Displayed over the weekend in Austin’s annual SXSW conference, the Hotaru compact shower is comprised of a plastic base in which the five gallons of water are stored, a collapsible nylon tent that stands six feet tall when fully extended, and a shower pole upon which a handheld shower head is attached. Throughout your shower, the shower drain collects the water and pumps it back through its purifying filters until it’s clean enough to reuse. This design, the Japanese company says, could save 150 gallons of water across 50 showers, when compared to traditional showers.
So just how “pure” is this water that you’re reusing for weeks on end? Hotaru founder Ryo Yamada tells Gizmodo that soap, shampoo, and dirt can all be removed from the stream, though he suggests using “mild body cleaners” instead of harsher soaps in the shower. The filters, which are clearly doing a significant amount of work on a daily basis, have a lifetime of about two months, and thanks to a built-in sensor, you’ll be alerted when it’s time to get new ones.
And don’t worry — just because this shower is portable and uses recycled water doesn’t mean you’re sacrificing anything as far as pressure is concerned. Hotaru’s showers pump water at you at a pressure of an impressive 60 psi.
Currently, the company plans on bringing the Hotaru to the American market (specifically in California) in 2017, and it will retail for about $3,000. For those who can afford it, it may be a worthwhile step toward saving the planet, one shower at a time.