Ecosan Waterless Toilet Systems

The Ecosan Waterless Toilet

The patented ECOSAN waterless toilet, has been a market leader in dry sanitation for almost 2 decades. Designed over 20 years ago and launched in December 2000, it is still one of our most obvious solutions to the sanitation crisis.

The Ecosan is manufactured in South Africa using high quality virgin and recycled LDPE. These robust, durable, factory-assembled toilets contribute considerably towards the health and safety of communities.

Ecosan level in the groundEcosan Waterless Toilet at TT

What is the Ecosan Waterless Toilet?

The ECOSAN waterless toilet is a facility that safely separates human waste from human contact using the principles of ecological sanitation.

The Ecosan provides a low-tech, affordable alternative to water-based sanitation. It is a hygienic, safe and sustainable, closed-loop system.
The unit is a chemical-free and self-contained. They utilize the natural biological processes of ventilation and time to break down the human waste. The remains are a desiccated, odourless material which can be incorporated into the compost heap for nutrient recycling, disposed of with municipal waste or be burnt for fuel. The Ecosan is therefore an excellent alternative to composting, chemical or pit toilets. 

How does it work?

The Ecosan Waterless toilet is designed with a non-stick surface of the chute. The human waste entering the system falls directly into the processing drum area. Here the air is extracted. Then, the helical screw conveyor proceeds to move the waste away from the chute every time the toilet seat is opened and shut.

Temporary storage of the waste takes place inside the processing drum while it is being tumbled and dried. Approximately 25 days later the waste will be dropped into the removal bag. By then, it is the waste is roughly 5-10% of its original mass. The reusable bag usually needs emptying once every few months. With correct use, the human excreta should be completely dried out. The result thus a pathogen-free, inert material, dry enough to recycle as fertilizer in the soil. No water or electricity is required for the operation of the Ecosan Toilet. No plumbing and/or pipes are needed to access a sewer system. Furthermore, the Ecosan cancels out the need for any infrastructure or municipal approval. Ecosan toilets are a once-off capital investment. Ecosan is a cost effective solution to providing safe, hygienic, dignified sanitation facilities to many.

How many people can 1 toilet serve?

The unit is designed to work most effectively with normal use by 8 to 10 persons per day. It is designed to handle normal amounts of urine, which in fact assists with the removal of odours due to the additional ventilation it causes through evaporation.

Why is the Ecosan Waterless Toilet the best choice? 

An added advantage of the ECOSAN that is seldom considered is that, unlike flushing toilets, it does not release toilet plume. This is the dispersal of microscopic particles as a result of flushing a toilet. These microparticles rise approximately 30-50 cm into the air if the toilet seat is left open and may contain fecal matter and other pathogens which easily transmit disease.

As the Ecosan is completely sealed it does not leach any contaminants into the ground thus protecting the precious groundwater sources.

The unit is free-standing and can be installed indoors or outdoors. It is portable and can be moved at any time to wherever it needs to be relocated to. Since the technology requires no water it is important to educate the user to ensure that no excess liquid other than body fluids should be introduced into the system. The cleaning of the bowl can be done using a toilet brush, a biodegradable toilet cleaner and a maximum of 100ml of water, once a day.

Ecosan installed in the snowMutiple Ecosan toilets installed in snowy area

How well does the system work?

The Ecosan system has been tried, tested and evaluated in the field since 1997. The evaluation period involved scientific, health as well as community tests and feedback. Widespread experience with the system in South Africa and neighbouring countries shows that it is a cost-effective, respectable, hygienic and environmentally friendly system. It ensures the dignity of all users.
A vast number of the units are installed and used successfully in many parts of the world. South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique, Malawi, Botswana, the Caribbean, France, Australia and India are all home to the Ecosan Waterless Toilet.

The toilet is certified by the following institutions;

  • South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) for their mechanical functioning
  • Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) for the safety of the organic waste
  • Department of Health – Western Australia
  • Caribbean Environmental Health Institute (CEHI).



Although installations are not difficult and can be accomplished by unskilled labour. Every project is case specific and will need to be approached as a unique situation. Ecosan Cape offers an installation service especially for the more challenging operations and essentially where conversions are needed.

Level surfaces
Compact earth
Easy DIY installation
Installation in France 2