back to article High tech toilets receive big prizes from Bill Gates

On Tuesday, Bill Gates devoted much of his day to the toilet. The philanthropist and former Microsoft CEO was on hand at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's all-day Reinvent the Toilet Fair in Seattle to announce the winners of a year-long challenge to come up with new alternatives to the classic flush toilet, which Gates …


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  1. LarsG

    Ridiculous, a good old earth toilet works and costs nothing.

    1. Crap into a container cover with soil

    2. Crap into a container cover with soil

    Repeat steps 1 ans 2 continue until container until full, cover with soil.

    A few months later use soil as fertiliser.

    Cost £0

    1. LarsG

      Oh could also go the reed bed route if water is available, that's how they deal with Elephant crap at the zoo.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Exactly,I have been to the countryside in China, and they have either composting toilets, or toilets where they burn the waste after a time..

      The only places that have bad hygiene are those with really badly educated people, just because your poor and have limited resources, does not mean you need to live unhygienicly!

      1. TRT Silver badge

        I was looking at these a few years ago...

        when I was planning the fit out of my boat.

    3. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

      Don't forget the additional steps...

      3. heavy rainfall causes flooding, overflow of latrine pit, contamination of drinking water supply

      4. Cholera outbreak keeps latrine pit overflowing

      Repeat step 4 until the population dies.

      You also need enough land to dig the pits in. Your average shanty town hovel does not have a large backyard.

      Millions of people are living in desperately overcrowded conditions, and your solution is tried, tested, and failed.

      OTOH, I'm not sure turning toilets into an investment opportunity so the rich can extract more pennies from the poor will have an outstanding effect on the problem.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Don't forget the additional steps...

        Are the places that you claim spread cholera due to flood the same ones who beg for handouts on TV due to droughts?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's what's on the hands

      It's not the crapping that's the problem, it's the hand washing afterwards, that's where problems occur.

      Crap can be contained, crap covered hands cannot, so I think Bill is missing a point here, consentrate on the personal hygiene after the crap takes place.

  2. TRT Silver badge

    Oh no! Microsoft toilets?

    You'll have to wipe your hardware nine times in order to guarantee not to leave any traceable residues.

  3. Bob Vistakin

    The just took over a once fine mobile company in Finland to distribute their excrement

    But it's ok - no-ones buying it.

    1. dogged

      Re: The just took over a once fine mobile company in Finland to distribute their excrement

      Here's Bill, trying to save the world. Not good enough for you, is it Bob?


  4. heyrick Silver badge


    Has BG not heard of a composting toilet? If he wants to fit them out in places like Africa, there are versions that can make use of solar heat to help the process.

    Here's a description of how it works:

    1. Euripides Pants

      Re: Eh?

      Composting toilets are standards-compliant, Bill wants lock-in.

      1. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: Eh?

        What a load of shit!

        Okay, leaving now...

  5. tkioz

    As much as this is ripe for jokes (and boy is it ripe!), it is a very important thing he is doing.

    Doctors and other medical practitioners like to take credit for the improvement in health standards in the first world over the last few centuries, and yes they've done a lot, but the people who should take the lion's share of the credit are the ones we regard with "crap" jobs. The sanitation engineers and sewerage workers have done more to improve the standard of live in the developed world and increase life spans then almost any other profession.

    And no "crap in a pit and fill it in" isn't a good answer, humans have been using their own (and other animal's) waste as fertilizer since the dawn of human civilisation, you'd be hard pressed to convince a 3rd world peasant to throw away something so productive on health grounds.

    A dirty job, but someone has to do it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Crap in containers not a pit, therefore contained and managed, while a pit can flood or worse, you could fall into it.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    i don't know why they had to use artificial stuff.

    They were in Redmond, after all.

  7. LinkOfHyrule
    Paris Hilton

    Perfect man for the job

    If anyone should know about this sort of thing its Bill - he did after all spew out the software equivalent of infected runny shit for years so yes indeed, when I think toilets, I think Bill Gates (and his missus) naturally!

    Paris because her phone number is actually written on many toilet cubical walls throughout the world.

  8. Thorne

    Blue Loo of Death

    Just imagine in India with a dose of Bombay Belly and your toilet suddenly turns blue and stop responding........

  9. Oli 1

    To the first commenter, read the article!

    This is also designed to create employment. Maintenance, tank or fuel emptying etc.

    There's no money to be made by crapping in a pit. And the one thing these countries need is money.

    Money brings, medicine, education and overall progress.

    1. Eddy Ito

      While that is true, I don't see how they will entice poor people to use a pay toilet when it's free on the far side of yonder shrubbery. Obviously they need money but how does a business operate by charging them to use the loo when they have no money to begin with? I readily concede that once the health benefits are realized it changes a lot given that healthy people are generally much more productive than the infirm but my problem is seeing just how they kick start the whole thing.

      As an example, Dean Kamen was trying to use the same method to bring water purifiers and electricity to these very same places for a few years now and he doesn't appear any closer than when he started.

      1. Alex in Tokyo

        "I don't see how they will entice poor people to use a pay toilet when it's free on the far side of yonder shrubbery."

        They won't. If the toilets are able to reclaim 'useful stuff' (biofuel, compost, salts, water, etc.) from the waste then I'd guess the owner would provide the toilets free to the community and make their money by selling the 'useful stuff' to businesses.

        Not sure if that's really a viable business model, but that's just a question of doing the maths.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Oli 1

      Yes someone would make money out of it, just like in some villages in Africa when they put up a standpipe for well water.

      Once it is installed along comes someone claiming to be the maintenance man and starts charging people for its use, at extortionate rates. It should be self sustaining but someone always makes a profit. I have seen it.

      The same for these toilets, subsistence level people cannot afford to spend a penny so a project that costs nothing except for the education is a much better prospect. Ok so no one benefits financially, but they will health wise and good things may come of that.

  10. G R Goslin

    Re i don't know why they had to use artificial stuff.

    I think that the people making the stuff should be very, very careful, otherwise they'l have Apple suing them for using a tray with rounded corners.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    i hope the toilet doesnt have a digital shopping list, because apple has that patent already.

  12. Crazy Operations Guy

    Is that Donald Trump in the picture?

    The guy on the far right side of the photo looks a lot like Trump...

    1. Nuke

      Re: Is that Donald Trump in the picture?

      Or Boris Johnson, Mayor of London

    2. Anonymous Dutch Coward

      Re: Is that Donald Trump in the picture?

      I'd suspect the guy on the right of the picture (Bill's left) is my esteemed Prince, Willem-Alexander of Orange-Nassau... apparently an expert on toilets*)

      *) I'm actually serious here... ok, water management, whatever, but he apparently was going to hold a speech at that get-together, so he probably at least pretends to know what he's talking about...

  13. TRT Silver badge

    Apple already patented...

    The crapp store.

  14. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  15. moonface

    Bill Gates, the master at getting people to log out!

  16. Mike 140

    for the definitive comment -

    Tom Logan, from Hatfield added: “So Bill Gates is recycling shite. Plus ca change…”

  17. Sceptic Tank

    Fake poop? What fake poop?

    So did anybody win the prize for reinventing the challenge?

    Locally all the people from the squatter camps take a dump in the bushes. When the rain comes, said dump washes into the rivers. In years gone by the rivers were often dammed up further downstream at big shopping centers (think Centurion Mall) to create nice water features. Needless to say that the atmosphere becomes a little bit "thick" during the rainy season these days. Hopefully the Bill-o-Bog can sort the root of the problem out. Unfortunately the enviro-crapper will have to be completely unbreakable if it is to be installed in an uncontrolled environment. In my country we don't always grasp the concept looking after amenities that were installed for the benefit of all.

    <<< Wash your hands after you visit the bathroom, please!

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Totally unrealistic

    They haven't tapered the ends! That's a funamental design flaw. Everyone knows they're made tapered so your arse doesn't shut with a bang.

  19. Giddy Kipper
    Paris Hilton

    Toilet Humour

    "Showered with gold".

    Heh. I see what you did there.

  20. The last doughnut

    I hate to tell you this but ...

    Mine are considerably larger than that

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: I hate to tell you this but ...

      Size isn't everything.

      It's what you poo with it.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I hate to be cynical, but I am suspicious of every turkey this particular Scrooge gives out at Christmas. Perhaps he is just trying to clean his soul or something. I hope that's all it is and wish him luck with that.

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