Waste Enterprisers is a triple-bottom-line social enterprise focused on urban sanitation.
Our mission: To reinvent the economics that dictate human-waste collection, treatment, and disposal.
Our approach: To create new financial incentives through harnessing the resource value of human waste by conceiving, developing, and operating waste-based businesses.
We don’t build toilets
350 million people in Africa and Asia may lack access to a latrine, but 850 million people are without safe human-waste collection and treatment services. So, we’re unconvinced that building toilets is really the weakest link in the urban sanitation chain. Indeed, there is demonstrated household and community demand for toilets in most urban areas, and a thriving private sector of masons and toilet-block owners to prove it.
We believe it is the latter half of the sanitation process — collection, transport, and treatment — that is truly dysfunctional. The problem with latrines is that they get used. They fill up. And they become unusable and harmful until they’re emptied. That’s why we’re focused on building business models that incentivize waste collection and treatment services.
We don’t bill households
The assumption that household billing will cover the costs of conveyance, treatment, and disposal of wastewater/fecal sludge drives – and often justifies – the construction of treatment plants. It’s an assumption based on how developed countries pay for their treatment plants.
But in developing countries, the vast majority of facilities that get built under this assumption are on a run-to-failure trajectory from their inception. Effective billing systems are seldom put into place, and the ability and willingness of users to pay for sanitation seldom amount to full-cost recovery.
We insist on applying new thinking to an intractable problem.
We demand reuse
From an environmental perspective, reuse simply makes sense. Why not make use of the embodied nutrients in human waste to replace chemical fertilizers, or the embodied energy to replace fossil fuels?
But if environmental protection isn’t a compelling enough reason, we’ve got another… money.
Waste Enterprisers’ business model is built around harnessing economic value from human waste. By re-branding human waste as a needed input instead of a waste output, our waste-based businesses create both a physical and financial demand for waste – completely reinventing the economics of sanitation.