UCLoo Festival will run for 2 weeks with a working ecological toilet, an exhibition of prototype toilets, a make-a-thon and other events. UCLoo Festival will build on UCL’s pioneering efforts to advance sanitation technologies with a new emphasis on sustainability and urban waste management.
UCLoo Festival puts sanitation on the green agenda in the developed world. Dry sanitation and composting toilets are seen to be viable options only for the developing world and rural contexts. The Festival will show that they are beneficial in the developed world and urban settings too.
London needs new strategies to cope with climate change and drought. For 150 years, we have relied on water based sanitation to deal with waste. Every person in the UK flushes 50 litres of drinking water down the toilet every day. As water shortages and drought become more common, it is time to rethink this system. What are the alternatives? This is the question that UCLoo Festival will highlight.
What we'll deliver:
Why it's a great idea:
We need to go public about toilets. More than 2.6 billion people in developing countries do not have access to a safe toilet, and in the developed world toilets use water - one of our most precious resources - to wash human waste away. The flushing toilet and water based sanitation systems that we take for granted in cities like London are unlikely to be replicated in the rapidly urbanising cities of the global south.
The world needs a new toilet.
UCLoo Festival is an exciting series of hands-on activities and events based on research relating to the challenge of redesigning the toilet for the 21st century. If England was the centre of the nineteenth-century water based sanitary revolution, then it should also be part of the new revolution for ecological sanitation in the twenty-first century.
Steps to get it done:
Do you know your shit?
King Louis XIV of France did not shy away from having conversations with visitors while "conducting his business" on the toilet.
In medieval Spain, urine was used to clean the teeth; it was believed to whiten enamel and increase dental health.
In seventeenth century Britain, dung was worn in a bag around the neck to ward off illness.
In Shanghai in the 1920s, the nightsoil trade was so lucrative, it was controlled by gangsters.
In the 1950s, it was estimated that 90% of human waste in China was used as fertilizer.
55 % of the average poo is made up of bacteria – that’s 66 g every day per person!
In London alone, more than 400 million litres of drinking water are flushed down the toilet every day!
About the space
The North Observatory and North Lodge
London Borough of Camden
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