21. re.source: sanitation service for urban slums
2.6 billion people in the world do not have access to safe sanitation, causing diarrheal disease that is the second-leading global cause of child deaths. One billion people live in urban slums, and that number is growing. Slum residents currently have a lose-lose choice between overcrowded public toilets, open defecation, and private latrines that are expensive to build and maintain. Few squatters and renters can invest in an immobile asset like a latrine. Narrow alleys make it difficult and unhygienic to empty the latrines that do exist. This results in dangerous and undignified living conditions and significant environmental degradation.
A sanitation service that relies on an ultra-low-cost portable household toilet with removable containers to collect and transport wastes safely from dense urban communities community. Beyond being odorless, hygienic, and vector-free, this urine-diverting dry toilet is pleasant to use and appeals to the aspirations of our customers.
We will collect and deliver the wastes to compost or other resource recovery sites, where the wastes will be converted to valuable end-products for sale to agricultural, energy, and other customers. Since many communities are too dense for on-site treatment, we are developing a two-step collection process. First, full containers are removed from the homes and replaced with clean ones. The containers are transported in carts or dollies from homes to collection centers, where they are then transferred to trucks for transport, processing, and cleaning at the resource recovery site. We can then sell the end-products to help finance the service.
Why it should be recognized:
Most previous efforts to resolve the global sanitation crisis have wrongly focused on the provision of toilets without concentrating on the service supply chain that ensures lasting impact. Our solution establishes a complete sanitation service built on two revenue streams: user subscription fees and sale of recovered resources.
The portability of our toilet also provides financial flexibility while lowering risk for the service operator and the customer. A customer can rent a toilet or finance it through subscription fees like cellular service providers finance phones in the US, avoiding large up-front toilet purchase costs that would be a prohibitive barrier to entry. Also, our target customers often face the risk of eviction or expulsion from their homes. Because the toilet is portable, customers can transport their toilet with them or return it to the service provider if they move or are expelled. This solution provides a novel and robust mechanism for delivering sanitation in dense urban areas where previous approaches have failed.