NEW DELHI — A 2013 United Nations study pointedly noted that more people worldwide have mobile phones than access to basic sanitation, but a South African rotational molding company wants to help change that.
Enviro Options Holdings Ltd. has been making versions of its rotomolded polyethylene toilets, the Enviro Loo, for more than 20 years.
For most of that time, it's been focused on problems of safe sanitation in its native land. But the last few years have seen business take off globally, as attention has grown on the major role poor sanitation plays in childhood deaths and poverty.
Since 2013, Enviro Options has expanded its staff from 30 to 150, and added more rotomolding capacity at its Johannesburg headquarters.
It's currently setting up a joint venture to start manufacturing in Ghana and is busily scouting for partners in India, which it identifies as its biggest potential overseas market.
In an interview at a recent plastics conference in India, company executives credited work by governments, the UN's Millennium Development Goals and private groups like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation with bringing more resources.
“You're seeing the issue popping up all over the world,” said Rowan Snyman, international sales consultant for Enviro Holdings, at the Society for Asian Rotomoulding conference, held Feb. 1-2 in New Delhi.
The company says its plastic-bodied toilets shouldn't be confused with the portable bathrooms common at public festivals and construction sites in the U.S.
The Enviro Loo works without water or chemicals, and the company says it's odor-free, killing bacteria and rendering the waste safe without the need for sewer pipes or septic systems. The rotomolded tank, drying system and pipe can be housed in any structure.
Enviro Loo executives say their design creates internal air pressure that draws out smells, and they say plastics help it retain heat to dry out waste and keep the product cost-effective and simple enough to be made anywhere in the world.
“Rotomolding has always been our preferred technology,” said Managing Director Mark La Trobe.
A global health issue