Better Toilets? Human Waste To Be Turned Into Compost
If it works for dogs, why not humans? An Israeli-developed waste system that turns dog droppings into dust has been adapted for use by humans, in a toilet that turns human waste into compost without electricity or water. It’s perfect for use in parks or malls – or in the third world.
It’s that possibility that has won the company, Paulee Cleantech, a $110,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to “create next generation sanitation technology to help make sanitation services truly safe and sustainable for the poor.”
And there could be more where that came from, said company spokesperson Moshe Hibel. “The $110,000 is a first-stage grant by the foundation. If we do a good job, we will qualify for a second round of the grant, which could amount to more than $1 million.”
The toilet, invented by Hebrew University biotech innovator Prof. Oded Shoseyov, decomposes feces and urine using chemicals, which are released upon the pressing of a button powered by a battery or solar cell. The waste is then chemically broken down and turned into compost, which can be used for farming or other purposes, Hibel said.
The grant is part of the Gates Foundation‘s commitment to “reinvent the toilet. No innovation in the past 200 years has done more to save lives and improve health than the sanitation revolution triggered by invention of the toilet,” Sylvia Mathews Burwell, president of the foundation’s Global Development Program, said at a recent international event.“But it did not go far enough. It only reached one-third of the world. What we need are new approaches. New ideas. In short, we need to reinvent the toilet.”
According to Burwell, some 1.1 billion people don’t use a toilet, with huge amounts of human waste being dumped untreated in rivers and streams.