Sav­ing Wa­ter to Make Money

Southern Innovator - - WASTE & RECYCLING -

The world’s wa­ter sup­plies are run­ning low, and ac­cord­ing to the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion (WHO), four out of ev­ery 10 peo­ple are al­ready af­fected. But de­spite the gloomy re­al­ity of this prob­lem, en­trepreneurs in the South are ris­ing to the chal­lenge to save wa­ter.

One un­nec­es­sary waste of wa­ter is car wash­ing. The num­ber of cars in de­vel­op­ing coun­tries is grow­ing fast, with a 27 per cent in­crease in sales in China this year and South Amer­ica over­tak­ing Asia as the world’s fastest-grow­ing re­gional ve­hi­cle mar­ket (Global Auto Re­port). And all these cars will be washed, wast­ing this pre­cious re­source.

The large in­for­mal car-wash­ing mar­ket in Brazil has long been known for pay­ing low wages and avoid­ing taxes. On top of this, it also wastes wa­ter. Lots and lots of wa­ter. In Brazil, 28.5 per cent of the pop­u­la­tion (41.8 mil­lion peo­ple) do not have ac­cess to public wa­ter or waste­water ser­vices and 60 per cent do not have ad­e­quate san­i­ta­tion (Brazil­ian In­sti­tute of Ap­plied Eco­nomic Re­search).

Started in 1994, Dry­wash uses a lo­cally avail­able Brazil­ian or­ganic car­nauba wax to clean cars with­out us­ing wa­ter. Dry­wash has also de­vel­oped a line of clean­ing prod­ucts that cleans ev­ery part of a car with­out the need for wa­ter. It es­ti­mates that it has saved 450 mil­lion litres of wa­ter in its first 10 years of op­er­a­tion. From the start, it set out to change the sta­tus quo and run a busi­ness that “thinks like a big cor­po­ra­tion,” said its in­ter­na­tional part­ner, Ti­ago Aguiar.

To do this, Dry­wash’s man­age­ment team fo­cused on op­er­at­ing an ef­fi­cient and pro­fes­sional busi­ness. When the Gov­ern­ment of Brazil passed strict laws against in­for­mal selling of prod­ucts, Dry­wash was well po­si­tioned to ben­e­fit, with com­pa­nies pre­fer­ring to work with a le­gal busi­ness. Cus­tomers have also been at­tracted to Dry­wash be­cause they know that the ser­vice is con­sis­tent and to a high stan­dard. Dry­wash made US$2.7 mil­lion in 2005.

In China, Land­washer toi­lets are tack­ling the grow­ing prob­lem of pro- vid­ing flush toi­lets to the coun­try’s 1.32 bil­lion peo­ple. Land­washer has patented a process us­ing a spe­cial agent and ster­il­iza­tion to dis­pose of hu­man waste with­out us­ing wa­ter and us­ing very lit­tle elec­tric­ity.

Land­washer has seen its sales grow to 40 mil­lion yuan (US$5.2 mil­lion) and has six sales of­fices cov­er­ing 27 prov­inces. – (Septem­ber 2007)

How the Land­washer toi­let works.

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