During 2006, 665 million Indians conducted their excretory needs in the open; polluting water bodies near their dwellings. This means that rivers and other water bodies get overfed with pollutants and other pathogens. By multiplying the yearly production of feaces (50 kg) and urine (500 liter) per person the scale of the sanitary waste that reaches rivers and streams is a Himalayan one.

Additionally, the lack of sanitary facilities are particularly acute for women.

Women are a particularly vulnerable group. Due to cultural modesty they are unable to relieve themselves in the open. They can only do so under the cover of darkness – in the early morning or the late night. They suffer the risk of rape due to distant toilet visits, so they hold on all day which also leads to urinary tract infections – which untreated, can reach the kidneys and cause serious illness. This is particularly a problem during pregnancy. A lack of toilet facilities also contributes to not having the possibility to engage in daily work freely. The woman gets dependent on her husband for support – inequality. Equality comes as number three of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals. As number seven: “Environmental Sustainability” which again includes sanitation. According to the UN every dollar invested in sanitation generates nine dollars back to the country in the form of increased health, increased education, increased working capability among the citizens and better economical development. But among all a better water quality will be achieved.


Ecoloove believes that through its mobile toilet innovation it is able to address (1) the sanitary needs of women and (2) transform the captured waste into viable ecological and renewable business that will emancipate India’s rural women twice over.

As of today, a urine separating toilet is the cheapest, most hygienically and most environmentally friendly sanitation solution, because what usually is considered waste can be used as fertilizer in farming. Farming families who invest in a urine separating toilet can get that investment back through not having to buy fertilizer. In this way a local circulation is set. We have visited farming families both in Gujarat and in Maharashtra with urine separating toilets.


The city scenario looks a little bit different. The farms that could have use for fertilizer from ecological toilets are situated far away from the city. In cities the need for both private and common toilets is huge, especially in slum areas. Additionally, in many cities in India, e.g. Ahmedabad, there are many examples of mobile small business which are collecting paper, plastic and other things for transport and recycling outside the city. The idea of Ecoloove is the combination of these two concepts, a small mobile business with sanitation products representing the economic part. The concept of motivating farms to buy fertilizer from urine and feces will be evaluated & created during the tests in February. One clearly conceivable way is to compete on pricing and a culturally sensitive branding strategy.

The idea of Ecoloove is simple: the ones who are mostly affected by the problem of not having a toilet – women – are offered to start a business financed with microloans to start renting out toilet visits and collecting the sanitation waste. The financing of the Ecoloove toilet business run by women needs to be specified in detail during the business concept phase. The goal is that financing shall come from women or a group of women, with microcredit.

First functional prototype of Ecoloove: three wheeler bicycle in Bamboo and welded steel.


Ecoloove has completed most of the research, got initial feedback from target users & areas and have finished the first ready-to-use prototype. They have tested the prototype in a slum area in Ahmedabad, Bareja. Necessary contacts to production facilities, supporting organizations and the initial target market – slum area in Ahmedabad – have been established already. Ecoloove do have important voluntary support for marketing (reporting), teaching about the problem in target areas, getting tests done with regards to a roll out in a slum area & evaluation of cultural & social acceptance, as well as usage to assess viable business propositions. – Feedback is still extremely enthusiastic & positive.

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by David Carlson. David Carlson said: Mobile toilet innovation by Ecoloove: […]

  2. stanleygrace says:

    May 10, 2010

    soil design

    In India, scavenging belonged to a specific community.
    The people of this community earned their means by
    handling, collecting and disposing the human excreta.
    They belonged to a specific caste system. They were
    discriminated. It took a long time for us as a country
    to getpast it moderately.

    Now to soil the story, we have an ngo which operates
    mobile toilets. There’s an operator who has to pedal the
    toilet and collect a load of shit and convert them to
    manure and so on. I know for sure, these kind of
    opportunity will be taken only by people of that
    specific community. In all human dignity, we don’t
    want a human to handle another human’shit.
    In the state of Tamil Nadu, even the pull carts
    were considered ill human and the Govt gave them
    cycle rickshaws.

    Design a nice toilet, affordable, innovate maintanence
    techniques. work on behavioural change of people.
    i guess thats what designers have to do. not soil

  3. stanleygrace says:

    May 10, 2010

    please google sulabh toilets and meet the real toil-o-preneur

  4. Archana Devdas says:

    May 10, 2010

    This project was probably initiated with good intentions.


    I neither see climbin up some stairs to poop in a bucket nor cycling around to pick up someone’s left overs an inspiring experience or a progressive model for money making.

    Good design inspires and impacts.

    What design are we talking here? This is far from a human approach to improving health and creating opportunities for women in rural India.

  5. online logo design says:

    May 11, 2010

    LOL 🙂 Nice and creative tricks to make money from this toilet .

    Nice post i like .

  6. Elina says:

    May 15, 2010

    Ecosan toilets (as used in Ecoloove) has been used all over world long before water closet toilets came into the picture. Human excreta has been used in farming as fertilizer by our forefathers not just in India but worldwide.

    Many short time thinking people like “stanleygrace” thinks that just because one cast in India was forced to empty bad constructed latrines under horrifying working conditions everybody in whole world should use water toilets forever. That is wrong, of course. There’s a lot of things to do to avoid taking care of toilets becoming a “dirty” business. Ecosan is an example of making toilets a clean business.

    After 4-5 months of storage the feces (of course sorted from urine to avoid smell and distract flies) looks and feels just like soil. Google ecosan to get the whole picture. Ecosan toilets is the future.

  7. MeeK says:

    May 16, 2010

    @Archana Devdas would you consider cycling around to pick up some stinky household waste an inspiring experience or progressive model? – yet, as you might know, people do it for the bit of money they`re getting with that. the guys running around with the toilet will not even be picking up, but going places so people can use it – which is 1. by far more hygienic than shitting in the open and 2. makes them some money by selling the feces or running a little shop for sanitary needs attached to this. so, 1. it does improve the health situation if you just consider the kidney diseases from holding in all day or the pollution of stuff that you touch, eat or drink and 2. women in / from these areas running the toilets would have a job / make some money (even if it is little).
    since it would therewith come from within the community and not some white people running around telling everybody how to make things better, how could this be more human?
    though, yes, it might not yet be the clearest model and lots of improvements would certainly come over time, but thats how you start and going forward incorporate constructive feedback. I`m sure Ecoloove will do so too.

  8. Pariuri says:

    Jun 20, 2010

    loool :))… so sad about this

  9. Promita Sengupta says:

    Oct 22, 2010

    I think , there is a better and much more flexible option available with Innovations Unlimited. You shouldvisit

  10. stanley grace says:

    Nov 17, 2010

    thanks for your title short time thinking stanley grace, i’m actually thinkin long time.i think one poops situationally after consumerism, ppl no longer eat localized food on an average the food on tha plate travels 2400 kms. that puts us on a situational pooping – not 6.30 am when my poop wagon arrives. excuse the ppl who have constipation, this is not for you.

    also i have someone replying me cast – its caste. we are very bitter of it. build toilets, permanent ones, change can be slow, using poop as a fertilizer is not the core idea why we poop. first lets poop n our toilets – refer janata toilets. i’m gonna follow you guys and i think you’ll be the next NGO in limelight. finally, one last question, what is the funding ?

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  21. […] state government on India’s southeastern coast. Other women-focused solutions have includedEcoloove, a cross between a rickshaw and a portable toilet, which provided women with the opportunity to […]

  22. […] state government on India’s southeastern coast. Other women-focused solutions have included Ecoloove, a cross between a rickshaw and a portable toilet, which provided women with the opportunity to […]

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