'Anti-flush' toilet company offers water-free solution at Cop28

Ecoloo's lavatories are also odour-free and sewage-free

ECOLOO has sold zero-waste sustainable toilets in 25 countries.
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At Cop28, there’s no shortage of sustainability start-ups and companies offering innovative solutions, but Ecoloo stands out from the pack with its odour-free, water-free and sewage-free toilets.

“They call me the loo-king,” said Imad Agi, founder and chief executive of Ecoloo Group, before he shifts to the serious issues his products are designed to resolve.

“Everything starts with the toilet,” he added, referring to the difficulty developing countries face trying to provide and pay for toilet facilities, in terms of installation, plumbing and waste disposal.

He said developing countries "have to go into a lot of debt in order to get just the flush toilets to function”.

Lavatories can also tax the environment, particularly in terms of water use from flushing.

“I’m anti-flushing,” he said. “The regular toilet declares war on water.”

Instead, Ecoloo’s products use a formulated bacterial culture to transform human waste into a safe liquid fertiliser.

Water can and should still be used to sanitise hands, of course, but it isn't required for the Ecoloo toilets to function.

Approximately 60 per cent of the world’s population lacks access to a toilet at home or to a toilet that can safely manage human waste, according to Unicef.

That lack of access can lead to the spread of diseases, such as cholera and hepatitis, that stem from poor sanitation.

Mr Agi said more than 4,000 Ecoloo toilets have been sold in 25 countries.

In the Middle East, Ecoloo sells its products in Bahrain, Jordan and, soon, Saudi Arabia.

It counts the private sector, non-government organisations and governments as customers.

He said Ecoloo is particularly proud of its facility being used in Petra, the Unesco World Heritage Site in Jordan that is one of the seven new wonders of the world.

That location, he said, is a good example of where conventional toilets' plumbing and waste disposal systems could cause major problems.

“It’s a heritage site, you don’t want to create waste or ruin anything with construction there,” he said. “It’s the only toilet approved by Unesco at that site."

Ecoloo's toilets range in price from $1,500 to $3,000, and are made from fibre-reinforced plastic.

“It’s light but it’s very strong - it can last for decades - that’s another sustainability plus,” Mr Agi said.

Ecoloo lists Abu Dhabi clean energy company Masdar and the Mohammed Bin Rashid Innovation Fund as a supporting partner.

Mr Agi founded Sweden-based Ecoloo in 2008, where its first toilet was installed.

He said the business was inspired by a documentary about India that showed the problems caused by the lack of toilets in some parts of the country.

This year is the first time the sustainable toilet company has appeared at a Cop gathering.

Updated: December 02, 2023, 11:11 AM