1. Why Peepoople?
Long answer: The development of Peepoo directly addresses the fact that more than 2.5 billion people lack access to basic sanitation. At this very moment in time, 40 out of every 100 people in the world do not have their own toilet.
One child dies every 15 seconds due to lack of basic sanitation.
In order to re-think sanitation, the Peepoople founding team started at the source. This meant preventing disease transmission as early as possible through rapid inactivation of pathogens immediately after defecation.
Those who need sanitation the most are often the ones who can afford it the least. Therefore, there is no other choice than to use whatever is available. With the introduction of Peepoo we have increased choice by offering an innovative, low-cost product, which can rapidly change demand patterns among those with very limited means. Choice is also linked to dignity and status – important factors behind the decision for people living at the bottom of the economic pyramid to invest in a toilet.
With Peepoo, Peepoople has taken an affordable, innovative, sustainable and easily scalable approach to providing safe sanitation. Peepoo is a self-sanitising, single-use biodegradable toilet that after use transforms human waste into valuable pathogene-free fertiliser. It has proven to be applicable in urban slums, emergencies, refugee/IDP camps, and schools in developing countries.
2. What is Peepoo?
Long answer: Peepoo is a personal single-use toilet that sanitises human excreta shortly after defecation, thereby preventing the faeces from contaminating the immediate area as well as the surrounding environment.
Whenever and wherever it’s needed, Peepoo can be used – without waiting for public or political action. Always available, always sanitary and unused by anyone else, Peepoo allows privacy and a home toilet.
Peepoo can function as an everyday toilet, a complementary one at night, at work or in school. Because of its low cost, Peepoo can be used regularly at home or only when needed.
3. Who invented Peepoo?
Long answer: Peepoo was invented in 2005 by Ashoka-fellow Professor Anders Wilhelmson in Stockholm, Sweden. Over a two-year period from 2006-2008 Peepoo was further refined, researched and tested in collaboration with the Swedish University of Agricultural Science (SLU) in Uppsala, Sweden, the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm, in addition to industrial partners selected for their specialized competences. The Founding Team consists of Camilla Wirseen, Ph.Lic., M.Sc Annika Nordin, Associate Prof. Björn Vinnerås, and Prof. Mikael Hedenqvist.
4. How does the hygenisation
process in Peepoo work?
Short answer: Pathogens, such as dangerous parasites, virus and bacteria are inactivated when the urea inside of Peepoo reacts with the faeces.
Long answer: Peepoo sanitises human excreta shortly after defecation. Inside Peepoo there are six grams of urea. When the urea in Peepoo comes into contact with faeces or urine, a breakdown into ammonia and carbonate takes place, driven by enzymes that naturally occur in faeces. As the urea is broken down, the pH-value of the material increases and sanitisation begins. Disease-causing microorganisms, are inactivated after four weeks. Because dangerous bacteria are inactivated, there is no methane gas development from the faeces inside Peepoo .
5. Does Peepoo prevent spread of polioviruses?
Short answer: Yes
Long answer: Based on previous studies of different polioviruses’ sensitivity to ammonia, Peepoo would prevent the spread of polioviruses to the environment and thus continued spread of infection. However to specific studies on polio viruses in Peepoo has been made.
Sources for more information:
Cramer, W. N., Burge, W. D., & Kawata, K. (1983). Kinetics of virus inactivation by ammonia. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 45(3), 760-765.
Ward, R. L. (1978). Mechanism of poliovirus inactivation by ammonia. . J Virol., 26(2), 299-305
6. How is Peepoo used?
Long answer: Peepoo is designed to be used once, while sitting, squatting or standing. Peepoo is normally used in conjunction with a small bucket or a Peepoo Kiti (specially designed seat for Peepoo) and used as a chamber pot. It can also be used only with one’s hand. Because Peepoo is small, lightweight and not fixed in place, it can easily be used indoors or carried to a secluded spot for use as a private toilet.
Peepoo’s two-layer design ensures that the bacteria in human excreta do not come into contact with skin because the inner, wider funnel helps to keep hands clean when holding or closing it after use. After defecating or urinating, the user can securely contain the contents inside Peepoo by sliding the outer layer up over the inner layer and tying it into a knot. Once closed, Peepoo remains odour-free for about 12-24 hours after use.
In order to support Peepoo users in difficult settings, or individuals with special needs, a set of supporting products have been developed. These include Peepoo Kiti. A specially designed seat/holder for Peepoo. And with women and children foremost in mind, a small privacy tent has been developed: Peepoo Yizi.
7. What happens after use?
Long answer: As the bio-plastic that Peepoo is made of disintegrates, its molecules are broken down into carbon dioxide, water and biomass. When the urea in Peepoo comes into contact with faeces or urine, an enzymatic breakdown into ammonia and carbonate takes place, driven by enzymes that naturally occur in faeces.
As a result of this hygienisation process, bacteria found in faeces that can spread water-borne diseases such as cholera can be rendered inactive in a matter of days, depending on the surrounding environment and temperature. If only the risk for epidemics diseases is taken into account, pathogenic bacteria such as salmonella and Vibrio cholera are inactivated in less than a week at 20°C.
After the full sanitation process, four weeks after use, the treated faeces will mainly be a nitrogen fertiliser due to the added urea for sanitation. The organic matter in the faeces will improve the soil’s structure, buffering capacity, and water holding capacity. In the long term, this will improve the potential harvest from gardens and fields where used Peepoos have been buried.
8. Why is Peepoo not bigger in size?
Long answer: The size of Peepoo has been carefully tested, researched and optimised to use minimum material in order to keep the cost down for the beneficiaries. For the purpose of maximum hygiene, it is also important Peepoo is only used once. Larger sizes could encourage users to use the Peepoo twice or more, which would then risk contamination.
9. Is Peepoo suitable for both
“washers” and “wipers”?
Short answer: Yes it works very well.
Long answer: In all field tests conducted in both “wiper” and “washer” cultures, Peepoo has been positively received and user acceptance is very high. Putting toilet paper in Peepoo after use does not restrict the hygenisation process. Also, as the faeces are diluted in the anal cleansing water, the resulting pathogen concentration is much lower (approximately 500-1000 times) compared to the faeces. As a result, there is a low risk of of acquiring infections from the cleansing water by pathogens that infect only at high doses, such as vibrio cholera.
10. What is Peepoo made of?
Long answer: Peepoo is produced using a high-performance, completely degradable bio-plastic – a mixture of aromatic co-polyesters and polylactic acid (PLA) with small additives of wax and lime – which meets EU standard EN 13432l. Inside the bag, for ease of use, a thin layer of gauze unfolds to form a wide funnel when Peepoo is opened.
Peepoo also contains six grams of urea – a non-hazardous chemical that’s the most common artificial fertiliser in the world. Urea can be found under the name carbamide in products such as toothpaste or skin cream.
The pouch material is comprised of a non-woven polylactic acid (PLA) biopolymer made from sustainable and renewable sources.
11. Is Peepoo recyclable?
Long answer: After use and the hygienisation process has been completed, Peepoo fully decomposes to offer safe, valuable nutrients as fertiliser for rural and urban farming. When mixed in soil, used Peepoos increase the soil’s organic matter content and improve its water-holding capacity.
12. How long can you store Peepoo?
Short answer: The shelf life of unused Peepoos in unbroken package is two years.
Long answer: The shelf life for unused Peepoos, when stored in unbroken packages and boxes, is two years. Recommended storage conditions are dry conditions at temperatures between 20-25°C.
13. What is the cost of Peepoo?
Short answer: In the Kibera slum the net price of one Peepoo is 3 Kenyan Shilling. For people displaced by emergencies the Peepoo is distributed for free.
Long answer: In the village of Silanga in Kibera, Kenya, women micro-entrepreneurs sell Peepoos to beneficiaries as single units or in rolls of 25 Peepoos. The price-supported retail price is then 3 Kenyan Shilling (approximately 3¢) per Peepoo. A refund of 1 Kenyan Shilling (1¢) is given to the customer for each used Peepoo that is returned at a Peepoo drop-point.
When Peepoo is both sold and purchased by people in “bottom of the economic pyramid communities”, acceptable pricing levels have been researched and flexible payment structures tested.
For humanitarian response in emergencies and refugee/IDP camps, we implement the Peepoo solution together with partnering organisations, normally international aid organisations. In those projects, the price of Peepoo is embedded in a more comprehensive project budget and Peepoo is given for free to the beneficiary.
14. Does Peepoo meet the WHO requirements for safe sanitation?
Long answer: The World Health Organization (WHO) has established three requirements for a sanitation system to function for the individual, his or her surroundings, and for society in general. It must:
1. Isolate faeces from the individual.
2. Prevent flies and small animals from coming into contact with faeces, in order to prevent contamination.
3. Inactivate pathogens in faeces before they are returned to nature.
Peepoo meets the WHO requirements because after defecating or urinating, the user can securely close Peepoo by sliding the outer layer up over the inner layer and tying it into a knot – thereby immediately isolating faeces from the individual. Due to its self-sanitising attributes, Peepoo remains safe to hold and carry after use. Once closed, flies and small animals are also prevented from direct contact with the contents inside Peepoo.
The urea inside Peepoo inactivates pathogens (harmful bacteria, viruses and parasites) after 4 weeks and Peepoo does not start to break down until the contents have been completely sanitised.
15. How is the user acceptability?
Long answer: Peepoo is usually highly appreciated and has now been sold, used and collected since 2010 Kibera slum, Kenya and in Goma slum, DR Congo since 2014.
The user acceptability of Peepoo has been thoroughly tested in both urban slums and emergencies. All evaluations indicate high user acceptability, in different cultures and conditions.
Surveys made in the Kibera slum when Peepoo had been on the market for 9 months, showed that 93% continued to use Peepoo after their first try.
In the GTZ report from the Peepoo tests in Mymensing, Bangaldesh, the user acceptance is described as: ”…the bags were used and accepted as a viable, beneficial solution to the sanitation situation of the majority of participants.” ”…most found it comfortable and easy to use and preferred it to their regular sanitation practices.”
When Peepoople together with IRC did a demonstration of Peepoo as Humanitarian Response on Haiti, 100% of the participating families wanted to continue to use Peepoo.
After the floods in Sindh, Pakistan, Peepoople did an evaluation of Peepoo as Humanitarian Resonse in flood prone areas together with UN-HABITAT Pakistan. All of the families that used Peepoo wanted to keep using them.
Voices from the users:
“Now I have a toilet at home. I don’t have to be stressed going to a full toilet anymore.”
Mourine Anyango, Kibera, Kenya
”It (Peepoo) is beautiful, clean and free from bad smell.”
Taijul Islam, Mymensingh, Bangladesh
“Now once I’ve started to use (Peepoo) only death can stop me from using.”
Lima Del Brise, Port au Prince, Haiti
“There is no problem to use Peepoo. I want to use Peepoo forever. Will you give us more Peepoos?” Zahida, Sindh, Pakistan.