta-potty suppliers and manufacturers are scrambling to find the equipment to fill the demand as large outdoor events are coming back. It’s yet another industry dealing with a supply-chain backlog due to the pandemic.

Portable toilet companies, like many businesses, were worried about their livelihoods when the country went into lockdown last spring. First, there was a concern because large outdoor events – where their toilets are typically needed - were canceled. But their fortunes quickly reversed when portable toilets became necessary at COVID-19 testing and., later, vaccination sites.

Fast forward to today, and industry experts say the demand for outdoor events like weddings and concerts is stronger than ever -- so much so that there aren’t enough toilets to go around.

We are usually able to mobilize these pretty quickly,” said Lovely Loo owner Bo Strange. “That’s what people like, they are self-contained and they supply water, and we can supply our own power if we need to.”

Strange is talking about luxury portable bathrooms which have become wildly popular at events like concerts, weddings and outdoor festivals. They were in high demand, prompting there’s a concern there are not enough toilets to go around.

“It’s hard to get some of the equipment,” Strange said. “I used to be able to get a trailer in like a month’s time. Now it’s taking me up to a year because a lot of the parts they use, are used in the RV industry as well, especially air conditioning parts, things like that are tough to find.”

Lovely Loo offers men’s and women’s bathrooms with wood-grain flooring, air conditioning and heat. Some of the porta-potties even have stereos and showers, which are also harder and harder to find.

Strange said the manufacturing of these high-end portable restrooms also slowed down during COVID-19 because of pandemic precautions at the factories. There’s also been an unprecedented increase in the cost of the plastic resin used to make portable toilets.

The short supply for portable toilets isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s revealing that more and more people want to get back to attending large outdoor events and use bathrooms that more closely resemble the ones they have at home.

About the Author:

Tarik anchors the 4, 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. weekday newscasts and reports with the I-TEAM.