In an attempt to break the taboos that prevent innovation in the sanitation sector, the United Nations created the World Toilet Day in 2013, under the leadership of Jack Sim: “When we are children, our parents tell us not to talk about shit. This is a really serious problem: what you don’t talk about, you cannot improve. “
In 1595, John Harington, an English poet, invents the flush. Alexander Cumming, a Scotsman, upgraded the system in 1775 by adding a siphon to block bad smells. With the arrival of running water in homes during the 19th century, the use of flush water toilets and sewage became widespread, which at the time was considered as a real health advance.
But nowadays in France, more than 4,000 litres of drinking water are wasted every second in our flushing, more than a quarter of our water consumption. This water, mixed with urine and excrement, must then be reprocessed by the treatment plants before being released into the wild.
The situation is the same in most developed countries. At a time when water shortages are increasing, we are facing a flagrant ecological aberration, which triggers only a few reactions.
In 2015, a French couple who lived in Asia and their German friend started an ambitious project to revolutionize the current operation of toilets, which consists of wasting liters of water several times a day. They also wanted to change the perception of toilets by restoring them their respectability.
Soon, they realize that dry toilets, hard to accept culturally for most of the world’s population, are not the answer.
They then move towards a flushing system in closed circuit. The start-up grows with the arrival of an engineer and perfects a technology initially developed by an American university, creating autonomous and ecological public toilets, which doesn’t require any connection to the sewerage network. The WeCo toilet solution provides an answer to the environmental problems of water savings, by using flushing systems connected to an integrated wastewater recycling system. In addition to huge savings in water, this technology produces a surplus of treated water.
Installed in recycled maritime containers, the prototype runs from 2017 at the international design fair in France. Immediately after, it was exposed during a festival in Paris about the new technologies of the future.
The start-up then markets its first model at the School of Art and Design in France in factory buildings dating from the 19th century that do not have access to the sanitation network. Many other settlement projects for eco-cities, touristic places, and sustainable buildings are underway.
WeCo is now starting its sales in France and Germany. Other projects are coming in emerging countries namely in Africa, India, where the Bollywood film “Toilet, a love story” is all the rage.
In China, the Company won an award of excellence granted by the Chinese Ministry of Tourism and the Bill & Melinda gates Foundation in 2016 and is now invited by municipalities of more several million inhabitants which wish to install WeCo toilets to develop their attractiveness, while saving water that has become a rare and precious commodity.