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 is an ideal solution for 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 easily be used – without waiting for public or political action. Always available, always sanitary and unused by anyone else, Peepoo allows each individual person total privacy.
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, Prof. Mikael Hedenqvist, and Peter Thuvander
4. How does the hygenisation
process in Peepoo work?
Short answer: All the dangerous pathogens are inactivated when the urea inside of Peepoo reacts with the faeces.
Long answer: Peepoo works as a micro-treatment plant, sanitising 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 within two to four weeks depending on the surrounding temperature.
If only the risk for epidemic diseases is taken into account, pathogenic bacteria such as salmonella and Vibrio cholera are inactivated in less than a week at 20°C. Because all bacteria are inactivated, there is no methane gas development from the faeces inside Peepoo .
5. 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 tube 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 at least 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.
6. 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.
When all pathogens in Peepoo have been inactivated, two to 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.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. 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.
12. What is the cost of Peepoo?
Short answer: In the Kibera slum the net price of one Peepoo is 2 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.
13. 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 user. 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 harmful pathogens (bacteria, viruses and parasites) within 2-4 weeks depending on the temperature and Peepoo does not start to break down until the contents have been completely sanitised.
14. Where is Peepoo produced?
Long answer: Currently, Peepoos are produced at Ecotech’s semi-manual facility in Nairobi, Kenya. Between 3,000 to 6,000 Peepoos are produced here daily. When Peepoople’s high-speed production line begins operating in Germany in 2013, capacity will be up to 500,000 Peepoos per day, up to 12 million on a monthly basis.
15. How is the quality of Peepoos checked?
Long answer: Random samples are taken every 30 minutes for drop testing, measuring the strength of the welds in Peepoo, verifying the amount of urea, as well as a visual inspection.
16. How is Peepoo distributed?
Long answer: A local Peepoople NGO, or local partnering NGO, is responsible for organising the distribution of Peepoos in urban slums. Sales are conducted through different local channels, of which, women micro-entrepreneurs or cooperatives are most important. Women micro-entrepreneurs who sell Peepoos are given extensive training on the product as well as on how to start, run and grow a small business by the responsible NGO.
Once Peepoo is established as a new sanitation solution, a variety of retail channels in the slums are explored for sales and distribution – for example – water retailers, sanitation providers and kiosks.
In schools, Peepoos are distributed for free to the children, initially financed by the school’s donors. The value of the increased yield from the school gardens where fertiliser from used Peepoos is utilised has the potential to finance the Peepoo sanitation solution making the system self-sustainable.
For use in emergencies, Peepoople has developed a Humanitarian Response Model to be implemented in partnerships with international aid agencies. The model is comprised of both Hardware and Software components to reach out to more than 50,000 people with in-home sanitation and hygiene promotion within 30 days. Several modules can be deployed in parallel to reach larger populations.
Hardware and Software components include Peepoos as well as implementation and education support to deliver in-home sanitation on very short notice – on a massive scale. It includes protocols and staffing for the coordination needed to effectively implement the Peepoo solution in combination with already established routines for Hygiene Promotion.
17. Where is Peepoo used today?
Long answer: Peepoople saleswomen and retail kiosks are now selling Peepoos in Kibera, Kenya, to approximately 10,000 regular users. The Peepoo system has also been implemented in more than 60 schools in the Silanga area in Kibera.
Peepoo has also been successfully tested in:
Boxwood slum, Durban, South Africa together with Oxfam Novib
Slum areas in Mymensingh, Bangladesh together with GIZ Bangladesh
As emergency response Peepoo has been evaluated together with partners in:
Sindh, Hyderabad, and Balochistan, Pakistan, together with UN-HABITAT Pakistan, Nyando, Kenya together with Kenya Red Cross, Port au Prince, Haiti, with Oxfam and with IRC, and in Christchurch, New Zealand, together with Giles Enterprises and local churches.
18. How is the user acceptability?
Long answer: Peepoo is highly appreciated and has now been sold, used and collected for two years in Silanga, Kibera slum, Kenya. And now serving including schools over 10,000 customers.
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.
19. Will Peepoo be introduced in
the western world?
Long answer: Peepoople was created to help the most vulnerable in the world and therefore we are focused on four areas: Urban Slums, Schools in Poor Communities, Disaster Relief and Emergencies, and Refugees/IDP Camps.
We do, however, receive distribution and customer requests for new markets such as outdoor activities and leisure usage in the western world and we will look in to expanding in to western markets in due time.
However Peepoo has already been used in the western world, as Humanitarian Response. After the earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, Peepoo was together with Giles Enterprises and local churches distributed to the affected community, with large success.
20. How can I work with Peepoople?
Long answer: We are constantly growing and looking for more people to join us in our work. Here you can view the current vacant positions at Peepoople and also read about how we engage people in different ways, through volunteer work, internships, employments, and as partners.
21. Can I support Peepoo?
Long answer: As a private individual, informing others of the conditions and consequences caused by lack of sanitation and contaminated water can provide great support for the Peepoo solution. Every 15 seconds, a child under the age of two dies due to contaminated water. 2.6 billion people, 40% of the world’s population do not have access to the simplest latrine. Preventing spread of disease at the source with the hygienic sanitation that Peepoo offers to the most vulnerable people on earth, is a message that you can help spread in many ways.
As an NGOs, aid agency or relief organisation working in emergencies, in schools, in IDP/relief camps, in urban slums you can join in a partnership with Peepoople. Please contact us directly here.
If you currently use or have previously used Peepoo, sharing your experiences with family, friends and neighbours can help others learn about safe hygiene and sanitation. Opportunities may already exist for volunteering or working with Peepoople in your community. Talk with your Peepoo saleswoman, collector or community mobiliser to get more information.
You can also support Peepoople through volunteering, doing your internship here or working with us. Read more about the current opportunities here.
If you are a journalist who is interested in sharing your knowledge of Peepoo, you can spread the word through social media channels or by producing articles or films that can educate people in your personal network or the world at large. The more information people have regarding the tremendous toll on human life that unsanitary living conditions inflict, and the immediate solution that Peepoo can provide by preventing disease at the source, can make a positive impact on saving lives and improving livelihoods – especially for women and children.
At Peepoople, we believe that all people deserve access to the dignity and safety that the Peepoo solution can provide. There is no “us” or “them” in the world. We are all Peepoople. If you share our belief, please share this message.
The structure for private donations is not yet in place. This is in the process of being developed. To follow our progress, sign up for our newsletter in the bottom of this page.
22. How can I be a part of
the implementation of Peepoo?
Long answer: In Urban Slums or in Schools: Currently, Peepoos are produced at a semi-manual production facility in Kenya. This production line is primarily focused on supplying Peepoos to our Urban Slums and School projects in Kibera. However, in 2013, a high-speed production line will be operational and our capacity will increase immensely. This will give us the opportunity to expand to new slum areas around the world. If you are interested in partnering with Peepoople in order to implement the Peepoo solution in urban slums, please contact Project Director Camilla Wirseen, firstname.lastname@example.org, tel +46 70 416 36 22. Or fill in our partner form here.
In Emergencies: Today, Peepoople implements the Peepoo solution in emergencies through partnerships with international aid organisations. If you are interested in partnering with Peepoople, please contact Åsa Angelino, Partner and Sales Director, email@example.com, tel +46 733 35 84 68 or fill in our partner form here.
As a Peepoople Volunteer: We continuously have volunteers contributing with their time at Peepoople. This is done in all different areas, from office to fieldwork. Here we post the current volunteer positions that are vacant.
If you can’t wait for a position to be announced, you are welcome to send in your application to firstname.lastname@example.org and mark it with “Volunteer”. Your application will be added to our database and you will be contacted when your profile matches our need.
If you wish to become a micro-entrepreneur and sell the Peepoo in the Kibera slum in Kenya, please contact our Kenya office here.
23. Where can I buy Peepoos?
Long answer: Currently, Peepoople only supplies Peepoos to our project in Kibera and to partnering NGOs and aid organisations for deployment in emergencies. Once our high-speed production line is operational in 2013, Peepoople will have the capacity for large-scale deployment.
If you want to be a partner in implementing the Peepoo solution in more Urban Slums or engaging in school projects please contact Project Director Camilla Wirseen, email@example.com, tel +46 70 416 36 22. Or fill in our partner form here.
24. Why is Peepoople a limited company?
Long answer: Peepoople AB is located in Stockholm, Sweden. Peepoople AB steers Peepoople globally and is responsible for the development and production of the Peepoo solution and system. Peepoople AB is a private limited company with a mission to provide universal access to hygienic and dignified sanitation and with a long-term goal to reach out to 150 million people daily. Being a for-profit organisation is necessary for our expansion in order to fulfil our mission. When our founder, Anders Wilhelmson, became Ashoka Fellow, Peepoople committed to reinvest future profits to support its endeavour and social mission.