top of page
Composting toilet solution for Lake Atitlan Guatemala



We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.

Albert Einstein

A New Toilet Technology


Click here to skip to the video.

The Plan


  1. Construct and test an advanced waterless toilet technology having the potential to:

    • Decrease introduction of pathogens and nutrients into Lake Atitlán;

    • Reduce demand for fresh water;

    • Reduce load on existing wastewater treatment plants (not designed to treat blackwater or pathogens);

    • Create high-quality pathogen-free fertilizer;

    • Be adopted by everyone in the watershed.

  2. Promote this technology to be more desirable than flush toilets by:

    • Piloting it in the homes and institutions of role models of modern living;

    • Using social media and other methods of outreach​.

  3. Create and accompany an indigenous-owned and -run business to manufacture, install, promote and sell the toilets.

  4. Raise funds for 100% adoption.

The beneficiaries are all Lake Atitlan watershed residents, most importantly indigenous people living in poverty who use lake water for drinking, bathing, etc. This project will provide relief from intestinal disease, which results in chronic diarrhea, malnutrition, stunted physical and cognitive development, and lost work days.

By having attractive high-tech waterless toilets being used by expats and opinion leaders in the communities around the lake, our plan is that others, who may now wish for a flush toilet (as a sign of pride in their own economic success and hygiene), will choose the new toilet technology instead. In addition, it is our plan that the many people with existing installed flush toilets (many of which are not fully used due to water shortages and failed mechanisms) will choose to upgrade to the new toilets. One of the unique features of the new design is that it will fit over an existing flush toilet, eliminating the need for extra space or for removal of the existing toilet.


The new toilets will be heavily discounted for those who cannot afford the full price. Future fundraising initiatives will be created in order to allow every household in the lake watershed to have access to the new waterless toilets. The project will be promoted as a solution to: (1) public health issues, (2) malnutrition due to digestive disorders, (3) lake environmental issues, and (4) the resulting decline in the tourism economy.


This is a green economic growth initiative for the region. Many resorts around the lake market themselves as ecotourism destinations. People already come to Lake Atitlán to experience green living. Now they will be able to experience the newest waterless toilets at these resorts. In the future, they will also be able to visit the local worker cooperative where the toilets are made. People around the lake have already begun to discuss a green certification program for businesses. These toilets could be part of that certification.


To be successful, a new technology is required with an entirely new marketing and distribution approach:


  • Different Technology: We use: (1) superhydrophobic nanotechnology for surfaces that make anything on them slide away (thus assuring that the surfaces never get dirty), (2) active aeration and mixing to promote fast, low-odor, disinfecting aerobic bacterial breakdown of waste materials, (3) active ventilation to assure that no odor escapes, and (4) an innovative waste transport system to assure that the users cannot see or smell the waste from previous users, or themselves if they so wish.


  • Different User Experience: The user will use this beautiful luxurious toilet in the comfort of her or his own bathroom. It will be easy for anyone to use. It will require very little maintenance and be extremely easy to clean.


  • Different Marketing Strategy: Early adopters will be role models of luxurious living. These will include hotels, resorts, restaurants, and the wealthy foreigners and Guatemalans whose houses and properties are cleaned and maintained by indigenous workers. The “waterless toilet” will be the new best thing that everybody wants. Switching to a “waterless toilet” will be marketed as analogous to switching to a smartphone. It will be the iPhone of toilets. Once the virtues of this new technology are demonstrated, funding will be sought to make it available to all residents regardless of ability to pay.


  • Different Business Model: This will eventually be a self-sustaining indigenous worker cooperative with long-term accompaniment. It will include indigenous worker-owners who build, install, sell, and demonstrate the new improved toilets while speaking the local Mayan languages. It will be a product that is not just for the people, but also by the people. In many ways, it will be similar to the Ecofiltro project (

The video below describes the details of the new toilet design:


To learn more, please proceed to the

bottom of page