Coffee shop toilets made 'cosy' to spur clean habits

Cubicle wraps, wall stickers create feeling of home in drive launched on World Toilet Day

The toilets of 10 coffee shops have been decorated with posters, cubicle wraps and wall stickers to make them more "homely and cosy".

The initiative by the Public Hygiene Council (PHC) was launched yesterday in conjunction with World Toilet Day, in support of the National Environment Agency's public toilet cleanliness campaign.

The cubicle wraps depict bathroom tiles and shelves with potted plants, as well as posters reminding the public to keep toilets clean "like you do at home". The decorations will be rolled out to 110 other coffee shops by next month.

Volunteers will also be stationed outside toilets to thank users who show good etiquette and to reward them with a packet of wet wipes.

Yesterday, Senior Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment Amy Khor visited the FoodHub coffee shop at Block 214 Serangoon Avenue 4, one of the coffee shops in the initiative.

She said it is necessary to maintain high standards of cleanliness and hygiene in public spaces so as to curb the spread of diseases such as Covid-19, and prevent food contamination.

"The onus of keeping the toilets clean should not just rest on the coffee shop operator or the cleaners. Even with more regular cleaning scheduled, all you need is just one inconsiderate toilet user, and the toilet will be dirty."

PHC chairman Edward D'Silva said that before the coronavirus pandemic, he had noticed toilets getting dirtier over the years.

"Since Covid-19, there has been an emphasis on hand washing, but physical cleanliness in toilets has not changed. So we came up with initiatives to change the mindsets of both coffee shop operators and the public."

Making coffee shop toilets look nicer would spur people to be more conscious about keeping them clean "just like their homes".

"We would like to try educating the public first before turning to legislation," Mr D'Silva said. "But we've observed that legislation is more effective, as seen in the success of enforcing the returning of trays."

Ms Shen Bo, 39, a cleaner at the FoodHub coffee shop, has noticed positive change since the cubicle wraps were put up a month ago.

"Before, there would always be people who didn't flush the toilet or who threw tissue paper on the floor. Now with the posters put up and the toilet looking homely, toilet cleanliness has improved," she said in Mandarin.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 20, 2021, with the headline Coffee shop toilets made 'cosy' to spur clean habits. Subscribe