Biodigester Toilets for Sanitation and Energy Solutions

Approximately 66% of rural Cambodians practice open defecation (UNICEF/WB, 2014). In flood-prone and floating communities in Cambodia, at least 1.5 million people do not have access to toilets and often practice open defecation into their water resources, causing serious health and environmental consequences. This waste often enters the drinking water source – causing significant health issues.  

In 2008, EWB and Live & Learn commenced a long-term research and design project to address sanitation in flood-prone environments and identified other potential beneficiaries currently not serviced by sanitation and energy technologies.

Since 2008, EWB Australia and Live & Learn Environmental Education have developed the Bio-digester Toilet System comprising of:

  • A simple, appropriate toilet interface
  • a solid-waste collection system and adaptable bio-digester to treat human and animal waste, to produce biogas for stoves and lamps, and fertilizer for agricultural use
  • adaptable installation techniques conductive to use in a range of challenging environments.

The overall goal is to create an ecosystem conducive to the sustainable production, distribution and outreach of bio-digester toilets in order to address the lack of sanitation and provide households with a convenient cost-effective form of renewable energy. The 10 year goal is to provide sanitation and energy solutions to 1.2 million Cambodian people.

The main problem to be addressed by the project is how to manufacture ecosan toilets and bio-digesters in a cost effective manner, develop the value chain for sustainable supply of products, and build capacity across the value chain including end-users to ensure increased uptake of ecosan toilets and bio-digesters.