Kompotoi: The mobile toilet rethought and implemented

“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 into the sewer. Kompotoi is revolutionizing the toilet by treating “human output” as a raw material, recycling it and returning it to the natural cycle. In the video, founder Jojo Linder explains how this works and the effects of this revolution.

Conventional toilets require 6 to 9 liters per flush. This corresponds to an average of 41 liters per day and a full 15,000 liters per year. However, clean water is also a scarce resource in Switzerland at times. In recent years, water shortages have led to crop failures in agriculture, low water levels in lakes and other bodies of water, fish kills and scarce drinking water in some communities.

Furthermore, the “used water” has to be purified and recycled, which is costly and energy-intensive. But not only that. Kompotoi’s “human output” contains valuable nutrients that are lost in the conventional process. Instead of using this local fertilizer, it is energy-intensively produced and imported. Furthermore, a costly infrastructure is required to maintain this system. A luxury that we can afford in Switzerland. But is there no other solution?

Business Sustainability Today - Kompotoi

Kompotoi deals with precisely this problem and the associated challenges. The company has developed environmentally friendly and odor-free dry toilets based on compost and already rents them out in Zurich, Basel, Bern and Graubünden.

What approach did Kompotoi choose?

With the compost-based dry toilets, no water is polluted and no chemicals are needed. Bedding is used instead. It is important that it is carbonaceous and absorbent and has a certain structure (no sawdust). Composting the resulting secondary resources closes an important cycle 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 variety of areas. On the one hand, the company rents out composting toilets for small to large events. There, toilet visitors are introduced to topics such as water, recycling, compost and cycles in connection with toilets in a playful way. A wide range of dry toilets for home use and fixed public toilet facilities are also available.

What are the challenges?

Urine and faeces, the daily trip to the toilet and the associated (environmental) problems are a taboo subject. According to Jojo Linder, this is the biggest challenge for Kompotoi. There are also many prejudices against dry toilets. For example, there is a misconception that a composting toilet stinks, which is not true. Persuasion is also needed with regard to the soil obtained. This is clean and suitable for growing fruit and vegetables. It no longer has anything to do with our excrement, which is difficult for many people to understand.

What are the effects (impact)?

The mobile toilet provides access to sustainable sanitary facilities even in remote locations. Kompotoi is also replacing mobile toilet blocks made of plastic and powered by chemicals with a more sustainable solution. The use of dry toilets minimizes the water consumption of a toilet visit and prevents the time-consuming separation of drinking water and excrement 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 can basically be used anywhere. Thus, there are hardly any limits to multiplication and scaling.