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SOIL Transforms Waste Into Organic Compost

SOIL uses an innovative sanitation method to provide compost that is sold or used in gardens. (Jennifer Cowley)

Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods (SOIL) is a non-profit organization “dedicated to protecting soil resources, empowering communities and transforming wastes into resources in Haiti.” Co-founded in 2006 by Dr. Sasha Kramer and Baudeler Magloire, SOIL accomplishes this by utilizing EcoSan or Ecological Sanitation, a “low cost approach where human wastes are collected, composted, and recycled for use in agriculture and reforestation.”

SOIL is located in Port-au-Prince and Cap-Haitien with additional composting sites throughout the country. Waste is gathered from EcoSan toilets and then composted for 6 months. The toilets were developed in 2006, and all models are made from locally sourced materials. Additionally, they are cost effective. Permanent two-room toilets are US $3,500, communal toilets are US $150 and can be shared by up to five families and individual household toilets are a little over US $60.

The final composted product is sold or used in SOIL’s gardens. Eventually, SOIL hopes to turn the process over to native Haitians and to continue to support them in a consultant relationship. In response to concerning safety, SOIL cites the World Health Organization’s standards that “fecal pathogens are killed one week at a sustained temperature of 122 degrees Fahrenheit.” SOIL advocates for compost methods over chemical fertilizers due to the increased long-term health of soil using compost and the cost benefits and sustainability of the EcoSan technique.

SOIL states on their website that they “believe[s] that the path to sustainability is through transformation, of both marginalized people and discarded materials, turning disempowerment and pollution into participatory production.”

This is the first article in a series about EcoSan’s work.

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