New resources on container-based sanitation - and discussion about greenhouse gas emissions

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  • kcrussel
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  • I am an Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Studies at the University of Oregon. I research water and sanitation solutions in resource-constrained environments. I am also the Chair of the Container Based Sanitation Alliance.
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2020 World Toilet Day Updates from the Container Based Sanitation Alliance

Sharing a couple of new resources on container-based sanitation for your perusal (You can find all these resources at the newly launched CBSA website ( https://cbsa.global/ )):

Container-Based Sanitation implementation guide What is container-based sanitation, why is it needed and what does implementation look like? This new resource provides an introduction to CBS business models, technical specifications, health and safety and monitoring and more.

How cost analysis dispels myths about container-based sanitation
EY research looking at CBS cost effectiveness . 

And with climate change and sustainable sanitation in mind this World Toilet Day, also sharing a few recently published resources looking at the climate change mitigation potential of CBS systems:  Supporting the shift to climate positive sanitation  Virtual UNC Water and Health poster presentation 

Lastly: A paper published in 2019 on the potential and barriers to taking CBS to scale 
Kory C. Russel
Assistant Professor | Landscape Architecture | Environmental Studies
College of Design | College of Arts and Sciences
University of Oregon

Chair of Container-Based Sanitation Alliance

korychristrussel.wixsite.com/mysite
on Twitter @korycrussel
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  • RanF
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Re: 2020 World Toilet Day Updates from the Container Based Sanitation Alliance

kcrussel wrote: ...

And with climate change and sustainable sanitation in mind this World Toilet Day, also sharing a few recently published resources looking at the climate change mitigation potential of CBS systems:  Supporting the shift to climate positive sanitation  Virtual UNC Water and Health poster presentation 
...


Dear Kory,

from the depicted process flow chart in the link above it seems like you did not consider any emissions from the container-based toilettes themselves, or they were left outside the project boundaries. Or am I wrong?
I assume that containers are not immediately emptied and hence there will be some emissions, even if the conditions are quite aerobic. If we consider IPCC guidelines for composting for example, which might be a good approximation, it states emission factors for CH4 and N2O.

Best,
Ranjin
Ranjin Fernando
Water & Climate Consultant
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  • Elisabeth
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  • I'm passionate about SuSanA's role in the WASH sector since about 2005. I'm a freelance consultant since 2012 (former roles: program manager, lecturer, process engineer for wastewater treatment plants)
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Re: New resources on container-based sanitation - and discussion about greenhouse gas emissions

Hi Kory,
I also have a question for you:

Your factsheet ( link ) states that: "Sanitation is a significant contributor, producing roughly 2–6% of global man-made methane" and "Findings from a new, scientifically robust sanitation emissions impact calculator, demonstrate that container-based sanitation (CBS) can significantly reduce global Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions from sanitation".

Could you please expand on this and point us to the more detailed publications where this is spelled out? Should this figure of 2-6% be something that we lock into our heads and use in discussions freely? Is it reliable? What are the upper and lower limits of the estimate based on?

I plan to weave some of this information into the Wikipedia article on sanitation & climate change:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanitation#Climate_change

Regards,
Elisabeth

P.S. I had mentioned your paper also in another forum post here: forum.susana.org/195-climate-change-and-...-cdkn-and-fcfa#31430
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  • Chaiwe
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Re: New resources on container-based sanitation - and discussion about greenhouse gas emissions

Dear Kory and Elisabeth,

I find this point quite interesting as well:

"Sanitation is a significant contributor, producing roughly 2–6% of global man-made methane" and "Findings from a new, scientifically robust sanitation emissions impact calculator, demonstrate that container-based sanitation (CBS) can significantly reduce global Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions from sanitation".

Just based on my own assumptions, I would say that the emission contributions from sanitation are heavily attributed to the treatment options. This is both in the case of Offsite and Onsite sanitation.  Both common onsite and offsite treatment options create conducive environments for the generation of methane in the absence of technologies that trap and make use of the gas.  I, therefore, agree that container-based sanitation limits the generation of methane gas, however, we cannot completely agree unless we are sure that once the sludge is collected, the treatment options that follow adequately mitigate emissions.... 

However, I have not looked at findings to back up my argument and eagerly await a more scientific explanation to the point above. 

Regards,
Chaiwe
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Chaiwe Mushauko-Sanderse BSc. NRM, MPH
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