Industrial designer Virginia Gardiner has designed not just a new toilet, but a new closed loop management system that will allow individuals to recycle their poop.
A student of the Design London School at Imperial College in London, Gardiner has made a protogypical waterless toilet, called the Loo Watt, that is part of a closed-loop energy management concept. It also uses no energy and converts human waste into a commodity.
The idea is pretty simple. It starts with a person making a deposit into the toilet. Rather than flushing that organic waste into the sewage system, the person turns the crank that pushes the material into a receptacle lined with a carbon-rich, biodegradable film.
The portal into this receptacle is sealed shut once the crank is turned completely and the waste disappears into the tank. Thus, no odour lingers around the loo.
The collected poop is then periodically removed (it can be rolled away from the toilet, in the prototype design) and brought to an anaerobic digester, which produces cooking gas from the methane. Then the user cooks food with the gas or heats a home and the whole process start sover again.
This might sound utterly loony to Westerners and for anyone with a flush toilet, access to a sewage system and existing cooking/ heating sources already piped into their homes. But Gardiner claims that there are 2.6 billion people – that is 40% of the world’s population – who do not have access to flush toilets. Given the link between human disease and poor sanitation, it seems Gardiner’s concept would fall on fertile ground, so to speak, in many parts of the world where it could be used as a sustainable solution for a lack of sanitation infrastructure.
As a means of addressing poor sanitation, the Peepoo degradable bag seems more appropriate – or at the very least, a good first step in the right direction.
Created by Swedish Architect Anders Wilhelmson in 2005, this bag is designed to provide a way for those in poverty to safely collect their own waste, which can then be used as fertilizer. It has been pilot tested in Africa and India.Extracted from Triple Pundit