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Innovative local toilet and basin system winning orders

27th September 2023

By: Rebecca Campbell

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

     

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Innovative Pretoria-based enterprise Loo Afrique is getting a good response from early childhood development centres for its combined toilet cistern and wash basin product, branded as the V-Cistern. But it is also gaining orders from contractors engaged by the authorities to upgrade school toilets.

With the V-Cistern, some of the clean water that is fed into the cistern is diverted to a tap, to allow users to wash their hands. The waste water in the basin then drains into the cistern and is used to flush the toilet. The system saves both water and space, as well as improving hygiene. The company has also developed an equivalent system for urinals, which it calls the Pee Basin.

“We started in 2018,” company founder and CEO Rori Mpete told Engineering News at the 2023 South Africa Innovation Summit, in Cape Town, on Wednesday. “Between 2018 and 2021 we were in the pilot and testing phase. We started commercial operations last year.”

Currently, the main market area is Soweto, in Johannesburg. Its space-saving nature is making the V-Cistern very attractive, because many creches in Soweto lack space.

The product is also being used to replace existing but vandalized facilities. The V-Cistern limits vandalism because it is made from durable plastic. (A future ambition of the company is to use recycled plastics to make its products, but this is not yet feasible.)

V-Cisterns are produced in a variety of colours, addressing the desires of the young users. The fact that they are coloured seems to reduce vandalism. “We have found that the kids take care of our coloured units,” he reported.

The idea for the V-Cistern came by chance. Mpete was visiting his Grandmother, in her rural village. He found that her bathroom sink was unusable, but that the water supply into the cistern was still working properly, so that the only way to wash one’s hands in the bathroom was to use the clean water that flowed into the cistern.

Loo Afrique is attending SAIS under the aegis of the Technology Innovation Agency. The company was one of the Top Ten finalists in the 2022 Global Cleantech Innovation Programme and was the overall winner in the Water & Sanitation category.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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