Ecological Sanitation System (Ecosan)

Design Without Borders - Uganda

Ecological Sanitation System (Ecosan) Contact Solution Provider

Solution Overview & Benefits

Ecological Sanitation (Ecosan) is a system in which human waste is used as fertilizer.

Limited access to water and poor infrastructure in the slum areas precludes the use of water closets. In collaboration with Crestanks, a Ugandan manufacturer of plastic products, Design without Borders has developed an ecological urinal for domestic use. The urinal addresses challenges such as lack of space and cleanliness. Upkeep is simple and production is economical. The urinal preserves all nutrients in the urine, so that it can be easily processed to become high-quality fertilizer.


  • Aimed towards private households
  • Based on a standardized plastic can, a product that is easily available and which users are familiar with
  • Prevents odors, takes up little space, and requires minimum upkeep
  • Inexpensive to produce and affordable for end-users
  • Portable, and therefore works well in the context of larger collection systems
  • Preserves all the nutrients in the urine, so that it can easily be processed into high-quality fertilizer

History & Development

44% of the inhabitants of Uganda’s capital Kampala live in slum areas with high population density. The slum residents lack space and often cannot afford their own toilets. The most common toilet solutions are therefore shared pay toilets, or buckets and plastic bags. In a number of neighborhoods, more than 1000 people share the same toilet.

The fecal matter from public toilets is either emptied onto the streets or into open sewers running through residential areas. It then filters into the ground water, reaching wells or other places where people come into contact with it. The spread of bacteria from fecal matter is the source of about 80% of diseases in the slum areas. In addition, women and children frequently become the victims of sexual assault and rape when they approach public toilets after dark.

Design without Borders provides innovation and design services to create social impact. Design Without Borders collaborates with a wide range of partners working towards development and emergency relief and private sector development in developing countries.


Publicly available: no
Countries where available: Worldwide
Price range (USD): Contact supplier for quote

Additional Information

Solution Providers Website (external link) Product Webpage (external link)


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