29 Jul 2017

Flush-free toilet: saving water and lives

From This Way Up, 12:45 pm on 29 July 2017

The flush toilet is a curious contraption that hasn't really changed all that much since Andrew Cumming patented the first flush mechanism in 1775.

The basic principle remains the same... flush and forget!  It requires lots of water and then the infrastructure devoted to carrying your waste to the nearest sewage treatment centre.

It's not quite so simple for folk in many parts of the developing world where more than 2 billion people don't have access to their own flush toilet.

Virginia Gardiner of Loowatt thinks there be a better way, especially in places where there isn't proper sewage infrastructure.

She's started trials in Madagascar with a water-free toilet; it's a biodegradeable-bag-based collection system that can turn human waste into fuel, power and fertiliser. So could this be the toilet of the future?