Today HomeBiogas, a company specializing the manufacture of small-scale biogas systems that convert organic waste into renewable cooking fuel, is proud to launch the HomeBiogas Bio-Toilet on World Toilet Day. The Bio-Toilet solution connects to the HomeBiogas biogas system, enabling the human waste from the toilet to be converted into cooking fuel in an elegant, user-friendly way that does not require a connection to the sewage or water grid.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 2.3 billion people in the world have no access to basic toilet facilities, and 892 million people practice open defecation – in open bodies of water, fields, alongside roads or in ditches. Poor sanitation from open defecation is linked to transmission of diseases such as cholera and diarrhoea and is the cause of hundreds of thousands of deaths per year.
In 2013, in order to raise awareness on the issue, the UN General Assembly declared November 19th as World Toilet Day, with the ambitious goal of 2030 as the year by which there will be sanitation for all and an end to open defecation due to lack of toilets.
Oshik Efrati, CEO and co-founder of HomeBiogas says, “The UN Sustainable Development Goals challenged us. We took our solution, the HomeBiogas 2.0, which converts food waste into cooking fuel, and thought about how we could take advantage of that existing technology for the important goal of allowing all humans on earth the right to a decent, safe and clean toilet. We researched the issue for several years”, he added, “we considered all the solutions available today, and visited target populations in Africa and India. For a deeper understanding on the issue, I personally accompanied a woman who travels 2 kilometers/3 miles by foot daily to the desolate wilderness where she defecates. On the long walk there, she explained to me how unhygienic open defecation is and that she and other women sometimes fears for her safety, as they are vulnerable to any passerbys late at night.”
Today HomeBiogas is raising awareness about this global phenomenon and is official providing a new solution to it. The compact Bio-Toilet is packed into one box, which makes it easy to transport, even on the back of a moped to a very remote village. It’s simple do-it-yourself assembly and logistical packaging makes it perfect for quick and easy deployment. “It’s just like buying a closet from Ikea”, explains Efrati, “complete with assembly and maintenance instructions. The Bio-Toilet doesn’t only provide a quick, efficient and ecological solution, it also bypasses the complicated and inconvenient need for a technician for installation and maintenance. And as far as the user experience”, he adds with a smile, “it’s just the same as that of an ordinary bathroom.”
In addition to developing areas, there are two more target populations who could benefit from the HomeBiogas Bio-Toilet solution: people in disaster areas and off-the-grid communities that are remotely located and are not connected to state utilities and infrastructure. Off-the-grid communities often use compost toilets or toilets that are connected to an underground septic tank.
What is unique about the Bio-Toilet is that it does not require large, underground and complex infrastructure, and it is virtually maintenance-free: the manual pump dispatches the toilet waste directly to the HomeBiogas appliance where it is treated and turned into cooking fuel, whereas compost toilets require messy, manual emptying. Dozens of the HomeBiogas Bio-Toilets have already been installed in off-grid communities in Israel and Bio-Toilets have been installed in Jalpatagua Guatemala: in the local hospital and for local residents. The Bio-Toilet is welcomed by its users as a more healthy, convenient and dignified solution.
As of 2017, 3.8 trillion liters (a trillion gallons) of excrement are produced worldwide each year. If HomeBiogas can utilize that resource to generate renewable energy such as cooking gas and simultaneously solve the world’s’ toilet problem, we’ve got ourselves a life-changing win-win solution.