Marcel the habit changer

Marcel the habit changer: Handmade porcelain urine separator - urinal for girls too

Gornji Milanovac, SerbiaBelgrade, Serbia
Year Founded:
2013
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
Established
Budget: 
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

A composting toilet is a waterless and sustainable toilet system, with same comfort, but without impact on the environment with sewage waste.By separating urine, human pathogens are eliminated from solid waste in six to twelve months.We encourage you to change your habits in order to save enviroment

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

we can save all ground water from pollution?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Big problem in Serbian rural areas is pollution of ground waters, wells and small rivers with sewage waste. Fresh drinkable water is polluted with human pathogens because of the low environmental conscience and expensive alternative sewage systems. Also, clasical flush toilets use 3-8 liter of drinkable water for each flush. In rural areas traditional sewage systems rely on community service for cleaning and clasical with sewage trucks.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

We can change that with changing our toilet system, without interfering our accustomed comfort. Even if we use grey water for toilet rinse we capture solid waste in nitrogen rich urine and overmuch water which generate bacterial growth. Separating urine, human pathogens can be eliminated from solid waste in six to twelve months. With our urine separator, you won’t need water to flush and there is no need for any type of sewage treatment that you can’t handle by yourself. After period of decomposition solid waste is safe to handle and safe for outdoors storing. Separated urine is safe for handle right away and can be connected on gray water system or reed bed. Porcelain separator instead of plastic provide high hygiene maintenance.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Educating people in rural area about saving their environment, first of all because of themselves, and inspiring them to change will make small and slow steps but not less important. Supporting people who already change their lifestyles into sustainable by providing them natural, cheap and high quality product, will make a difference. All Eco-communities, organic farms and nature lovers who want or already changed their sewage system will save at least one well. Also, all of them educate their own rural local community and serve as good example of change without interfering comfort.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

One person from Eco-community from neighbor country bought one peace, in few days we had 9 orders. For few months orders increase. Eco-enthusiasts already need this product. Until now they could buy plastic and much expensive in western Europe or improvise some solution. Marcel is made out of need of this people whose communities grow each day. This product will make apparent environmental difference if more people start changing their sewage systems in rural areas. It has showed that most efficient way for educate people is to see good example next door. That is why we give advantage to Eco-communities who will encourage their local community.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

We already started to spread geographically in neighbor countries. We already collaborate with chemist colleague who made special bacteria mix as compost starter so decomposition of solid waste can expedite in 3 months. With publicity, education, web-site and recommendations we want to reach more people. Especially simple people from undeveloped rural area. In future we would love to collaborate with more communities, NGO organisations and individuals to make this product less controversial and more approachable to different layers of people.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Buying basic equipment for production instead of renting it, will ensure constant productivity. Our main goal is to reach international Eco-communities and develop strong network of satisfy customers who will help in spreading our idea trough recommendations and education in local community. This will ensure sustainability of the product and our environmental goals.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Composting toilets and alternative toilet solutions became very popular in last years.But there are few differences in our solution and others on market.First is target group,our target group are people who already change their lifestyle, moving from urban to rural.We believe that those people can make bigger change in local community as example of sustainable practice and living than foreign lecturers.Second thing that makes our product different is question of comfort in use and hygiene. Best sanitary material is porcelain,Marcel fit in any toilet model and you handle safe waste in 12 months
Team

Founding Story

Marcel was created from my own need. I didn't want to use plastic urine separator or make one of thousand uncomfortable models of compost toilets. As graduated sculpture artist on faculty we were learned that everything you imagine is possible to make by yourself. So, this product came naturally. I was experimenting in shape and exploring materials and at the end me and my colleague came to the best solution which is universal model that can fit in any compost toilet which need urine separator. Also, we came to conclusion that porcelain is most hygiene material for that purpose and gives you same comfort as classical porcelain toilet bin. Personally I am very satisfied with quality of our product and our customers improve that.

Team

Our team for now count 3 members. Smilja Ignjatovic, founder, director of NGO Zemljobrod Srbija and graduated MA of arts. Bojan Jovanovic, coordinator of NGO Zemljobrod Srbija, also graduated in arts. Biljana Ignjatovic, secretary and budget director. We all work on voluntary base. In future if this project grow we plan to hire full-time qualified artist or material technitian, and part-time chemist for developing bacteria compost starter.
About You
About You
First Name

Smilja

Last Name

Ignjatovic

About Your Project
Organization Name
How long has your organization been operating?

Project
Organization Country

, Belgrade

Country where this project is creating social impact

, Gornji Milanovac

What awards or honors has the project received?
Funding: How is your project financial supported?

Friends and family.

Supplemental
Sector

Health and Hygiene, Water Use, Waste and Packaging.

Audience: Who have you identified as your customer/recipient groups and do these groups value your solution for different reasons? How do you engage different customer/recipient groups to deliver your solution?

Our customers are mainly groups of people who moved in rural areas, people doing sustainable agriculture and environmental conscientious people. This solution is not the new invention but it is made to be universal and to fit in any model of dry toilet which is crucial for customers. Also people value a high hygiene natural material which is made of and the low price. Education in sustainability helped but recommendations of satisfy users made this product to grow and to be heard of.

Scaling the solution: How would the prize money and publicity help you to achieve your objectives over the next two years?

First of all, part of the money will be used for upgrading production of our product. Providing kiln for ceramics will reduce our existing production expenses on third(we will reduce transport and renting kiln service expenses to zero). This will also accelerate making process.
Part of the money will be used in organizing lectures and educational workshops in rural areas about importance of reducing water and ground pollution and fresh water consumption with composting toilets. Also, part of the money will be used for certain number of separators which will be given for free to the people from poor and undeveloped ares that want to make change in their main habit.
Publicity we need and it will definitely help us to spread internationally

Experience: Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered

As high school student, with group of colleagues, I got Norwegian grant for small business innovation for student enterprises program. We pass trough training, trade and micro-credit program. We had task to, in a year, make the same profit from our enterprise as we got from micro-credit. We succeeded to double profit.
As certified permaculture designer I often hold lectures in environmental conservation, green designs and natural building.

Are you are eligible to attend the Accelerator event in Cambridge and subsequent events in London, UK in January, 2015?

yes

Will you require a visa to enter the UK?

yes

Are you are a current Unilever employee?