Indian plastics executive Hasmukh Shukla believes wood-plastic composites can help bring better sanitation to more than 2 billion people in the world who lack access to hygienic toilets.
Demand for such toilets totals more than 100 million, estimated Shukla, managing director of Indian PVC window and door maker Accura Polytech Pvt. Ltd. And, using wood-plastic composites to fabricate the portable facilities could cut manufacturing costs significantly, he said.
There are 2.6 billion people in the world without proper sanitation facilities, he said, citing figures from the World Toilet Organization in Singapore. Out of that, 900 million are children.
Two-thirds of people lacking proper sanitation live in southern and eastern Asia, Shukla said in a speech at the China Third International Forum of Wood Plastic Composites in Shenzhen.
He estimates that prefabricated sanitation facilities could be 50 percent less expensive if they are made from composites that use recycled plastic and wood raw materials.
His small company in Ahmedabad, India, now makes a line of portable PVC toilets. Accura employs about 50 and has annual production capacity for around 3.3 million pounds of PVC doors, windows, desks and simple prefabricated houses and buildings.
The firm has developed designs for wood-plastic portable toilets. But it does not do composites manufacturing and is looking for manufacturing partners or investors, Shukla said.
I don't want to venture into WPC unless I can associate with someone who has big capacity. I'm looking for venture capital partners. India is a big market.
Shukla came to China to pitch his idea and look for partners, in part because the Chinese plastic-wood composites industry is sitting idle with excess capacity.
Accura has experience working in some challenging environments: Shukla said the company developed a PVC house that was used for a nine-day religious retreat in the Himalayan mountains, at an elevation of 18,000 feet. The components were flown in over a 11/2-day period by helicopter and assembled on-site.
He also has developed designs for prefab or temporary wood-plastic composite housing that can be built using common carpentry tools. That's also a challenge with prefab toilets, he said.
You can't transport it in assembled conditions every time. This is easily fabricated, he said.
The urgent need is also a solid business opportunity, he said.
Primarily, I see huge potential as a business. Humanitarianism is a main primary objective, but definitely it is ... quite a viable business option.
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