Start Thinking Peepoo
Today, more than 2.6 billion people lack access to basic sanitation. At this moment, 40% of the world’s population lack access to even the simplest latrine.
Peepoo is a personal, single-use, self-sanitising, fully biodegradable toilet that prevents faeces from contaminating the immediate area as well as the surrounding ecosystem. After use, Peepoo turns into valuable fertiliser that can improve livelihoods and increase food security.
The World’s Biggest Problem
The lack of sanitation creates tremendous problems worldwide including environmental pollution, great social problems and unsafe surroundings, as well as greatly increasing the outbreak of lethal epidemic diseases such as cholera.
Without toilets, individuals and their environment are at risk from contamination of fresh water and ground water. That’s because human faeces contain infectious and often deadly pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, worms and parasites.
Women, adolescent girls and children are the most vulnerable group suffering from lack of basic sanitation in several ways. One child dies every 15 seconds due to contaminated water from human excreta. Up to 50% of all deaths in emergency, refugee and IDP camp situations are caused by diarrhoeal diseases. More than 80% of these deaths are children under two years of age.
When there is no privacy available for women to urinate or defecate in home or in shelter, they are frequent targets for sexual harassment and rape. Women are at great risk if they have to defecate in the open or use public latrines, especially at night, and their sense of dignity is also taken away. During their menstrual periods, adolescent girls are often forced to be absent from school due to the lack of privacy to take care of their hygiene.
Dangers of Unsanitary Conditions
Both faeces and urine can contain infectious microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses and parasites. For the most part, they infect the gastrointestinal system and can be excreted in high amounts when they are shed with the faeces; for example, a billion viruses per gram of faeces. Because some types of organisms survive for a long time or even multiply in the environment, diseases can spread via contaminated water, food or hands long after contact has occurred. In some cases, the diagnosis of an illness can be traced to a specific microorganism. However, in many cases, the source of infection remains unknown, or a person might even be infected with several types of microorganisms at the same time.
Where sanitation is poor, bacterial infections such as typhoid fever, cholera and shigellosis are common. Cholera can be life-threatening if the infected person is not able to receive health care. Viruses are assumed to be responsible for many undiagnosed cases and rotaviruses are by far the largest cause of diarrhoea in children. This contributes significantly to child mortality in developing countries.
Enteric parasitic infection with helminths and protozoa are of greater concern in developing countries than in industrialised countries. On a worldwide basis, Ascaris lumbricoides is the most common helminth infection, with more than 25% of all humans being infected. Ascaris infections, even in many cases that are not life-threatening, disable nutrient uptake and hamper child development. Protozoa as amoeba, cryptosporidia and giardia are responsible for a majority of enteric infections, causing both illness and death.
An Affordable Solution
The most obvious way to a solution is to start at the source. Prevent disease transmission as soon as possible through rapid inactivation of pathogens directly after defecation. In high-density urban areas, a project that simply provides latrines cannot achieve sustainable toilets.
At the same time, most of those who need sanitation are poor and can least afford it. Therefore, they have no choice other than to use what is readily available. By offering a choice, developing and marketing an extremely low-cost product, innovation can create demand among the poor. Choice is also connected to dignity and status, which are of great importance in making the decision to invest in a toilet.
Most toilets are part of larger infrastructure systems, dependent on complex investments and institutional changes. Re-thinking this model calls for a soft approach that can handle rapid implementation. At the same time, all solutions must be designed to enable the growth of economically sustainable service systems for a longer timeframe.
The United Nations has declared access to sanitation a human right. Yet, it is the most neglected and off-track UN Millennium Development Goal. The UN Millennium Development Goal #7, target 10 was established in 2002 with the aim of reducing – by half – the number of people without sustainable access to drinking water and sanitation by 2015. Unfortunately, at the current rate of progress using traditional sanitation methods, this goal is far from being realised. One factor is the rapid increase in the number of people living in slums or slum-like conditions – with populations estimated to increase from nearly 715 million in 1970 to 1.4 billion by 2020. Another factor is that with 2015 approaching closer by the day, it is obvious that the approach to the problem needs to change or the goal will not be met.
The Peepoo Toilet
Compact in size and weighing 10 grams, Peepoo is designed to provide maximum hygiene and convenience using minimum material. Peepoo is in the form of a slim biodegradable bag, with an inner layer that unfolds to form a wide funnel. It is easy to store, handle and use. Peepoo is intended to be used a single time, by one person, whenever and wherever needed. Unlike traditional toilets or latrines, Peepoo is never occupied by anyone else. It is always clean and can be used in complete privacy.
Recognising consumer needs, Peepoo is formulated from a bottom-up perspective that puts the user’s need first. Ergonomically designed to be easy and hygienic to use, simple to produce, and thus possible to be sold to groups with the weakest purchasing power, Peepoo offers a sanitation choice for both individuals and society at large.
Peepoo works as an every day toilet and can also be used as a complementary sanitation system at night, at work, or at school. Due to its low price, it can be used regularly at home or only when ill. Since no investments or up-front money are needed, the use of Peepoo does not encumber the future.
After use, even if no collection or disposal services are available nearby, Peepoo does not contaminate the environment once the top of Peepoo has been tied into a knot. The urea inside Peepoo inactivates harmful pathogens (bacteria, viruses and parasites) within two to four weeks, depending on the temperature, and Peepoo does not start to break down until its contents have been completely sanitised.
Due to its self-sanitising attributes, Peepoo remains safe to hold and carry after use. Because scarce and valuable water resources are not required to use or dispose of Peepoo, the traditional link between water and sanitation is cut. In fact, water is only needed when the user washes his or her hands after defecating or urinating.
Peepoo remains odour-free for at least 24 hours after use and can be stored in the immediate environment. This makes Peepoo easy to use, either day or night in a household, which increases safety – especially for woman and children. Peepoo offers a sanitation solution adapted to the needs of the user without endangering the environment.
Peepoo is made of a bio-plastic that meets EU standard EN13432. This means the plastic not only disintegrates, the molecules break down into carbon dioxide, water and biomass.
Combined with the hygienisation process that urea initiates and completes, Peepoo completely transforms over a short period of time into high-value fertiliser which enables collection and disposal systems to arise, informally or formally, private or public, small scale or large scale. The design of the toilet offers a clean and hygienic way of excreta management, helping to cut the stigma normally connected with this service. Peepoo thus has the capacity to work as a development strategy on different levels.
Easy to Use
Peepoo is designed to be used once, while sitting, squatting or standing. For more convenience, Peepoo can also be placed in a small bucket and used as a chamber pot. 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. For disabled people or users with special needs, supporting products such as a portable seat, Peepoo Kiti, and a lightweight indoor tent for privacy, Peepoo Yizi, have been developed.
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.