Past Events | DT 2003 | DT 2006 | DT 2009 | Dry Toilet Award      



The general concern for the state of the world's waters, and the high death rate caused by inadequate disposal of human excreta gave the idea of organising a dry toilet conference.

The objectives of the conference were:
- To present dry toilet as an equal option to water closet
- To promote the use of human excreta as fertiliser
- To introduce modern dry toilet technology and processes
- To present alternative solutions
- To widen the understanding of the cultural aspects of sanitation
- To present dry toilet as a method of protecting both ground and surface waters

Read here the Final Report of Dry Toilet 2003.

The DT2003 Conference made it evident that a broader approach is needed for dry sanitation. The term "DT-Technology" was introduced to describe the multiple fields that proper dry sanitation includes.

More information about the conference and exhibition can be found from the links listed below.

Key-Note Speakers

Oral Presentations

Poster Presentations

Press Release 5/2003

Press Release 21/8/2003

Dry Toilet 2003 Exhibition

Organising Committee

Scientific Committee

Practical Arrangements



Kaarin Taipale, Finland: "What is the colour of sustainable development"

Kaarin Taipale from Helsinki, Finland, is an architect educated in the Swiss Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH-Z). She also holds a Master's degree in Historic Preservation from Columbia University, New York. Taipale has worked as a practicing architect, as Editor-in-Chief of the Finnish Architectural Review, and as Head of the Building Department of the City of Helsinki. At present she is on leave of absence, researching the role of local government in a globalizing world. She was elected Chairperson of The International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) in 2000. ICLEI is a world organisation of local governments implementing sustainable development.


Jan-Olof Drangert, Sweden: "A history of mental views on the re-use of human-rerived nutrients"

Jan-Olof Drangert is a senior researcher, Dept of Water and Environmental Studies at Linköping University, Sweden. He has been the team leader for large research projects in Sweden and Kenya. After a period of research work on rural water and sanitation, the last ten years has provided experience of interdisciplinary research and consultancy work with urban water and sanitation issues in developing and developed countries. He has a special interest in the historical evolution of sanitation in urban areas. He is the team leader for international training activities in ecological sanitation.


New national and international requirements are in force to make sanitation systems more environmentally sustainable. Modern dry toilets can play a role in this development, and since they build on an old concept of recirculation, we can benefit from knowing more of earlier dry sanitation systems. What discussions were carried out during various periods of toilet technology and societal conditions? What role did reuse of nutrients play? How did authorities and residents react to technical solutions? These are some of the questions that will be addressed under the heading "A History of Mental Views on the Reuse of Human-Derived Nutrients". The evolution of mental views is discussed against the background of factual infrastructure in place during different periods. The technology and management of sanitation systems allow and facilitate to varying degree reuse of nutrients from disposed excreta. Mental views are not only reflections of the physical environment, however, but norms and opinions also impact on how a better system should be organised. The last part of the paper will focus on views among residents to eating food produced with the help of human-derived fertilisers.


Ron Sawyer, Mexico: "Sanitation as if it really mattered: Getting toilets out of the (water) closet and into the loop"

Ron Sawyer has more than twenty years experience providing participatory training and technical support to development programs in Latin America, Africa and Asia. During the 1980s he was the senior training consultant to the UNDP/PROWWESS project for promoting the role of women in water and environmental sanitation services. From 1990 to 1994, as Regional Participatory Development & Training Specialist for the World Bank Water and Sanitation Program in Nairobi, he helped to integrate participatory methods into sector programs in eastern and western Africa. In collaboration with WHO, UNICEF and the International Training Network, he spearheaded the Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Transformation initiative -- PHAST. Since the mid-1990’s he has been a key collaborator in the Swedish Sida supported EcoSanRes program, concerned with investigating and promoting alternative ecological dry sanitation systems. Ron is presently:

  • Director of the international consulting group SARAR Transformación SC, based in Tepoztlán, Mexico - which is implementing the TepozEco urban ecosan pilot program with support from EcoSanRes/Sida
  • Managing a Regional Ecological Sanitation Promotion Project, in collaboration with the Senior Water Policy Adviser of UNDP/BDP/ESDG (Bureau of Development Policy / Sustainable Environment and Energy Program- New York) and
  • Founding member of the Ecological Sanitation Network - RedSeco (Red de Saneamiento Ecológico - Mexico).


Martin Oldenburg, Germany: "Toilets for the re-use of natural resources - Examples and Applications"

Martin Oldenburg is Managing Director and co-owner of the consultancy company OtterWasser in Germany. After studying engineering with the main focus on water management he worked for five years at the Technical University Hamburg-Harburg. From here he changed to the private consultancy company OtterWasser. Here he is involved in the conceptual planning and the design of various ecological sanitation projects in developed and developing countries for more than 7 years.


Toilet systems, which are differing from the traditional flushing toilet, are the prerequisite for new sanitation systems aiming on the water saving and the utilization of nutrients as anthropogenic fertilizer. The toilets used can either be dry toilets, low flush-toilet systems or separation toilets. Starting with the view on these toilets, examples for the implementation of these toilets will be given and explained in detail on different levels. The separation of the different flows and their appropriate treatment makes a nutrient utilization possible. Economic calculations, which are shown for a project, are necessary for a successful implementation and the operation of new sanitation concepts.

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Mr Harri Mattila, Häme Polytechnic, Finland: "Dry toilet - a solution to meet new requirements for on-site sanitation in Finland."

Dr Marielle Snel, IRC, The Netherlands: "Women, well being, work, waste and sanitation (4WS)."

Ms Susanne Balslev Nielsen, Assistant professor, Technical University of Denmark, Denmark: "Changing flows of human nutrient: Potentials and barriers of human nutrient recycling in a Danish context."

Ms Sanna-Leena Rautanen, Tampere University of Technology, Finland: "Exploring toilet culture where there are no toilets."

Mr Naoyuki Funamizu, Hokkaido University, Japan: "Temperature effect on pathogens decline in the bio-toilet system."

Dr Ezekiel Nyangeri Nyanchaga, Senior lecturer, University of Nairobi, Kenya: "Performance of EcoSanitary toilets in Kenya."

Er. Megha Raj Regmi, Nepal: "Technical development of dry toilets."

Dr Judith Thornton, Centre for Alternative Technology, United Kingdom: "Twenty-seven years of in-situ compost toilet research in the UK."

Mr Sat Damodaran, Executive director of Gramlaya, India: "Shifting gears in sanitation."

Mr Kuo-Ti Chen, Centre for environmental, safety and health technology, Taiwan: "Dry toilet design for national park in Taiwan."

Ms Elke Müllegger, University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria: "Reuse. Reduce.Recycle."

Ms Susanne Boom, IRC, The Netherlands: "Urine diversion toilets in the Philippines: the case of Tingloy."

Prof D.Mashauri, University of Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania: "Performance of ecological sanitation toilets in Tanzania."

Dr Manoj Nadkarni, India: "Fecal sludge use in high density urban environments."

Dipl.Ing. Wolgang Berger, Germany: "Results in the use and practise of composting toilets in multi-story houses in Bielefeld and Rostock."

Ir. Joop van Bergen, The Netherlands: "Geographical environmental management. The toilet as an ecological and economical key item in sustainable development."

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Mr James Mwami, Busoga Trust, Uganda: "San Plat system - lowest cost environmental management."

Dr Manoj Nadkarni, India: "Ecoturism as a demand driver for dry toilets."

Mr Heinz-Peter Mang, GTZ, Germany: "Ecosan - Introduction of closed-loop approaches in wastewater management and sanitation - a supra-regional GTZ- project."

Dr Kolawole Raheem, University of Jyväskylä, Finland/Nigeria: "Toilet culture in West African countries."

Mr Innocent Shoshore, Mvuramanzi trust, Zimbabwe: "Situational analysis on acceptance of dry toilets in a new community- Case study from Zimbabwe."

Mr Larry Warnberg, USA: "Reducing economic and regulatory barriers to composting toilets in the USA."

Dr Christine van Wijk, IRC, The Netherlands: "Raising and meeting demands for on-site toilets."

Mr Akpan Anthony Johnson, President of Pan African Vision for the Environment, Nigeria: "Ecological sanitation: Towards a recycling society in the Lake Chad basin - Closing the loop to food security."

Ms Rosemary Enie, Executive Director of Cameroon Vision Trust, Cameroon: "Promoting the re-use of human excreta as fertiliser through the ecosan school project in Cameroon."

Ms Maj-Britt Quitzau, National Environmental Reserch Institute of Denmark, Denmark: "Urine, faeces and culture."

Mr Mashood Ahmed Siddiqui, Environmental Protection Agency, Pakistan: "Redefining sanitation."

Dr L.J.Aherwadkar, SACRED, India: "SACRED's toilet."

Ms Jing Guo & Ms Yanxin Huang, Tianjin University, China Academy of Railway Sciences, The People's Republic of China: "Introduction of railway toilet of China."

Dr Amram Pruginin, ECONET Ltd, Israel: "Green toilets - The Israel experience & lessons."

Prof Minoru Terazawa, Hokkaido University, Japan: "Bio-toilet systems using sawdust as an artificial soil matrix in Japan."

Mr Miguel A. lopez Zavala, Hokkaido University, Japan: "Aerobic biodegration of feces in the bio-toilet system."

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"Concrete Actions, Concrete Results, Concrete Solutions"

The international target of halving the world population without access to clean water by the year 2015 cannot be achieved without consideration to the sanitation issue. Properly organised and maintained sanitation facilities provide not only a cleaner environment, but also keep the water supplies free of the polluting human excreta factor. Ecological sanitation becomes the key-word to areas with water shortages or without water-borne sewerage systems.

There has been many meetings, the latest the 3rd World Water Forum in Kyoto, Japan in March 2003, with fine discussions on the issues of clean water and sanitation. The DRY TOILET 2003 conference wishes to provide a forum, where concrete actions, concrete results and concrete solutions to the world's sanitation problem can be evaluated and learned from. With concrete actions we mean introducing local projects taken towards sanitation management, with results experiences on improved sanitation conditions and the benefits for the communities. Finally with concrete solutions we wish to present a wide variety of different types of dry toilets and technical issues needed for proper maintenance of both the excreta and the toilet building. One of the main themes is the cultural barrier to toilet discussions. In some cultures human excreta is such a taboo subject, that it is absolutely not talked about. How to overcome this taboo and how to make people understand the benefits of proper sanitation are questions this conference hopes to answer.

A wide variety of speakers from all over the world have been chosen to present their experiences and research results. Some of the actions and solutions are more fitted for the developed countries, where ecological sanitation is a viable option especially to sparsely populated areas as well as for the many nature parks. In Finland the main users of dry toilet systems are summer cottage inhabitants, with 400 000 cottages and most of them by the lakes and far apart no centralised sewerage system is possible. In order for a cottage to build a water closet expensive on-site waste treatment equipment must be purchased. The modern day need for luxury and comfort also at the cottage has given a boost to the technical development of dry toilets. Today there are many models on the market, which can be fitted indoors without the fear of smell and flies.

Tampere, a beautiful city located between two lakes, is a perfect venue for the DRY TOILET 2003 conference. Water has always been an important factor for the city inhabitants and presently the higher educational facilities carry out extensive research on water and sanitation related subjects.

We wish you warmly welcome to participate in this conference and to visit our city in August 2003!

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The word dry toilet brings to the mind of most Finns the privy, a structure standing alone at the far end of the backyard or built as a lean-to against the wall of a cowshed. The privy brings back diverse feelings and memories (mostly, however, smiles, pleasant memories and endless jokes). In Finnish literature the men visit the privy for various purposes.

The aim of this event is to advance the cause of dry sanitation or eco-sanitation throughout the world. Dry sanitation is not only hindered by unsophisticated technology, but also by cultural obstacles, maybe even fears. During the conference information aimed at removing such obstacles will be collected, compiled and exchanged. It is hoped that the development of technologies and solutions will accelerate along with the new ideas provided by lectures and discussions.

Millions of people die worldwide annually due to diseases spread by impure water. Waters become polluted and eutrophic as human faeces end up in watercourses due to deficient treatment of wastes. Proper and continuous sanitation is required to effect a change. The solution does not have to be based on water closets. A centralised network also carries away nutrients from areas where they are needed for food production and to ensure permanent vegetation. In such cases dry sanitation is the best solution.

This conference is being organised by two citizens' organisations, Kuivakäymäläseura Huussi ry and Ekoinfo ry, both of which are small, young and lacking in means. Support for organising the event itself has been received from many parties including the Finnish Foreign Ministry and Pirkanmaa Regional Environment Centre. We thank all of them. Without their assistance the conference could never have been organised. The various forms of help provided by Tampere University of Technology and Tampere Polytechnic have also been indispensable.

During the conference lectures will be given on the development of dry toilets, existing technology and its deficiencies, waste treatment and recycling of nutrients (and above all on different experiences from dry sanitation globally). The poster exhibition covers similar topics. There will be a total of 20 lectures and nearly 30 poster presentations. Moreover, attendees will be able to acquaint themselves with the City of Tampere, Environment Information Centre Moreenia, a new technology exhibition, the Kangasala Eco-village as well as the composting field of Tarastenjärvi Waste Management Site.

The total number of attendees is over 160 from about 30 countries, meaning that our conference is certainly one of the most international environmental events ever held in Finland. Yet, the topic is not new worldwide. People have often come together to discuss eco-sanitation. It is only that Finland has not been actively involved.

Raini Kiukas, Chairperson, Organising committee

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Following companies were present in Dry Toilet 2003 exhibition.  

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Organising committee of the conference :

  • Mrs Raini Kiukas, Global Sanitet Club of Finland
  • Mr Jukka Lindroos, Global Sanitet Club of Finland
  • Mr Juha Pulkkila, Global Sanitet Club of Finland
  • Mr Raimo Flink, Ecological Information Association
  • Mr Matti Lehtomäki, Ecological Information Association
  • Mr Antero Luonsi, Pirkanmaa Regional Environment Centre
  • Dr Tapio Katko, Tampere University of Technology
  • Mr Harri Mattila, Häme Polytechnic
  • Mrs Anja Hakkarainen, TAVI Congress Bureau (Practical Arrangements)
  • Secretary Ms Tittiina Repka

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Scientific Committee of the Conference :

  • Prof. Tuula Tuhkanen, Tampere University of Technology
  • Prof. Yrjö Haila, University of Tampere
  • Prof. Enn Loigu, Tallinn Technical University
  • Dr. Tapio Katko, Tampere University of Technology
  • Principal Lecturer Marjukka Dyer, Tampere Polytechnic
  • Senior Consultant Mr Juhani Efraimsson, Plancenter Ltd
  • Mr Kalle Löövi, International Red Cross, Switzerland
  • Dr Ralf Otterpohl, Hamburg-Harburg Technical University, Germany
  • Dr Jan-Olof Drangert, University of Linköping, Sweden
  • Secretary: Mr Harri Mattila, Häme Polytechnic

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Practictical arrangements were done by

TAVI Congress Bureau
Papinkatu 21
33200 Tampere, Finland
Tel: +358 3 233 0400
Fax: +358 3 233 0444
E-mail: tavi@tavicon.fi

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