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Toilet Company Makes Flushless Commodes for Flood-Prone Countries

By Nicholas Rizzi | November 19, 2015 3:00pm
 Toilets for People aims to make cheap, compost toilets for flood-prone countries.
Toilets for People
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STAPLETON — A toilet company is making commodes for flood-prone regions where flushing is impossible.

Toilets for People, started by Park Slope resident Jason Kass, builds low-cost wooden compost toilets called Crappers that are used in places like regions of Peru.

"A lot of these communities, they can't put in a pit latrine," he said.

"The problem is that in flood prone areas the water gets into those holes, then overflows and the poop goes everywhere in the village and you get sores on your legs."

Last month, Kass designed and put up for sale a $750 toilet — made inside his workspace at the Staten Island MakerSpace — for bathroom-goers in the U.S. who might want a backup toilet in case septic tanks back up or if they want to live off the grid as much as possible.

"It wasn't our intended market, but there's been enough interest," Kass said.

"Sometimes getting a septic system installed is a big process for developing land or if you have a little cabin it could be very expensive, so this makes it less."

Kass designed the CRAPPER — which stands for Compact, Rotating, Aerobic, Pollution Prevention, Excreta Reducer — in 2010 when he was working with Engineers Without Borders and was asked by NGOs to develop a toilet system for nearly 2.6 billion people in flood-prone developing countries.

Kass looked at his own $1,500 compost toilet in his Vermont cabin that uses a spinning bucket to compost the waste. He worked to develope a lower cost version for about $200.

"I said let's just re-engineer that," he said.

Aside from the convenience and hygiene, the CRAPPER also helps women and girls in the developing country who fear for their safety while using the bathroom and are forced to travel far to find a private place.

"The biggest impact is among women and children, because boys and men can pee outside with fewer consequences," he said.

"For mothers they have to worry about their kids using the bathroom, so a lot of times they poop in the river and they waste a lot of their day just shuttling some place private to go to the bathroom. This is like a convenience for them, a safety."

Earlier this year, Kass raised a little more than $10,000 on Indiegogo to fund four pilot programs for his creation in Peru, India and Nicaragua and to pay for the plastic mold for the CRAPPER 2.0.

The ultimate goal for Kass is to be able to sell and install the toilets around the world and show people how it's done so they can start producing it themselves.

"We’ll bring it to other countries and help them solve their own problems with flooding," he said.

"We’re hoping to use the profit for making and selling these in the US to help subsidize our work overseas."