Toilet certification
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TOPIC: Toilet certification

Toilet certification 29 Feb 2012 11:41 #1121

  • jkeichholz
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Hola WG9,
A request by someone on the EcoSanRes mailing list for "dry toilets" to be installed for a festival in Europe also included the question about a certification for these toilets. In this particular case, the certification seems to be part of the festival agenda.

I have recently started working at a company in Germany that analyses material flows and certifies them according to the Cradle-to-Cradle principle, which means: instead of reducing everything to a pure Life Cycle Assessment point of view, the use cycle is put into focus.

I take it that one of the major problems in the sanitation scene also is that most activists are scientists, who are not interested, capable or able to market a certain technology xyz to the end user. And I regard a certification as a marketing instrument to reach those who need something like a label to appreciate a given technology, especially if it requires a behaviour change and/or comes with unknown user interfaces.

The other day, I also blogged about this here: saniblog.org/2012/01/27/how-about-a-crad...ication-for-toilets/ (thx for the comment, Carol!) and have since been wondering if an e.g. C2C certification (or any other certification) could be a driving force in the marketing of any future (~ reinvented) toilet system.

What do you think? Does a certification sound like the right thing to do?

Thx!
Juergen Eichholz
watsan eng.
water, sanitation, IT & knowledge management
www.saniblog.org
Last Edit: 29 Feb 2012 11:51 by jkeichholz.
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Re: Toilet certification 29 Feb 2012 19:53 #1127

  • tmsinnovation
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Hi all

I definitely think that a certification of one of the toilet designs would be a great marketing tool and positive move forwards. From my knowledge of the C2C concept, a sustainable sanitation toilet design would be able to satisfy both the ecological loop as well as the technological loop in C2C. I think that there are a number of UDDT's that would be close to fulfilling C2C certification requirements. Some more attention would have to be given to the design with respect to the materials used for the hardware.

Do you have a brief list of the main requirements to satisfy bronze C2C certification? As that would assist the conversation I think!
Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA)
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Re: Toilet certification 01 Mar 2012 09:53 #1136

  • jkeichholz
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Hi Trevor,
thx for the feedback and the good question.
The certification program can be accessed here epea-hamburg.org/index.php?id=165 where they also have a list of c2c certification criteria to see what is being assessed and which parameter qualifies for a Basic, Silver, Gold, and Platinum certification (Bronze maybe later on this year).

What they basically assess is
  • product/material transparency and human/environmental health characteristics of materials
  • product/material reutilization
  • production energy
  • water use at manufacturing facility
  • social fairness / corporate ethics


The only downside I curently see in it is that it is a pure product certification whereas I would rather like to certify a toilet system. On the other hand, the product certification may be the only possible method as a system as such always has too many changing variables and it would be too abstract.

And then of course it would be interesting to find out (from a sociological perspective) which cultures in which country take a certification for granted and form their consumer behaviour around this (e.g. LOHAS in Western Europe).

I would like to write a paper on all of this.
Juergen Eichholz
watsan eng.
water, sanitation, IT & knowledge management
www.saniblog.org

Re: Toilet certification 30 Mar 2012 10:28 #1373

  • tmsinnovation
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Hi Jürgen

Just wanted to ask which company you are referring to:
I have recently started working at a company in Germany that analyses material flows and certifies them according to the Cradle-to-Cradle principle, which means: instead of reducing everything to a pure Life Cycle Assessment point of view, the use cycle is put into focus.


You can send me an email answer, if you do not want to post it here.
Regards
Trevor
Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA)
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Re: Toilet certification 14 Jan 2013 15:11 #3083

  • AquaVerde
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Dear Colleagues,

I asked Braungart (C2C) exact the same question in 2011, reminding him that the inventors and start-up businesses involved are rather small to pay the high prices for any certification, his C2C-Cert. or e.g. for a German "DIBT-Zulassung" (www.dibt.de/index_eng.html). This DIBT-Zulassung for CWs cost approx. 45,000 EUR and have to be renewed!

Braungart mentioned INFORMAL, it is not helpful to try to be from the beginning (during trail & error periods) 100% perfect C2C and recommended to any entrepreneur, who want to work honestly their way through the headaches with C2C-toilers, may just call it: "Inspired by C2C" or "Based on C2C", which do not infringe any C2C-copyrights and will cost nothing.

In many of his public presentation, Braungart was very critical about the reality of the whole certification businesses (jungle) and even about his own C2C-certifications too. He was forced to have one too, to keep clear distances to the dubious.

In my personal SUBJECTIVE opinion, the real big players using and purchasing certifications as "condoms" or invent dubious "condoms" by them self, first as a green-washing instrument (euphemistic called "Marketing") and second as an indirect way to keep small start-up inventors down, in order !to steal! or purchase cheap the INFORMAL inventions/ideas from the small ones.
Big payers have big PRs sub-contracted to push customers to a kind of religious BELIEF in Certifications. Do not buy this cheap stuff...

Best Regards,

Detlef SCHWAGER
www.aqua-verde.de
Sanitation-Solutions without external energy
Low-Tech Solutions with High-Tech Effects
"Inspired by Circular Economy"
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Last Edit: 15 Jan 2013 11:05 by AquaVerde.
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Re: Toilet certification 18 Dec 2014 10:23 #11399

  • emmaroach
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Dear all,

two years after the first post in this thread has been made things haven't really changed. I totally agree with Detlef Schwager, I don't see any benefit from certifiying toilet systems yet, especially when you refer to certification of festival toilets in Europe. The situation in Germany currently is that you have a couple of motivated start-ups which are just gaining their first experiences and hence improve their systems from year to year. The scene is way too young and financially not strong enough to benefit from certification of their product.

But certification is of high interest when you think of the waste management once the festival is done. What I would like to see established is a certification system for the processing/ composting, which is proven to be safe and accepted by the government.

Does any one of you know of a similar system for composting of organic material in general? Is there any approach to apply a certification system on composting of human feaces?

Regards,
Emma
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Re: Toilet certification 18 Dec 2014 12:44 #11400

  • joeturner
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  • I am a shit philosopher, thinking about how we think about sanitation. I think our main paradigms in WASH may be wrong.
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The UK has a composting standard, see www.qualitycompost.org.uk/

I am not clear if this is being replicated across the EU or whether faecal wastes are included as part of the standards.

Update: the standards specifically exclude faeces
I don't work for anyone, I am a philosopher interested to think about how we think about WASH and sanitation. All thoughts are mine alone, I am responsible for any errors.

Previously trained and worked as a Soil Scientist and worked on projects composting sewage sludge.
Last Edit: 18 Dec 2014 12:46 by joeturner.

Re: Toilet certification 18 Dec 2014 15:23 #11403

  • jkeichholz
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Again, I see a certification mainly as a marketing instrument - and many potential customers certainly aren't interested in waste management in order to decide for a system they buy and install in their premises. As a customer, I am interested in issues like costs, design, use and so on.

From a scientific perspective though, I also prefer a certification approach for the waste management side which is clearly more important.

Also, in reply to Detlef: marketing != green-washing. What is it that your clients are asking for?
Juergen Eichholz
watsan eng.
water, sanitation, IT & knowledge management
www.saniblog.org

Re: Toilet certification 18 Dec 2014 19:28 #11405

  • AquaVerde
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honesty
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Re: Toilet certification 21 Dec 2014 23:42 #11440

  • ben
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Dear all,

Very interesting topic, I'm not the best one to talk about the french approach but here is a link to the quality charter of the RAE (dry toilet association, main actors on the topic in france).
For the non-french readers, this is about the philosophy any dry toilet renter should apply : Confort of users / sensible composting / prevention-awarness raising / hygiene-H&S equipment / Social-ethics.
I believe, because there's very little law documents on the subject in France, it has been a great paper which homogenised practices and gave us a legitimity toward our clients to say "look, there no regulation but we have a intern code that we stick to".
Last meeting of the RAE, a structure was blamed by the others for not respecting the charter, can't say if they were threatened to be ejected of the structure but an internal control was operated.
Add to this paper their last publication with the stamp of Water agency / the Ademe (energy) and the ISAE (Health institution) and the people have no doubts anymore that it's a serious organisation.

So yes, there is alternatives to labels and certification that are taken seriously by clients. Congratulation to the RAE team that worked hard this past years so everyone entering the dry toilets renting business can use their document to claim that we're organised and profesionals.

Best,

Ben
Last Edit: 21 Dec 2014 23:44 by ben.
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