case study: Nature Commode

Revolutionizing a stagnant industry and creation of an innovative tool for public education

  • launched startup company in stagnant industry
  • research/analysis
  • client development
  • competitive research/market insight
  • product design/fabrication
  • marketing/brand development

I launched the first commercial portable compost toilet company in the United States.  The intent was to use uniquely designed chemical free toilets as educational tools, at events, in order to expose the greatest number of people to ecological sanitation. To date the company has introduced over 200,000 people to ecological sanitation.

This was my first foray into entrepreneurship but I drew from my extensive background in creative practice and sustainability. Prior to launch, I conducted extensive research into the portable sanitation industry, ecological sanitation, nutrient cycling, organic fertilizer industry and potential for use of human derived fertilizers. I analyzed the market potential, competition, and profit potential.

Overcoming Regulatory Hurdles
With the long term intent of the company being to treat the collected effluent and create a commercial end product, I had to secure permits with multiple regulatory bodies: local, regional and statewide. The initial opposition strengthened my abilities to articulate uncomfortable topics to regulatory agents and strategize innovative approaches to gain their support.

Toilet as Educational Tool
The toilets have a dual function as an info kiosk, educating audiences through engaging information graphics on the exterior. In addition to creating all marketing materials and the website, I also designed the door banners that convey information about nutrient cycling and the benefits it brings. These banners are part of our overall branding effort to establish Nature Commode as a unique offering. 

Female Urinal Research
A commitment of Nature Commode is to continually innovate on sanitation solutions. Our latest pursuit is the development of a female urinal for events.  As that there are few examples to reference, this design challenge presents an opportunity to rethink what is possible, what would compel the greatest participation with this new experience. In-depth interviews and surveys have helped inform the initial 3d modeling design concepts.  Next steps will involve creating prototypes to field test.