Bill Gates at The Reinvented Toilet Expo i Beijing 6-8 november 2018

The Reinvented Toilet

Bill Gates has put the world's leading researchers on the case: Reinvent the toilet - this time without wasting valuable drinking water

Since 2011, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has supported the development of sanitary solutions that don’t connect to – in many areas non-existent – sewage systems and consume precious, oftentimes seriously threatened access to clean water. Bill Gates is revolutionizing the toilet.

In the western world, we take the toilet and sewage systems for granted. But worldwide, the lack of good sanitation is an overwhelming problem and the second largest cause of death, according to UN Water.

  • 62.5 % of the world's population lack access to safe sanitation
  • 892 million still defecate in the open
  • 1.8 billion people drink water from sources that are contaminated with feces
  • 4.5 billion people lack access to a safe toilet
  • Nearly 2000 children die daily from contaminated drinking water and hazardous sanitation


Environmental threats no one talks about
On the beautiful Hawaii islands, a not so beautiful story unfolds. Over 80,000 cesspools - containers for temporary storage of liquid waste and sewage - are scattered around the islands. These leak into the drinking water and into the sea, at times in such large quantities that it is dangerous to swim. The leakages can amount to as much as 53 million gallons daily and the surrounding coral reefs are dying.

In fact, threats to the coral reefs worldwide can be more related to sewage emissions than other pollutants according to the Hawaiian authorities. Work is now underway to provide residents with tax cuts to convert the dangerous cesspools into more sustainable waste management, but there is still a long way to go before they are finished and worldwide, there are many areas that have not yet begun.

Sewage polition impact on coral reefs
96 % of the places in the world where both human beings and coral reefs are together, there are sewage-related problems that kill the reefs. Red spots are sewage discharge, blue areas are coral reefs. Source: ResearchGate

The Reinvented Toilet Expo in Beijing
On November 6-8 2018, Cinderella Eco Group was specially invited to The Reinvented Toilet Expo in Beijing, supported by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The conference was attended by over 1000 delegates and was a combination of exhibitions of the 20 reinvented toilet prototypes that the foundation supports development of, lecturers by state leaders in developing countries and changemakers, people and organizations that have created significant innovations in their home markets.

Bård Olav Sugustad, Gunhild Sjøvik og Trude Margel 
From left: Cinderella Eco Group's CTO Bård Sugustad, Group CEO Gunhild Sjøvik and Communications advisor Trude B-J Margel

Global financial institutions such as The World Bank, The Asian Development Bank and The African Development Bank, were also in attendance and they pledged their latest investment programs and loans to support and help alieve this world wide problem. 

Bill Gates launched the conference with a bottle of feces on stage to emphasize the challenges that need urgent attention.

Bill Gates understreker sitt budskap med en flaske avføring på scenen
Bill Gates emphasizes the importance of new toilet inventions brandishing a bottle of feces from the podium

Cinderella's Incineration Toilets inspire developers
To Cinderella's CEO Gunhild Sjøvik and her CTO Bård Sugustad, the devastating statistics affecting our environment and learning about the many diseases caused by unsafe sanitation was disheartening, but also inspiring. Here at the Reinvented Toilet Expo, like-minded people were assembled who all had coping with the global sanitary challenges that threaten both health and the environment in common. The dialogue was eager and urgent. Optimism was rampant. And we were left with a belief that the United Nations Sustainability Goal no. 6: clean water and safe sanitation for all by 2030, is achievable.

"It's no longer a matter of if we get solutions in place," Bill Gates proclaimed, “but when. And we know it can’t happen soon enough.”

Cinderella Eco Group has been manufacturing incineration toilets for private consumers for 20 years, mainly for leisure homes and caravans, with well-functioning incineration toilets available on the world market. The company has expanded to Canada, Europe and Australia in addition to the Nordic home markets.

It appears that Cinderella's incineration technology is well-known among the researchers developing new prototypes, supported by grants from The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In many cases Cinderella has been used as a benchmark for further the development of public toilets. The goal of The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is to scale up the prototypes so as to implement them as toilets in schools and communities as well as being able to function as single family toilets.

 Gunhild Sjøvik og Bård Olav Sugustad inspiserer prototyp
CEO Gunhild Sjøvik to the left and CTO Bård Olav Sugustad on the right, inspect an exciting Reinvented Toilet prototype from Cranfield University

The ISO-standard for future toilets uses Cinderella's Incineration Toilets as benchmark
In order to qualify as a sustainable Reinvented Toilet that can meet these goals, clear standards that impose user-friendliness, hygiene, smell, sound and of course the killing of all harmful bacteria and pathogens, are important. The ISO 30500 has therefore been developed to ensure the best possible design and specifics.

The standard is set for prefabricated non-sewage-based sanitation systems that will ensure that implementations are safe for human health and the environment. TÜV SÜD in Singapore has developed a certification preparedness evaluation offered to all manufacturers of possible solutions for developing countries. The evaluation provides manufacturers with a gap analysis of the prototype to be able to define where further development may take place to achieve ISO standard certification. Through the analysis of Cinderella's Incineration Toilets, the so-called "baseline", was set for future evaluations.

 Gunhild Sjøvik ser på sertifiseringsfilm
Cinderella Eco Group’s CEO Gunhild Sjøvik, views the video provided by TÜV SÜD of the evaluation process which demonstrates that Cinderella's toilets are used as the baseline for the new ISO certification of non-sewage connected toilets

SDG 6 within reach
In dialogue with leading researchers from universities such as Caltech, Duke, Cranfield and other institutes from around the world, a small family owned Norwegian company with its head office in the northwestern community of Midsund and their production plant in Lyngen, the magical center of often-sighted Northern Lights and their 52 employees, stands on the threshold of worldwide contributions to solving major global problems. Cinderella Eco Group can be an important key to future solutions.

"FN's Sustainability Goal No. 6 is about clean water and sanitation for all by 2030. Through cooperation and dialogue about the possibilities we have seen at the Reinvented Toilet Expo in Beijing, we believe that the world will achieve this goal  - and perhaps even earlier than expected,” concludes Gunhild Sjøvik .

Gunhild Sjøvik i samtale med Oyungerel Tsedevdamba
CEO Gunhild Sjøvik in inspired dialogue with the previous Mongolian minister, Oyungerel Tsedevdamba, instrumental in the installation of toilets on the steppes and in local communities of her country.