eco eco interview with Jojo Linder ceo and founder of Kompotoi
Keywords: Circular concepts, waste reduction, sanitation
Philip: Hi Jojo, thanks for taking the time to chat to us today. To begin, how does your typical day look? Jojo: I don't really have a typical day! Unfortunately I'm in the office a lot, working on inquiries, advising and looking where a Kompotoi is still missing.
Philip: If you could explain a bit about Kompotoi’s approach, especially the circular factor, why is it promising and feasible?
Jojo: The current system is not circular at all, we wash away the best nutrients with 6-9 L clean drinking water. Exactly these nutrients = nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium are used in agriculture as fertilizers.
Philip: Why did you start this project?
Jojo: The conventional plastic chemical toilets are quite unpopular. I was confronted with composting toilet systems in the development aid. There I saw that we can really make an improvement of the soils with the compost from toilets. That gave me the idea: Beautiful and ecological mobile toilets.
Philip: Can you outline the market size in Switzerland? I would find it interesting to know roughly how many disposable toilettes are rented annually.
Jojo: In the Swiss market there are around 22,000 mobile toilets. The market volume is about 45million. approx. 80% of the turnover is achieved with rentals on construction sites.
Philip: How many can you outline the environmental benefits compared to traditional rentable toilet.
Jojo: Unfortunately, we cannot really verify this point. We think the biggest impact is surely the replacement of the artificially produced fertilizer. The fertilizer currently being used in agriculture is either extremely energy consuming to produce or comes from very far away. We also have a positive impact in terms of water. With our system the "pollution" does not end up in the water, so the water does not have to be cleaned. Last but not least we capture Co2 sustainably in the compost.
Philip: Is your concept scalable? or is it still too early for this?
Jojo: It's scalable. This point is important, only if we are much bigger can we get close to the prices of the traditional toilet rental companies.
Philip: Where are you now and what are the key milestones you have for the next 5-10 years? How do you measure what you have achieved thus far at Kompotoi?
Jojo: A next milestone for us would certainly be the planning and implementation of a compost toilet system in an apartment building. Another big step would be that the compost or the urine fertilizer really gets a big demand. This way we could have the biggest impact.
Philip: Is there any collaboration between cities and Kompotoi?
Jojo: Yes, we have a partnership with different communities and cities and hope that many more will come. In 2019, the city of Zurich alone had around 9 Kompotoi's in use and conducted a user survey. Of about 200 responses, 198 were positive.
Philip: We try to motivate others to combine sustainability and business. Do you have any tips for getting started? For fundraising or other suggestions that helped you guys in the early days. What advice would you give to people who would like to follow a similar path?
Jojo: For us it was very helpful that we first started with a test without thinking much about further steps. We built a toilet and tested it at an event. People thought it was cool. And we noticed immediately that there is still a lot of work that needs to be done. Besides, there will always be people who don't believe in your idea, even though it may work.
Philip: What motivated your decision to make a private company and not a non-profit, do you feel you can make more impact like this?
Jojo: We started as a non-profit association. Since our main business is renting and selling, we founded a company at the first scaling possibility. The association still exists, it has the focus on environmental education and development cooperation, the companies focus is on renting and selling.
Philip: To end the interview we would like to give you a chance to explain why people should not hesitate to try Kompotoi
Jojo: Because the experience will certainly be positive.