Interview of Cecile Dekeuwer at the exhibition Reinventing toilets – Beijing November 2018

At the initiative of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and in cooperation with the Chinese Government of President Xi who announced the toilet revolution in 2015, an exhibition was held in Beijing in November 2018. This exhibition was also the opportunity to present the adoption of the ISO 30500 standard1 on standalone off-grid sanitation systems such as those designed by WeCo. This exhibition presented the new technologies of sanitation systems for so-called autonomous toilets or non-collective sanitation, sustainable or ecological, and above all, innovative, excluding dry toilets that are not considered to provide sufficient destruction of bacteria and the spread of diseases including diarrhea that kills thousands of children each year, in addition to the usual acceptance problems, knowing that dry toilets seem only suitable for rural areas of emerging countries.

On the occasion of this exhibition in China, the technology initially developed by Caltech for the electrochemical treatment of excrement was presented. It should be remembered that WeCo and Caltech have decided to cooperate for the development of this technology, after the award they both had in China in 2016 during a call for projects organized again by the Gates foundation and the Chinese National Tourism Agency. This cooperation has enabled WeCo to join the group of experts at AFNOR and ISO, which has adopted the ISO 30500 standard, during which the interview of Ms. Dekeuwer, President of WeCo, was conducted and released during the last “reinvent the toilet” Beijing exhibition. This cooperation also enables WeCo to test and adapt Caltech’s technology to field conditions, combining biological treatment and electrochemical treatment to recycle on-site excreta and specifically to convert urine contaminated with organic matter and bacteria from the faecal sludge into treated water for flushing and other uses such as watering plants. It is therefore a closed-loop system that provides ecological flush toilets, which not only do not consume water, degrade all bacteria, but also produces excess water from urine collected.