rianne makkink / studio makkink & bey

‘A different wheelie bin has been added almost annually in the last couple of years, adding a compost-bin-toilet will be fine,’ says Rianne Makkink, one of the designers that invented this concept. The design will be on show in the exhibition ‘Everything you’ve always wanted to know about toilets, but were afraid to ask’ at Cube Design Museum in Kerkrade. Makkink gives a lecture during Designday on the compost-bin-toilet and the separation of our excrement. ‘A lot needs to change for it to find a wider application in our lives, mostly in the mentality of people’.

Rianne Makkink graduated the Technical University of Delft in 1990 in the direction of Architecture. She founded Studio Makkink & Bey in 2002 with designer Jurgen Bey. They design products, furniture, interior designs and designs for public space. They also own a former farm at the Noordoostpolder, which acts as growing garden for all sorts of new applications. Coming from a form, Rianne has been astonished for years that we flush away our own excrement with clean and valuable water in the sewer. And subsequently this water needs to be cleaned, costing a lot of energy. ‘We are talking about almost 600 million litres of water each year in the Netherlands alone. No so long ago we had outside toilets and we did catch our excrement back then. We did this because fertilizer was costly. We have a so-called nonolet at our farm for ten years now. It is an ordinary toilet, but the faeces are being caught in a plastic bag and it is separated from the urine. The combination of faeces and urine produces ammonia. This also goes for animals. This is where we made a big mistake. We had been working with a biological farmer on this to separate the two. Of course, human fertilizer needs to be manipulated before you can use it, just like the fertilizer of animals.’

The compost-bin-toilet is a new application of the nonolet. The compost-bin-toilet is on view starting 19 May 2017 in the exhibition ‘Everything you’ve always wanted to know about toilets, but were afraid to ask’ at Cube Design Museum in Kerkrade.

Makkink realises that a lot needs to change for this design to find a wider application, mostly in the mentality of people. ‘We are raised with the idea that our own excrement is disgusting and unhygienic, but it is not that bad. Our urine is actually very clean, it creates phosphates which will need desperately in the near future. Phosphates will become valuable, like water.’ Makkink wonders if this concept will succeed in the Netherlands. Collaboration with the government and businesses is needed badly for further development of this design.

‘Separating our own excrement is the next step into a sustainable world’