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Hussam Hussein
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Hi and thanks for visiting my profile :) My name is Hussam, I'm a blogger-researcher-journalist, member of the European Youth Press’ Middle East and North Africa Committee (MENAC). I studied in Italy (Trieste/Gorizia), England (SOAS, London), and Poland (College of Europe). Academically, my background is mainly in Diplomacy and International Relations, with a focus on Environment. My interests are climate change, water, development and international cooperation.


Wanna save water? Change your toilet!

Published 28th March 2010 - 8 comments - 6539 views -

A dry or waterless toilet to save water resources! smile

Much of the world lives without access to clean water. No water = no development. Let's save water! Don't waste it in your toilet! 


What is a waterless system?

A waterless or dry toilet is a sanitation system that doesn't need any water to function. In addition, it cannot contaminate underground water resources such as acquifers because this toilet system is entirely isolated from the surrounding environment. This toilet utileses a natural biological process to break down human waste into a dehydrated odourless compost-like material.

How does it work ?

The following is a brief description of the ECOSAN toilet concept as well as it's main features.

The human excrement falls down a vertical chute (2) and into one end of a specially designed helical screw conveyor (3). Every time the toilet lid (1) is lifted, a mechanism rotates the conveyor. With each rotation the human excrement slowly moves along, taking approximately twenty five days before falling into a reusable collection bag (4). It takes six months for the bag to fill with dry and odourless waste.

Through the uniquely designed ventilation pipe (5), adequate airflow is provided for the dehydration / evaporation, deodorising process. Human excrement consists of roughly 95% moisture. As the solids dry in the conveyer the urine and moisture is vented into the atmosphere. The solid waste then dries into a compost-like material, roughly 5 - 10% of it's original mass.

The dry waste is manageable and can be processed in the following ways.

  • Use it in the making of compost
  • Dispose of it by using municipal waste services
  • Use it as a source of fuel

Large objects like beverage cans, disposable nappies or other objects accidentally dropped down the chute will not block the system, It is however not advisable to do this

How a waterless toilet works picture


  • No plumbing required
  • No drains
  • No pipes
  • Waterfree
  • Low odour levels
  • Chemical free
  • Relatively light and easy to install

For more examples of how to save water, and to know where it has already been applied, please visit the website of the Jordanian-Palestinian-Israeli NGO friends of the Earth Middle East:

Category: Environment | Tags:


  • Andrei Tuch on 29th March 2010:

    Is this a real product? You’re showing a diagram. Has this been built and used? What was the feedback?

    I live in a very forested country, a lot of people here have cabins in the countryside where there is no mains water supply, so I have experience with autonomous toilet systems. There are two major types - one uses chemicals and you have to replace them (dumping out the container), the other is environmentally friendly and uses sawdust as an absorbent. Will the system you’ve shown work in places that are not as hot and dry as the Middle East?

    Furthermore: why dry out the excrement to begin with? There are objections about using human excrement as fertilizer, but if you are committed to using it, why get rid of the moisture that will be useful on the field?

  • Andrei Tuch on 29th March 2010:

    And besides - why do *I* need to save water? There is no shortage of water in Estonia, anything I use goes back into the water table. I’m not depriving people in developing countries of drinking water by flushing my toilet!

  • Hussam Hussein on 29th March 2010:

    Hey Andrei,

    thank you for your comments and interest. Yes, the dry-toilet is a real product, already adopted in many parts of the world. In EU has particularly been sold in Scandinavia, Spain, Latvia, and Estonia. And from 2005, there is also the guide in Estonian smile
    Actually, there are many associations such as the Global Dry Toilet Association in Finland that are very aktiv, even if based in a water-rich region. For instance, this Association was founded in 2002 in Tampere, Finland, with an aim of:

    -collect and distribute information on different types
    of dry toilet solutions
    -develope dry toilet technology (DT-technology) and culture
    -promote the use of dry toilets
    -look after the interests of dry toilet users
    -organise exhibitions, conferences and other events
    -participate in research and publish research results
    -find ways to solve problems regarding dry toilets
    -make statements to the press and public regarding dry toilets

    In the case of this association, the objectives is to protect Finland’s and the world’s waters and to promote the implementation of the natural nutritional cycle.

    It is very interesting, because also they believe that the water shortage is indeed a global problem, and for this reason it is important to operate also in water-rich countries such as Scandinavia. “A combination of climate change and poor resource management is leading to water shortages in even the most developed countries,” says the WWF

  • Hussam Hussein on 29th March 2010:

    Anyway, the NGOs are mainly focused on the promotion of this kind of sanitation in the regions of the world that face a water shortage wink

  • Ivaylo Vasilev on 29th March 2010:

    I’d be curious to know the disadvantages of the product; why isn’t it widespread everywhere? Is it very costly, or smelly, or available in just few countries, or not user-friendly/convenient in some other way…

  • Hussam Hussein on 29th March 2010:

    i’m not an expert in these field, but I remember that when I was working in an NGO dealing with water in Jordan, concerning the dry-toilet they said that for cultural reasons it could have some problems in being adopted by a vast majority in the country.
    However, the technology is improving pretty much, and inconveninet that were present in the past, are being solved smile

  • Iwona Frydryszak on 20th July 2010:

    yes, it is the problem of people awareness. sanitation is very important but it takes time to familiar people with the topic so they will use the toilet like this or in general give money for improving sanitation in the developing countries.

  • Hussam Hussein on 29th July 2010:

    Well said Iwona! Thanks for your contribution!

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