Every Monday, the BFM TV Paris Ile de France channel hosts a local planet program devoted to the environment and the solutions brought within the region. On Monday, October 31st, 2022, the program interviewed Cécile Dekeuwer, the CEO of WeCo, to talk about the autonomous toilet technology developed by WeCo for 8 years.
WeCo toilets: innovative, ecological and design toilets
To start, the interview The journalist recalled a few figures:
- 4 billion people worldwide do not have access to suitable toilets, i.e. 60% of the world’s population, according to UN figures.
- This problem concerns 1 million people in France.
- A third of schools in the world do not have toilets.
The World toilet Day, created in 2001, takes place every year on November 19 to respond to this problem. This day is the opportunity to bring together the various toilets world players to reflect on solutions and make commitments for the future.
This is the case of the UN, which has committed to that “everyone has access to adequate toilets by 2030”.
In the world, this access to the toilet is also a problem within schools. Indeed, the absence of toilets would be the cause of many school dropouts, especially for adolescent girls at the time of their first periods.
In France, according to an IFOP study, one in two children would refuse to go to the toilet at school due to the lack of hygiene.
To respond to the toilet’s public issues, WeCo was created eight years ago by 8 shareholders. Working in South Korea 20 years ago, its co-founder and CEO Cécile Dekeuwer noted the country’s advance in technological toilets. Korean toilets are particularly developed, but Cécile noted a lack of ecology and sustainability.
WeCo was founded to provide an answer to this problem where nothing existed at that time. To respond to essential hygiene measures, WeCo has developed an innovative and autonomous technology to flush toilet with treated recycled wastewater.
The main asset of WeCo toilets is that they do not waste anymore clean water for flushing. This technology resolves a major problem of climate change with more and more droughts that imply saving the clean water for drinking and not flushing our toilets and creates solutions to solve the new environmental issues. Water is a precious resource; it is becoming increasingly rare as we have seen in France with this dry and hot summer 2022.
WeCo was recognized in 2021 as an impact company for its environmental commitment but also its societal impact by enabling access to safe off-grid toilets to everybody, especially in emerging countries where they are the most needed, without gender or wealth country’s distinction.
The technology of our autonomous toilets explained in short
Unlike the connected toilets that are in public space, the WeCo toilets do not require continuous supply of drinking water, nor to be connected to the sewer network to evacuate the wastewater.
Water is treated and reused for flushes. Thanks to a clean treated water storage, the technology works as a mini treatment plant allowing to recirculate water following two treatments: biological treatment and treatment via electrolysis.
With these two treatments, all viruses and pathogens are eliminated, the water is clarified and clean after two hours. It is reused within a closed water circuit for flushing, almost infinitely.
These look like normal toilets for users.
The urine recovered by our system are treated and become a surplus of reusable water.
Compared to normal toilets, WeCo toilets could save 97% of clean water. No more waste of drinking water!
The lack of public toilets in France
In Paris, there are nearly 700 public toilets, but the capital is the “good example” compared to other French cities where it can quickly become complicated to find toilets facilities that are rare, like in Marseille, the second French city where they are less than 30 public toilets.
In France, the lack of public toilets is very problematic with the density of the urban population and the many tourists who come to visit our country each year.
Each year, this lack of public toilets is underlined by the people, requesting more toilets. The Ile de France, being one of the most populous regions of the territory is particularly affected by this lack of public toilets.
Today in Ile de France, WeCo toilets are already installed in Grigny (91) that was one of the first innovative off-grid sustainable toilets facilities, after St Etienne (42). Other WeCo toilets have been installed within an ecological, autonomous and temporary restaurant at La Villette (Paris).
Thanks to the Loire et Cher Departmental Council, WeCo toilets are also installed in a secondary school in Blois (41). On our website, you can discover our other facilities https://www.weco-toilet.com/en/our-clients/ .
The system is developed to be miniaturized and mobile, easily movable from a place to another. As such, it will be possible for WeCo to provide its toilets during festival or large-scale events on demand, such as the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris for example.
Technically, it would even be possible to install our toilets in domestic houses! But the blocking in France would be the regulation … so it is not yet possible, and we are sorry for the individuals who ask us every day our solution for their house.
WeCo Series A fundraising to certify and industrialize the technology
During the interview, Cécile Dekeuwer announced a fundraising to have the technology certified, industrialize it and develop our company internationally, first in Switzerland, then Netherlands, Germany, then in merging countries in Africa, India and China where toilets need like ours are enormous. This fundraising will enable our “scalability” approach to achieve our objectives.
Indeed, the main objective of this fundraising is to industrialize our technology to have an even more important environmental and societal impacts.
The industrialization of technology will make it possible to produce on a large scale and to offer WeCo toilets to the greatest number of people.
If you want to see the complete replay you can click on this link.