Peepoople: Innovating Sanitation and Providing Dignity with the Peepoo

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Yes, you read that right. The company is called “Peepoople,” and the product they provide is called the “peepoo.” Today, over 40 percent of the world’s population does not have adequate access to a toilet. That amounts to over 2.6 billion people lacking access to basic sanitation. Sanitation is a sector that is in desperate need of innovative solutions that can be adopted on a widespread basic for a minimal price. The Swedish company understood how serious the lack of sanitation was, and did just that; they developed an innovative and unexpected product that has already proven its enormous potential. Peepoople developed a personal, single-use, self-sanitizing, fully biodegradable toilet known as the “peepoo,” that prevents human waste from contaminating the immediate area as well as the surrounding ecosystem

While the small bag that they developed appears relatively simple in design, it is in fact a miracle bag. After use, the peepoo bag decomposes into valuable fertilizer that has the potential to provide families with increased food security. While the concept of fertilizing food with our own waste may be hard to grasp for privileged westerners, it is actually a remarkably sustainable, efficient and convenient way to dispose of waste and have the added benefit of being source of fertilization. Each Peepoo contains six grams of urea. When the urea in Peepoo comes into contact with human waste, the process of breaking down the dangerous pathogens starts. The outer bag and inner funnel are made of fully biodegradable plastics, which means the bag not only disintegrates, but the molecules are broken down into carbon dioxide, water and biomass. Peepoo is designed to be used once, while sitting, squatting or standing. It can be used in conjunction with a small bucket or a Peepoo Kiti (specially designed seat for Peepoo) and used as a chamber pot. It can also be used only with one’s hand. Because Peepoo is small, lightweight and not fixed in place, it can easily be used indoors or carried to a secluded spot for use as a private toilet.

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Swedish Professor Anders Wilhelmson invented the peepoo in 2005 at the Swedish University of Agricultural Science. Peepoople AB is located in Stockholm, Sweden and operates as a private limited company. They are responsible for the development and production of the peepoo technology. In 2010 Peepoo Kenya was established as an NGO, and is the base for Peepoople’s first urban slum project in Kibera.

Peepoople currently focuses on four major areas: urban slums, schools, emergency response and refugee camps, each of which has a different model of distribution. The Peepoo School Program is a donor-funded program currently providing hygiene and sanitation to more than 10 000 school children in the Kibera slum of Nairobi, Kenya.  This program not only benefits school children, but is also a channel to bring information about the peepoo, sanitation and hygiene into the home. In the school programs peepoos are distributed for free. In the slums distribution is organized by a local NGO, and sales are typically conducted through a co-operative of women or through a micro-entrepreneur. Women are taught about the product and about running a small business, and are able to benefit both from the sale and use of the product. They are sold for the equivalent of three cents each, either individually or in rolls of 25. If the peepoos are not used in the home gardens, which they frequently are, they are then collected by the Peepoo collection system that is ideally performed by one enterprise. The bags are taken to a drop off point where a refund of approximately one third of its purchase price is paid for each peepoo.

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After the typhoon in the Philippines, one million peepoos were sent to provide sanitation for 35,000 people. During crisis situations, the bags are distributed by humanitarian organizations at no cost. Water and sanitation related diseases are responsible for a significant amount of deaths during emergencies. By providing peepoo’s and training on how to use them, the spread of water and sanitization related diseases are limited right after a disaster strikes.

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Peepoo’s offer a holistic approach to tackling the sanitation issues that plague many parts of the world today. They provide a cheap, convenient solution that has the added benefit of being a source of fertilization, and a small business opportunity for micro-entrepreneurs.  Soon westerners may also have access to these little green bags, as the company is looking into expanding into the outdoor activities market. However, for now they are focusing their efforts on continuing to increase the distribution of peepoo’s to the most vulnerable and educating people about proper hygiene and its life-saving benefits. More information can be found at

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