SOIL and CBSA Study: Comparing Costs of Urban Sanitation Solutions
With more than four billion people still lacking access to safe sanitation globally, we know that it’s going to take a multitude of innovative solutions to successfully tackle a crisis of this proportion. A one-size-fits-all solution to the global sanitation crisis is not realistic, instead focusing on expanding access to safe sanitation that meets the need of the local context is likely the most impactful way forward. But, for so long, the data necessary to successfully operate a localized approach has been inaccessible, incomplete, and challenging to compare. Thus, it is essential that decision makers have the data to assess how the safety and cost of container-based toilets like SOIL’s compare to other traditional sanitation options, like pit latrines or flush toilets to determine the most suitable solution.
Container-based sanitation (CBS) is a service-based business model that utilizes standalone toilets that store waste in sealable, removable containers. In addition to providing toilets, CBS enterprises also involve the collection of full containers, their replacement with empty ones and the transport of full containers to facilities for safe treatment, disposal or reuse of the collected waste, as is the case with SOIL. Although CBS has gained high-level recognition for its essential role in combating the global sanitation crisis, it’s often perceived as more expensive or less effective than other sanitation options, like sewers, pit latrines and septic tanks. To better evaluate, CBSA and EY commissioned a team of consultants to gather data to determine how the costs of CBS compare with other sanitation options.
“Container-based sanitation (CBS) reaches places other forms of safely managed sanitation can’t. Now research shows it’s lower cost, too.”
The study revealed exciting findings for container-based sanitation. According to the data, not only is CBS the lowest cost form of safely managed sanitation, it also compares even more favorably vs. other traditional forms of sanitation. More explicitly, the models examined in this study “are considerably lower cost than sewers, costing between 37% and 83% less per household per year, and are also less expensive than pit latrines and septic tanks, by up to 38% and 74% per household per year respectively (see figure below).” Now that the cost-effectiveness of CBS is known, it is up to governments and investors to create the necessary conditions for it to thrive, create immediate impact, and to close the urban sanitation gap.
Figure 1: Percentage difference in annual cost per household of CBS services vs. other forms of sanitation
(photo courtesy of EY)
SOIL is proud to offer the most cost-effective safe sanitation intervention in Haiti. In addition to providing dignified and reliable sanitation, our service also provides a myriad of other positive externalities: preserving water and energy resources, mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, sequestering carbon, increasing local food production, and creating dignified employment opportunities. SOIL’s revolutionary CBS solution has time and time again proven resilient to a high-risk environment, representing a significant breakthrough in the urban sanitation field and opening the potential of scaling rapidly in cities lacking sanitation services.
SOIL depends on individual donations from people like you to fund our lifesaving, earth-restoring sanitation services in Haiti. Please consider supporting SOIL today.
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