In the 'sanitation value chain,' human waste, with the proper infrastructure, is turned into a valuable commodity. Collecting, storing, and recycling waste into valuable byproducts, such as fertilizer, can create work and renewable resources, the thinking goes.
Statistics point to 2.5 billion people worldwide affected by a lack of access to proper sanitation. But factor in where their waste ends up—dumped into rivers and waterways used for drinking, and leached into soil—and that number reaches closer to 4 billion.
"When it comes to sanitation it's no longer a question of, 'Can you bring someone a good toilet?' If that's the answer we would have already solved it," Auerbach says. "You need to address the entire sanitation value chain to solve the challenge."