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Inspiration

Our Inspiration phase has concluded – cheers for all of your insights, examples, stories and comments. Check out the goodness and head over to the current phase to join our collaborative efforts. 

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This is a really interesting urban slum sanitation concept . The X-Runner is a practical toilet and sewage system for the third world. The unit can flip up and be rolled, to a local Biogas Plant where it can be turned into electricity. Concept by: Noa Lerner

What if there was a way to collect human and animal waste in such a way to decrease air pollution, decrease water pollution, while creating a sustainable source of energy? I'm in! And the technology is available for large scale agriculture. The challenge is if it can be adapted to a much smaller scale.

I was first introduced to Sustainable Health Enterprises (SHE) back in 2009 at The Feast Conference in New York. Elizabeth Scharpf, founder of SHE, presented to the audience the innovative work her organization is doing to help women and girls in developing countries obtain access to low-cost sanitary pads. SHE calculated that women and girls miss up to 50 days per year of work or school because they cannot afford the sanitary pads they need. Not only do they miss school or work, but these women who can't afford pads also end up turning to unhygienic and ineffective solutions like rags or tree bark to use instead.

In and around Kumasi, the Kumasi Metropolitan Authority (KMA) has outsourced the emptying of household and public toilets to private-sector operators like Owner’s Sanitation. Owners of personal latrines or public toilet blocks make a call to a private operator and within a few hours a driver and his assistant will arrive. With the vacuum truck, they suck out the contents of the pit (adding water if necessary) and drive it to the local landfill where they drain it into this pond. The liquid settles to to bottom and the shit hardens on top. Surprisingly, it did not smell much when we visited – more like a dairy farm than a dirty latrine.

A village in India features a successful toilet block design which allows womens' conversations to flow freely.

Access to dignified sanitation is a basic human right. The Potty Project is a great inspiration on the path to making this happen

There are some bacteria that are able to feed themselves with substances harmful for people, especially those for which people cannot gain any tolerance - uranium, arsenic. I guess they could also neutralize other, more common substances and human waste.

The Brown Box is a lightweight portable cardboard toilet, made specifically for outdoor use. The box pops up from a convenient 14 inch flat pack to a rigid, reusable, comfortable toilet. Each box comes with ten degradable poo bags.

What I love about Ashoka Fellow and social entrepreneur Albina Ruiz and her Ciudad Saludable (Healthy City) initiative is that she refuses to accept that anyone should live surrounded by garbage, filth and potential disease. Albina has made it her mission to help communities clean up their own neighborhoods in Peru, especially in the poorest areas where people rummage through the trash and try to resell items to support their families. Interestingly, Albina doesn't just work to clean up the trash. She recognized that taking away the trash, while it would improve living conditions, also meant taking away vital income that these communities needed to survive. So, she worked directly with people in the community and gave them jobs going door to door to collect trash. Instead of just taking away the garbage, she gave people access to income and dignified work that bettered their communities and their families.

The Daily Dump provides home composting systems-- including clay pots to collect and compost food waste, an optional service to maintain the composting process, and 'crisis visits' to help people when they've created a composting mess. What if latrines had a range of service options for regular maintenance and crisis management? http://www.dailydump.org/

PET bottles filled with dirt/sand can be used instead of bricks for building. I have served communities where we helped underprivileged families build latrines with PET bottles. The latter was a substitute for open-air latrines which pose disease risks.

waterless urinal system using a harmless bacterial urinal cube to eliminate the need for flushing, coupled with a plant extract to prevent lime scale formation. No capital equipment costs or disruption to the toilet facilities. Implementation can be immediate. Eco friendly and safe to use, with no nasty chemicals used or required. Cleaners apply the product as part of their normal cleaning routine, with minimum instruction. Saves money on water, reduces maintenance costs. Lowers the environmental impact from the establishment or site.

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