We’re told to flush when we leave the bathroom but, maybe we shouldn’t. The flushing of toilets is a huge waste of water, and by 2030, five billion people won’t have this ‘luxury’ anymore. This won’t only impact our current disposal of human waste but will also affect the 40% of the population who currently don’t have access to sanitary toilets.
Right now, none of the ways we dispose of our bodily wastes are sustainable. Getting rid of sewage is costly and consumes fuel, flushing uses too much water and relieving out in the open pollutes communities. So instead of collecting or flushing poop, change:WATER Labs developed a whole new approach: we shrink it!
The iThrone is a portable toilet that doesn’t require water, power or plumbing to do its job. As CEO Diana Yousef puts it: their "approach re-invents the future possibilities for sanitation". The iThrone consists of a pouch with an evaporative membrane that soaks up and evaporates the water content of human waste. Human waste is already mostly water, so it’s easy to evaporate and reduce the amount of waste by 90-95%.
“Our approach re-invents the future possibilities for sanitation."
And the smell? No piping needed. The iThrone actually has a poop-powered biobattery that converts the waste to power, which ventilates the toilet and reduces odour. Disposal of the waste is only once a month since the toilet is designed to handle a family's worth, 5-10 people, of daily waste for a month.
It may seem like this only solves a sanitation problem but, there are many benefits for low-income communities. Four iThrone toilets can be installed for the same price as one communal toilet. And, with more household toilets, people don’t have to venture outside. This means women and girls are 50% less likely to be assaulted and children have 30-45% less chance of contracting diarrheal disease.
Poor sanitation traps communities in perpetual poverty, poor health and pollution. It causes 80% of all infectious diseases and 4% of all deaths. change:WATER Labs are fighting these statistics by providing domestic sanitation in urban slums, refugee camps and on-the-spot emergencies.
While the iThrone is still a beta product, it has the potential to change how the whole world deals with human waste disposal.
Designers: change:WATER Labs - USA
UN SDGs: Clean water and sanitation & Sustainable cities and communities