Saint Etienne, 23rd June 2016fr_tnch_tn

Press release

« French start-up WéCo wins the China National Tourism Administration and the Gates Foundation’s Award for Excellence for its innovative public toilet concept »


WéCo, a French start-up and the inventor of an innovative ecological designer public toilet concept which is autonomous in water and energy, has won the Award for Excellence in the national technology competition organised by the China National Tourism Administration and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  This award bolsters WéCo, a company proud to be defined by the term “born global”, in its international industrial strategy.

La cabine de toilettes WéCo imaginée à Shanghaï, par A3 Architectes.

The WéCo public toilet imagined in the heart of the city, by a3 Architectes.

La cabine de toilettes WéCo designée par A3 Architectes.

The  WéCo public toilet designed by a3 Architectes.


In Spring 2016, the China National Tourism Administration and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation organised China’s first national technology competition for toilet technology.  From among more than fifty entrants – companies and universities from China and around the world – the Award for Excellence was presented to the multi-service public toilet project developed by French company WéCo.



Throughout the world, public toilets are a considerable ecological and sanitary challenge in terms of their use of resources and energy, not to mention the water pollution they cause and the absence of recycling of the waste produced. Research in this field has recently begun rapid development, principally funded by the Gates Foundation.  This field is also a priority for the China National Tourism Administration.

JL Puyssegur – Directeur Technique de WéCo et Scott Chen, partenaire chinois de WéCo lors de la cérémonie de remise des prix à Yiwu en mai 2016.

JL Puyssegur – Wéco’s Technical Director  and Scott Chen, WéCo’s chinese partner, receiving the award at Yiwu in May 2016.

JL Puyssegur – Directeur Technique de WéCo (3è en partant de la gauche) lors de la cérémonie de remise des prix à Yiwu en mai 2016

JL Puyssegur – WéCo’s Technical Director (3rd from the left) at the award in Yiwu in May 2016.


Following the presentation of this accolade in Yiwi (China), WéCo’s Franco-German team is preparing to erect its first installation in Europe at the 2017 Saint-Etienne Design Biennial, which will showcase the first 100% autonomous (not connected to the sewers) outdoor prototype.  WéCo will also join an incubator of tech-makers in Lyon (Bel Air Camp) and will present its indoor installations before the end of 2016.

About WéCo

WéCo is a start-up formed in 2014 in Saint-Etienne. With its team of ten partners, it has reinvented the public toilet, combining technology and design for the benefit of the environment and well-being.

Thanks to WéCo’s cooperation with international research units, a number of new solutions enable the toilet to be autonomous in terms of water and energy and to create value from the waste, along with an efficient maintenance system through Building Management System, placing the toilet at technology’s cutting edge.

The original and audacious design of the WéCo toilet is accompanied by a wide range of innovative services.  The WéCo public toilet will become a welcoming space providing urban respite, combining information and relaxation, as denoted by the term “restroom”. Indeed, it will offer users the ability to view environmental information on site, receive a health check on their smartphone, it will provide information on tourist sites in the vicinity and will enable the possibility of discovering or purchasing products through a dedicated online service.  The WéCo toilet thus offers an innovative new sales channel.

Finally, WéCo is developing a genuine ecosystem through its aim to build partnerships with local businesses in the fields of public services and product recycling.




The announcement of the award on the China National Tourism Administration’s website the 18th May 2016.


Presse contact:

Jörg Schaff :

Tel :

  • +33 (0) 428 380 529
  • +33 (0) 631 369 468
  • +33 (0) 627 234 597