Updated on January 15, 2024


Created on August 20, 2021

EcoSan/GroSan toilets

Upcoming Update

The EcoSan and GroSan toilets are composting toilets designed to convert waste into a soil conditioning compost and fertilizer.

Tested By
  • Sanitation First India
Content Partners


Product Description

The EcoSan and GroSan toilets are urine diverting dry toilets (UDDTs) and container based sanitation (CBS) systems with the additional capability of composting to convert waste into a soil conditioning compost and fertilizer. To avoid contaminating the environment, the toilets are built above ground with sealable containers, making them suitable for locations with high water tables or for disaster relief. The implementation of the toilets varies depending on the location and users, adapting for: schools, families, and urban communities.

The EcoSan model is designed to be a permanent twin chamber installation for household use and onsite treatment. The EcoSan blocks are designed for schools and offer separate private facilities for girls.

The GroSan model is designed to be semipermanent and moveable for urban community settings, with offsite treatment.

Both toilets rely on decomposition and dehydration to convert waste into a soil conditioning compost and fertilizer. The fertilizer products can then be sold to make a profit.

The fixed UDDT toilet model costs 700 USD (with no maintenance required), and the mobile unit costs 600 USD with an additional monthly maintenance cost of ~ 2 USD per family. Interview with representative in 2021

Target SDGs

SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation

Market Suggested Retail Price


Target Users (Target Impact Group)

Household, Community, Public Sector Agencies

Distributors / Implementing Organizations

Sanitation First and Wherever The Need India Services (WTNIS)

Manufacturing/Building Method

This product is produced by Sanitation First, but anybody can replicate the open-source design and Sanitation First offers assistance and training. Interview with representative in 2021

Intellectural Property Type


User Provision Model

Sanitation First does not sell the product directly, but rather assists in raising money and building units in the areas that they work in. Interview with representative in 2021

Distributions to Date Status

As of 2021, ~5,000 toilets have been distributed.

Toilet type

Container-based service

Evacuation method


Storage conditions

Container storage

Capacity (L)

90 L containers

Time until emptying


Design Specifications

The EcoSan toilets are built above ground with collection containers underneath. The toilets do not require water or pipelines. All toilets are Urine Diverting Dry Toilets (UDDTs), equipped with ceramic squat plates that assist in separating urine and feces. The toilets are surrounded by aluminum composite panels. The feces is collected in a chamber underneath the toilet where dry ash, soil, or sawdust (located in a bucket next to the toilet) is added to speed up the dehydration process. Urine and wash water are collected in separate containers. The GroSan toilets are used in urban settings and are container-based sanitation (CBS) systems where the waste is collected in sealable containers. There are four containers positioned on rollers underneath the toilet - where only one is actively filled at a time and then rotated out. Containers are typically filled within a week and then rotated out to start the decomposition process so that by the third week the first container can be emptied. After 28 days, the waste is collected by operators and transported to an offsite compound where the waste is decomposed for an additional 90 days (sanitation phase). Afterwards, an additional 60 day stabilisation phase involving aerobic thermophilic composting, manual mixing, and the addition of additives (including sugarcane press mud and animal manure). The final product is commercial grade (pathogen free) compost ready for sale and agricultural application. When used in rural settings, the EcoSan toilets collect urine in a separate container, which can be used immediately as liquid fertilizer. Feces is decomposed on site through dehydration and the end product can be used as a soil conditioning fertilizer. Sanitation First implants a four-stage Inner City Sanitation model using GroSan toilets: Stage 1: Education and Motivation. Inform communities about proper hygiene, toilet usage, and associated benefits. Stage 2: GroSan Toilets. The construction and installation of the toilets. Stage 3: Collect and Service. A cleaning and collection service visits the toilets regularly. Stage 4: Compost and Sale. The waste is processed offsite and turned into an agricultural grade compost to be sold. The final composting product is made up of the collected waste (40%) and added organic materials (60%).

Product Schematics

Technical Support

Provided by the manufacturer.

Replacement Components



30 years

Manufacturer Specified Performance Parameters

By improving access to sanitation services, Sanitation First hopes to improve community health, increase educational and job opportunities, reduce poverty and disease, increase safety for women and girls, and restore users' dignity. From an environmental perspective, the toilets will reduce waste pollution and water use and transform waste into compost. Sanitation First also emphasizes education regarding hygiene and sanitation.

Vetted Performance Status

To date, Sanitation First has built 5,001 toilets serving 55,867 people daily, and produced 13,530 tons of compost. The GroSan toilet was evaluated and compared alongside several other CBS services. The EcoSan and GroSan toilets have been implemented in Cuddalore and Puducherry, India. The EcoSan block model has been implemented in over 100 schools. 150 GroSan toilets were field-tested in two locations. Starting in 2009, 40 toilets were installed in Cuddalore. In 2014, 60 toilets were installed throughout Puducherry and in 2018 an additional 50 toilets were added.


Possible hazards include unsanitary latrine emptying or structural failure.

Complementary Technical Systems

A cleaning and collection service is provided by Sanitation First to keep the toilets in usable conditions.

Academic Research and References

Mackinnon, E., 2019, Exposure Risk Management from Faecal Pathogens for Workers in Container Based Sanitation Systems, PhD Dissertation, University College London.

Padmapriya, T.S., 2019, Grosan Toilets Sustainable sanitation solution with full resource recovery.

General information about ecological sanitation and composting toilets:

Kramer, S. et al., 2011, The SOIL Guide to Ecological Sanitation, Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods (SOIL).

Morgan, P., 2007, Toilets That Make Compost: Low-cost, sanitary toilets that produce valuable compost for crops in an African context, EcoSanRes Programme Report, pp. 114.

Winblad, U., Simpson-Hebert, M., 2004, Ecological Sanitation – Revised and enlarged edition, Stockholm Environment Institute, Sweden.

Compliance with regulations

The entire process from containment to composting operates under compliance of the WHO Sanitation Safety Plans and the Manual Scavenging Act 2013.

Evaluation methods

This product is evaluated by Sanitation First based on the number of toilets built, number of people and uses, and tons of compost produced.

Other Information

This product placed 3rd in the All India Swachhovation Contest (2018). Additional information about the toilet can be found in this presentation, video, or by contacting the manufacturer.

Comments from the Community

1 Comment

  1. peet931 says:

    Is their any distributors in Mpumalanga? I would like to become a distributor.

Leave a Reply

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