Bill Gates Thinks About Poop – And You Should Too
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
On Tuesday and Wednesday, engineers, philanthropists, media and more from around the world will gather at the the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle for the “Reinvent the Toilet Fair,” a $3 million project funded in grants by the Foundation that will showcase revolutionary new toilets that don’t need water, electricity or even a connection to a sewage system. The goal of the project is to help improve the lives of the 2.6 billion people in the third world who do not have access to a toilet.
This is a big – and I’ll say it – crappy problem. Lack of access to proper sewage can expose people to deadly diseases, and as Bill Gates notes on his blog, “we need new ideas to help reduce disease and find new ways to turn crap into valuable stuff, like fuel, fertilizer, and fresh water.”
Gates himself will be in attendance at the event, and on Monday he tweeted out the post that also includes a video about why we need a “toilet revolution” (though the data in his tweet was slightly off.)
Of course, the big question is how these toilets will get tested. In a blog post, the Foundation’s communications officer, Diane Scott, wrote “to give these newfangled toilet prototypes a test drive while at the fair, we need synthetic feces. About 50 gallons of it.”