Kohler Launches First WATERLESS Toilet

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Around the world, over three billion people lack access to safely managed sanitation. Sanitation needs vary from community to community and tackling this challenge requires innovations and partnerships that take into consideration that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to ensuring safe sanitation for all.

The “traditional approach” to urban sanitation is not the unparalleled solution that it is made out to be—especially for the urban poor who live in crowded, informal settlements. To add to the difficult living conditions, these populations are typically located in areas that are more susceptible to the adverse effects of climate change.

One of the most well-known effects of climate change is the global rise in temperatures. This phenomenon has increased instances of water scarcity in locations with inadequate sanitation solutions. Thus, relying on sewage systems, water, and electricity is often not an option or the ideal solution for many of the sanitation deprived communities in the world.

Enter Container-Based Sanitation (CBS).

CBS is a form of off-grid waste management where solid waste and urine are collected and then either disposed of or converted into a new product. This sanitation method does not require any plumbing, construction, electricity, or water. All one needs is a container-based toilet, a waste collection service, and a waste to value conversion mechanism. Thus, container-based sanitation is an ideal solution for the urban poor and people in water depleted areas.

However, the market has lacked a standardized CBS toilet that is high quality, well designed, and affordable. So, Kohler’s in-house incubator, Innovation for Good, has filled that gap with a top-tier solution—Loope.

When it comes to design, we approached container-based sanitation solutions the same as any of our other products. It all came down to designing something that people aspire to own. Its value to individuals and the community—functionally, aesthetically, and economically—needs to be such that they benefit at every level.

In terms of functionality, the toilet was designed to ensure the highest level of comfort for users while efficiently managing odor and waste. The separation of urine and feces contributes to better waste management and a more pleasant user experience. These defining characteristics are the result of consistent and ongoing real-world tests, iterations, and improvements.

To Hiro Muraoka, Kohler's senior principal designer on the project, it’s the details that make the difference in a product. Water is central to human life and Muraoka wanted to recognize that in his design. The pattern on the top of the toilet was inspired by ripples in water, reminding us of its importance. A powerful message that is emphasized through the irony and symbolism of water inspiring a dry toilet.

 Since the launch of Loope in October 2023, the team has been on a journey of improving the health and well-being of those that have been deprived of these basic needs for so long.

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