While the name doesn't sound particularly inviting, the Peepoo bag is an innovation that serves two important functions - improve human waste management in areas where people have limited access to toilets and provide useful soil fertilizer.
People in the developing world lack infrastructure to treat their waste, so they end up contaminating the water they drink. Today, one child dies every 15 second bebcause of contaminated water. So a group of Swedish researchers developed this inexpensive "sanitation system". There is a big difference between this innovation and the way of using plastic bags to dispose of waste used in some developing countries, such as the "Flying Toilets" in the slums of Kenya where people throw the bags out of the window. The plastic bags do not remove the waste, but Peepoo bag turns them into fertiliser.
The following paragraphs from an online article explains how it works:
"The Peepoo bag is a long thin bag (14 x 38 cm) with a guaze liner, and coated on the inside by a thin film of Urea. Urea is the most common fertiliser in the world and is a non-hazardous chemical. When the urea comes into contact with faeces or urine, an enzymatic breakdown takes place into ammonia and carbonate, driven by enzymes which are naturally occurring in faeces. As the urea is broken down, the pH value of the material increases and hygienisation begins. Waste born pathogens (viruses, bacteria and parasites) are killed over a period of a couple hours to a few weeks.
"The Peepoo bags are biodegradable (currently made from 45% renewable materials but they aim to up that to 100%), and when the bags degrade in the soil, the ammonia byproduct acts as a harmless fertiliser taken up by the plants. So not only does the Peepoo bag help them get rid of hazardous waste, it provides a valuable agricultural resource."
At two to three US cents per piece, the very low cost Peepoo bag can bring about great improvement to the sanitation of some of the poorest populations in the world, and has deservedly won many awards, including being named as one of the Top 10 Business Ideas of 2010 by springwise.com.
The official website of the Peepoo bag is http://www.peepoople.com/.