It’s a global dilemma and something we take for granted every day, using the bathroom. And for some people living in areas where water is considered a premium, the question is how to improve sanitation issues.
Liz Morris, a University of North Carolina graduate, may have the answer. Morris is the founder of Sanitation Creations and the creator of the Dungaroo, a mechanical and waterless commode and is designed to be fitted in a port-a-potty or for RVs and boats.
“Places where water isn’t common, it’s a way to have a clean hygienic flush and a toilet experience and an odorless experience without having to cart around water,” says Morris.
Instead of using water, the Dungaroo uses a bag. The bags collect the waste, and then you step on the pedal, which turns the wheels and seals the used bag. A new bag then replaces the old one.
“You actually don’t have to interact with the bag. For the user it’s just a normal bathroom experience,” claims Morris. “The waste is sealed away.”
Each bag is lined with an antimicrobial agent.
“The poop doesn’t go away, but the bad things that cause disease goes away so it treats the waste without wastewater treatment,” says Morris.
Morris says her goal is to sell the Dungaroo domestically to help pay to put these waterless toilets in the poorest villages around the world.
David Schaad, a professor at Duke University, organizes humanitarian trips abroad to Asia, South American and Africa. In these areas, many people are forced to relieve themselves in open fields or pit latrines, which are basically holes that are between 15 to 50 feet deep.
Schaad believes a waterless toilet for people living in these developing countries is important.
“You’re carrying water to drink; you’re not carrying water to flush your toilets,” says Schaad.
“So a waterless toilet is really key.”
Morris’ Dungaroo could be that key. Morris says people can burn the waste in the bags for methane gas, which can provide energy as well as a nutrient-rich fertilizer.
“We’re about six months away from being able to sit on a Dungaroo, use it, and enjoy it,” says Morris.