Derek Newberry

Rising Ventures: Landwasher Cleaning Up Waste Management in China

In his final post on NextBillion, New Ventures Intern Jesse Last ponders the viability of sustainable waste management as exemplified by New Ventures China entrepreneur, Landwasher.

Read Jesse’s full profile of Landwasher here


landwasherChina’s booming private-sector seems to be getting some bad press these days. The country has suffered through any number of product safety concerns, topped off most recently by an excess of lead in painted toy cars. At the same time, Congress continues to clamor about China’s unfair trade practices and possible U.S. retaliation.

How can the Chinese government begin to repair its reputation? Perhaps with the promotion of Landwasher, a local start-up producing environmentally-friendly toilets… Ok, so maybe sustainable toilets are not the most promising PR campaign. However, waste disposal and resource management are clearly an important issue in China today. As Wu Hao, the founder of environmentally-friendly Landwasher toilets, recently informed me, “Assuming all of our country uses water-flushing toilets, not even the Changjiang and the Yellow River will be enough.”

Landwasher is part of the solution. The six-year old company’s patented special-purpose agent and sterilization process require no water and little electricity to flush. Moreover, because the agent is free of heavy metal and phosphorous, discharge composts quickly and poses no harm to the environment. When describing his product, Wu Hao exudes the dedication of a successful entrepreneur. He knows his market completely, and when asked about what drives him, reflects that “on a personal level, I love the natural environment…I can’t endure the large scale waste and damage to the environment caused by the process of construction in China.” And, our team at New Ventures is not the only group to have caught on. It seems China’s government is getting on-board after all – this past year, the 2008 Olympic Organization Committee selected Landwasher as a manufacturer of mobile toilets for the Olympic Games.

Let me end with a goodbye to the very small, possibly non-existent fan base I have built up over the past several weeks. After an excellent internship at WRI, I am moving on to smaller and lesser things. Thanks for reading, and don’t worry about the site – I have the fullest confidence in Rob Katz to lead nextbillion after my departure.

academia, waste