Fecal sludge to nutrient-rich compost from public toilets (Rwanda Environment Care, Rwanda)

Rwanda Environment Care (REC) is a privately owned company engaged in the business of providing public toilet services and producing organic fertilizer from fecal sludge for sale to agricultural producers. With a mismatch between an ever-increasing urban population and the sanitation services provided by
the municipalities, a significant number of inhabitants in Kigali have limited to no access to sanitation products such as toilets and when they do, there are virtually no collection systems in place. REC tapped into this gap in the sanitation value chain and has set up several public toilets at different locations in Kigali, Rwanda, using the ecological sanitation (eco-san) technology. The main goal of REC is to implement a sustainable sanitation services delivery system – which ensures that customers not only have access to services (i.e. toilets) but also mechanisms to ensure consistent and efficient waste collection and treatment systems are put in place. Its activities extend to the agricultural sector via the conversion of the collected fecal sludge from their public toilets into a valuable resource – urea rich organic fertilizer (urine-enriched compost). REC implements a multiple revenue stream strategy comprised of: toilet fees amounting to USD 324 per day, kiosk and shop rentals (USD 334 per month), compost sales (USD 6,483/year) and consultancy service fees from the provision of technical assistance in the design and construction of eco-san latrines. The adopted technology – eco-san toilets – is simple and cost-effective and also ensures easy access to segregated waste inputs. REC’s activities inhabitants, especially, the migrating population in Kigali with access to toilets which has significantly reduced the incidence of open defecation and ‘flying toilets’. Additionally, reduced open-dumping of
human excreta in the environment will reduce the risk of soil and groundwater contamination. Increased availability of environmentally safe fertilizer alternatives will contribute to reducing water and soil pollution from reduced nitrate release attributed to chemical fertilizer use. While the current scale of REC may not have a notable employment impact, with plans to out-scale their activities, it is expected
that a significant number of jobs will created along the sanitation value chain.

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