Innovation That Matters

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Fizz don’t flush: tablets that reduce toilet flushing


Th​is​ simple solution ​masks​​ ​urine odour and colour, saving water​, ​carbon dioxide,​ and money

Spotted: Water is a precious commodity, with almost two-thirds of the world’s population experiencing extreme water scarcity at least one month per year. Yet, every day, we flush vast quantities of it down the toilet. In fact, Belfast-based startup Wizso highlights that around one-third of the 1​4​5 litres of water used daily by the typical British person goes to toilet flushing.

Speaking to Springwise, Wizso Director Mark Gilligan highlighted that the water used for flushing is potable. “You’re using over 50 litres of perfect drinking water to flush away one and a half to two litres of urine a day.”

To save water, Wizso therefore hopes to persuade people to flush the toilet less. Its solution is a type of fizzy tablet similar in chemistry to those that have been used for years in applications such as water-dissolved medications – Berocca, for instance. Consisting of an acid and an alkali, the 100 per cent soluble and non-harmful tablets ​mask​​ the smell of urine and change the colour of the toilet water to something​ recognisably clean.​​ This, the startup hopes, will provide an acceptable alternative to flushing when people visit the toilet to urinate only. Flushing less, in turn, leads to significant water​ and financial​ savings.

To refine the product, and assess its potential for driving behavioural change, Wizso decided it made sense to work with the big water companies from early on. Trials with companies such as Northumbrian Water, Southern Water, and Affinity Water, have yielded promising results and led to improvements, such as the removal of unnecessary foil packaging and a refinement to the way that the tablets are dispensed.

Key to the success of Wizso will be whether consumers are willing to make the change – and the signs are very promising. In the Southern Water trial, which involved a cohort of the water company’s staff, the tablets were found to reduce flushing by around 30 per cent, with reductions of closer to 40 per cent in the second half of the trial. The much larger Affinity Water trial, which gathered survey responses from around 800 families who had been given Wizso, also showed a positive response. “No-one who’s seen ​Wizso​ has said ‘you’re mad in the head’ – that’s just not the reaction,” Gilligan explained.

According to Gilligan the next step for Wizso is to begin selling the product, with sales likely to commence around June this year, following the finalisation of another trial with Scottish Water. The tablets are likely to be sold both to consumers and via a B2B model, with Wizso already receiving interest from three hotel chains.

Springwise has spotted other innovations looking to make waste and water management more sustainable, including novel bacterial treatments for urinals and a toilet that turns human waste into energy.

Written By: Matthew Hempstead


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