Tuesday, March 02, 2010

The PeePoo bag

Another new innovation in waste is being developed by a Swedish entrepreneur. It's called the PeePoo bag, a disposable, biodegradable bag that can be used to turn what is inside it into compost for fertilizing food crops. Anders Wilhelmson, a professor in Stockholm developed the "single-use" toilet after studying unsanitary conditions in the slums of under-developed countries.

From The New York Times, writer Sindya Bhanoo explains how Wilhelmson developed the idea.

In his research, he found that urban slums in Kenya, despite being densely populated, had open spaces where waste could be buried.

He also found that slum dwellers there collected their excrement in a plastic bag and disposed of it by flinging it, calling it a “flyaway toilet” or a “helicopter toilet.”

This inspired Mr. Wilhelmson to design the Peepoo, an environmentally friendly alternative that he is confident will turn a profit.

“People will say, ‘It’s valuable to me, but well priced,’ ” he said.

He plans to sell it for about 2 or 3 cents — comparable to the cost of an ordinary plastic bag.

In the developing world, an estimated 2.6 billion people, or about 40 percent of the earth’s population, do not have access to a toilet, according to United Nations figures.

It is a public health crisis: open defecation can contaminate drinking water, and an estimated 1.5 million children worldwide die yearly from diarrhea, largely because of poor sanitation and hygiene.

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