Bill and Belinda Gates Foundation partner with U of T Engineering to build the Toronto Toilet

The Reinvent the Toilet Challenge project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded almost $400,000 to U of T Engineering. The Faculty is the only Canadian recipient among eight leading universities worldwide being asked to think outside the box about water closets.

An estimated 2.6 billion people don’t have access to safe and sanitary toilets, according to Unicef statistics, and 1.2 billion of them have no toilet access at all, forcing them to use open fields or alleys. That contributes to the spread of diarrheal diseases such as cholera, rotavirus and E. coli, which kill more children than AIDS, malaria and measles combined, the agency says.

“No innovation in the past 200 years has done more to save lives and improve health than the sanitation revolution triggered by invention of the toilet,” Sylvia Mathews Burwell, president of the foundation’s global development program, said in a statement. “But it did not go far enough. It only reached one-third of the world. What we need are new approaches. New ideas. In short, we need to reinvent the toilet.”

“We are deeply grateful to the university for selecting us to be a supplier and allowing all of us here at Jroberts to be part of a global initiative.” said John Gagliardi, President and Chief Development Officer at Jroberts. “We’ve been working with the University of Toronto’s Applied Science and Engineering department for many years, I’ve been lucky enough to have been parts of some incredible accomplishments – I have no doubt the Toronto Toilet will be world class.”