“Out of sight out of mind”… that’s how the sewage system works in our western society. With plenty of clean water, we Swiss let our feces and urine disappear down the sewer. Kompotoi revolutionizes the toilet by viewing “human output” as a raw material, recycling it and returning it to the natural cycle. In the video, founder Jojo Linder explains how it works and the impact of this revolution.
Which social challenges does Kompotoi address?
Conventional toilets require 6 to 9 litres per flush. This corresponds to an average of 41 litres per day and a full 15,000 litres per year. However, clean water is also a scarce resource in Switzerland at times. In recent years, there have been crop failures in agriculture, low water levels in lakes and other water bodies, fish kills and scarce drinking water in some communities, among other things, due to water shortages. Furthermore, the “used water” must be cleaned and recycled in a costly and energy-intensive manner. But not only that. In what Kompotoi calls “human output”, valuable nutrients are present that are lost through the conventional process. Instead of using this local fertilizer, it is produced in an energy-intensive way and imported. Furthermore, a costly infrastructure is needed to maintain this system. A luxury we can afford in Switzerland. But is there no other solution?
Kompotoi deals precisely with this problem and the challenges it poses. The company developed environmentally friendly and odourless compost-based dry toilets and already rents them out in Zurich, Basel, Bern and Graubünden.
Which approach did Kompotoi choose?
With compost-based dry toilets, no water is polluted and no chemicals are needed. Bedding is used instead. It is important that this is carbonaceous, absorbent and has some structure (not sawdust). By composting the secondary resources produced, an important cycle is closed and valuable nutrients are reused as “soil improvers”. In addition, complex and costly infrastructure investments are reduced. Kompotoi has developed dry toilets for a wide range of applications. First, the company rents composting toilets for small to large events. There, toilet visitors are introduced in a playful way to topics such as water, recycling, compost and cycles related to toilets. On the other hand, a wide variety of dry toilets for home use and fixed public toilet facilities are offered.
What are the challenges?
Urine and faeces, the daily walk to the toilet and the associated (environmental) problems are a taboo subject. According to Jojo Linder, this is the biggest challenge for Kompotoi. In addition, there are many prejudices against dry toilets. For example, there is a misconception that a composting toilet stinks, which is so not true. Persuasion is also needed with regard to the earth won. This is clean and suitable for growing fruits and vegetables. It no longer has anything to do with our excretions, which is difficult for many people to comprehend.
What are the effects (impact)?
The portable toilet provides access to sustainable sanitation even in remote locations. In addition, Kompotoi is replacing the plastic and chemically powered portable toilet stalls with a more sustainable solution. The use of dry toilets minimizes the water consumption of a toilet and avoids the costly separation of drinking water and excreta after use.
What vision is Kompotoi striving for?
In future, the company would like to be able to supply the whole of Switzerland locally. Especially abroad, however, there are still many problems with regard to sanitary facilities. For example, according to the World Health Organization, about one in three people on this planet do not have access to a decent toilet, which promotes the spread of disease and increases child mortality. Here, too, Kompotoi would like to contribute to improving the situation with its solution.
How can the solution set be multiplied and scaled?
Dry toilets are basically applicable and usable everywhere. Thus, there are hardly any limits to multiplication and scaling.
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