iThrone from change:WATER Labs uses evaporation to dispose of human waste without using energy or plumbing.

Benefits

  • Reduced water use
  • Reduced waste
  • Improved sanitation

Applications

  • Refugee communities
  • Rural communities
  • Residential buildings

UN Sustainable Development Goals Addressed

  • Goal 3: Good Health & Wellbeing

  • Goal 6: Clean Water & Sanitation

  • Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities

  • Goal 11: Sustainable Cities & Communities

The Challenge

Globally, 2.6 billion people lack safe toilet access. Chronic under-investment into sanitation infrastructure means people in many poor and vulnerable communities live with their sewage. Within the 40% of the world who lack proper access to sanitation, a deeper problem lies for women and girls. 20%-40% of girls drop out of school because of inaccessible or inappropriate toilets. In many areas, women and girls are at risk of violence with their current solution. In addition, refugees, indigenous groups, and communities in need that are completely off-grid are left with few ineffective – often dangerous – options to deal with their lack of proper sanitation. In many camps and disaster-relief arenas, aid agencies struggle to mount acceptable responses to the immediate pressures of providing safe sanitation. For the growing number of post-crisis situations in urban and coastal areas, which displace around 25-50 million people per year, there are no good options for rapid-response sanitation.

Innovation Details

changeWATER: Labs has developed a new way to dispose of human waste by evaporating out the water. These low-cost, portable toilets use a simple membrane to rapidly evaporate 95% of sewage without using any type of energy. This provides homes with a working toilet, without the need for power or plumbing. The compact, contained, stand alone units can be dropped into any space quickly, and the ‘self-flushing’ technology works while being completely waterless and environmentally safe. This technology emerged from work done for NASA on wastewater recycling on the International Space Station, and is now being deployed in off-grid rural and refugee communities.

 

 

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Watch how change:WATER Labs was inspired by plants to create a more sustainable toilet.

Biomimicry Story

This evaporative approach to “flushing” by change:WATER Labs mimics the natural process of evapotranspiration, where plants pull water from the soil up through the plant, where it evaporates through the stomata on their leaves.

Ray of Hope Prize

The Ray of Hope Prize® celebrates nature-inspired solutions addressing the world’s biggest environmental and sustainability challenges. Created in honor of Ray C. Anderson, founder of Interface, Inc. and a business and sustainability leader, the $100,000 Ray of Hope Prize helps startups cross a critical threshold in becoming viable businesses by amplifying their stories and providing them with equity-free funding. The prize shines a light on the innovative, nature-inspired solutions that we need to build a sustainable and resilient world. change:WATER Labs was selected as a finalist for the 2020 Ray of Hope Prize.