Now of course we all know that portable toilets have got their different uses, from helping construction sites remain efficient to helping events provide for an influx of guests but did you know they’ve even got their uses when it comes to helping the environment? How is it doing this you ask? Well, a new project has begun using solar energy to help transform portable toilet waste into efficient cooking fuel. This was created in order to help improve the hygiene for those in communities without correct indoor sanitation while at the same time, begin to reduce the amount of trees being cut for charcoal. A win win situation, some might say.
The communities taking advantage of this are mostly within and around Naivasha. That’s roughly 56 miles north west of Nairobi. The company that came up with the fantastic idea are called Sanivation. They’re actually a for profit company who’ve also got a soft spot for social good, subsequently providing toilets to homes that needed them.
The locally made portable toilets that “recycle poo” shall we say, are known as blue boxes and require absolutely no plumbing whatsoever. The users pay a monthly charge to have them serviced but other than that, they’re free. The health implications for a community that would otherwise lack basic sanitations is nothing short of significant considering the leading cause of death for children under the age of five in Kenya is diarrhea which is only exacerbated further by poor sanitation.
The waste created by communities in the portable toilets is mixed with charcoal powder and then with waste plant material from local flower farms, which has already been burnt and crushed into a powder. The company, Sanivation, then use the solar technology to concentrate as much of the suns rays as possible (which in Kenya isn’t hard to find) in order to heat the waste, sterilisng it and then making it safe to be used once more. The mixture, now safe to touch, is then turned into smokeless briquettes that people can use as fuel to cook with at home. This project is one of very few to create something so like this from portable toilet waste.
Families have already been using the “blue box” in their homes, specifically Naomi Wanjira Chege, a mother of three from Karagita. She had this to say, “The fact that the toilet is portable means that it can be used in any room of the house. So you don’t have to worry about getting outside to use the toilet.” She’s been using the half kilo briquettes to then cook her families meals with and while they cost slightly more than regular charcoal, she’s stated that they do burn for a lot longer making them much more economical as it tends to save them around 10 to 15% per month on fuel costs. If that’s not fantastic enough, all of the toilets are odourless and allow each and every individual in the family, young, old, able bodied or not, to use the toilet with dignity. On top of this, the briquettes are also odourless and smokeless too.
For more information on this fantastic project, head on over to https://www.sanivation.com!