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Catching up with RecycLoo: A sustainable public toilet solution is flushed with success due to exciting worldwide commercial opportunities

In the June 2020 issue of Research*eu we featured an article on the RecycLoo project, undertaken by French start-up company WeCo, that has designed and built a new type of sustainable public toilet. With exciting expansion plans in Europe and Africa, we find out how they’ve been doing, arranging a discussion with WeCo CEO and founder, Cécile Dekeuwer.

Industrial Technologies

What makes the WeCo toilet, made possible through the EU-funded RecycLoo (The water recycling bio toilets) project and which to the casual user looks like any other public toilet, so unique is that a combination of bacteria, sedimentation and an electrochemical reaction allows for previously dirty flushed water to be completely treated, made clean, and usable again for another flush. This has the great benefit of saving water and is an excellent example of the concept of the circular economy in action.

Opportunities in COVID times

COVID-19 has caused a change in how people perceive hygiene in the public space – specifically, the idea that public toilets could be a major infection risk. Yet the fact remains that one could be caught short whilst out-and-about, and with restaurants and other non-essential businesses closed, the need for public restrooms, even in COVID times, has provided opportunities for WeCo. With a priority focus on France, WeCo has recently installed their toilets in the municipality of Grigny (near Paris), and at the beginning of 2021 the French towns of Blois and Rennes also became WeCo customers. “We’ve also strengthened our team with multilingual sales experts who are exploring opportunities for WeCo in Germany, where we are prioritising raising our brand awareness and asserting our presence there,” Dekeuwer explains. “And we expect to see the payoff of these efforts by the end of 2021.”

New commercial opportunities abound

Alongside their growing French customer base and push into Germany, WeCo also recently began new partnerships with an industry leader in sewered flush toilets, a ‘grey water’ recycling company and their main industrial partner. “New orders are increasing, and we are now concentrating on developing our first sales in a client-partnership mindset, focusing on sustainable cities and B2B projects where our off-grid sustainable toilets are needed,” adds Dekeuwer. WeCo also hasn’t given up on its plans to penetrate African markets. “Thanks to further funding through the INNOWWIDE – EUREKA Prize and Water Europe’s Innovation Award, as well as through the Seal of Excellence from the EIC Accelerator, we have begun a partnership with Senegalese company Delvic Sanitation Services, a key actor in the valorisation of faecal sludges,” she continues. “This allows us to understand the specific needs of West Africa and to help contribute to building the sustainable African cities of tomorrow!” From our catch-up interview, it’s clear that Dekeuwer and her team are extremely proud of their sustainable and reliable toilet solution – and they’re absolutely confident that WeCo will make its mark in Europe, Africa and, one day, Asia as well.

Keywords

RecycLoo, WeCo, toilet, sustainable, public restroom, COVID-19, Africa