SavvyLoo, an innovative approach to waterless sanitation

SavvyLoo combines a waterless toilet with a low-tech solution to generate energy from human waste.

Photo of Dudley Jackson
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I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria, and based on its description, I am eligible to apply to the CSV Prize 2017.

  • Yes, I'm eligible

Preferred language

  • English

Organization name

Savvy Loo CC

Year founded

2011

Initiative stage

  • Start-Up (a pilot that has just started operating)

Annual budget in 2017 (USD)

  • $100k - $250k

Number of beneficiaries impacted so far

  • 1 - 10

Organization type

  • Social enterprise

Secondary Focus Area

  • Water

Headquarters location: Country

  • South Africa

Headquarters location: City

Johannesburg

Location(s) of impact

Sebokeng (pilot phase)

Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?

Eight million toilets, in South Africa alone, flush away 300 billion litres of water each year, wasting water and leading to overburdened processing plants and raw sewage dumped into rivers, dams and sea.

A further 6 million pit latrines and chemical toilets contaminate underground water and streams in South Africa - bulky waste sludge and chemicals are accumulated underground, while pit toilet seeps into soils which in turn lead to pathogens in drinking water.

Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?

SavvyLoo is piloting a waterless sanitation solution for rural communities and temporary settlements, potentially across Africa. It separates urine and desiccate faeces in three to five days to a dry bio-waste, which is easy to transport and convert to energy using gasifier systems. SavvyLoo affords users with a hygienic alternative to pit latrines, chemical and composting toilets, eliminating compost and sludge. It is easy to use and maintain and protects users from pathogens and odours.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work

Social impacts:
• Improving health and hygiene by providing accessible sanitation options for rural communities.
• Reducing risks such as sexual harassment for women and girls looking for privacy when in need for toilets.

Environmental impacts:
• Preventing contamination of underground water, with no pollution from seepage when compared to alternative sanitation.
• Generating clean energy and/or natural compost from human wastes.

Economic impacts:
• Significantly reducing the life-cycle cost of sanitation from installation to maintenance, and eliminating water cost.
• Creating seven permanent jobs to install and service each tranche of 900 toilets, potentially establishing a significant “sanitation industry” in Africa.
• Closing the loop by safely processing human waste into an energy-generating resource.

Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?

SavvyLoo has received prize funding from Seda, The Innovaion Hub, SAB Foundation, SEED (United Nations and partners), and development funding from the Industrial Development Corporation. SavvyLoo has completed two live field trials in a semi-rural village (Sebokeng).

We are currently seeking funding for an industrialisation phase prior to commercialising. There are four target markets identified for SavvyLoo:
1. "Basic sanitation implementers", mainly governments, driven by the need to provide basic hygiene and sanitation;
2. "Basic sanitation enablers" such as NGOs, driven by the need to achieve MGD goals;
3. "Waste management service providers" (private sector) that need to service the mobile toilet market and event organisers;
4. "Private users of waterless/ chemical toilets".

Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?

SavvyLoo is a uniquely patented technology in South Africa, across 17 ARIPO countries in Africa and in China. It has been designed for both public and private sector buyers who need an affordable, healthy and safe sanitation solution. Unlike Ventilated Pit Latrine (VIP), waterborne sanitation and chemical toilets, it avoids toxic sludge, prevents underground water contamination, does not require chemicals, and makes it possible to extract energy from dry bio-waste and nutrients from urine.

Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.

"Our bodies naturally separate urine (rich in nutrients) from faeces (high in pathogens). Conventional toilets (waterborne, pit, chemical and composting toilets) mix urine and faeces to form toxic sludge."

Following a visit to a rural village in Limpopo with a water contamination problem, the potential of keeping urine separate from faeces, treating both as a resource (rather than waste), became apparent while grappling with a provisional patent for SavvyLoo in January 2011. The "Aha" moment was "seeing the possibility" of keeping these separate, desiccating and preventing sludge, and enabling easy removal of dry bio‐waste and urine for downstream processing into compost, energy and nutrients - saving water, preventing contamination of underground water, no sludge to manage, and reducing pathogens.

Where did you hear about the Nestlé Creating Shared Value Prize?

  • Upon recommendation from others

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Photo of Dudley Jackson

Dear Dorine,

Yes, we are still at field trial stage and so we have a way to go before commercialising. I would appreciate interacting with SimGas as there could well be synergies. My email is dudley@tiscali.co.za.

Kind regards, Dudley

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