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28th January 2021


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Soapbox: A good week for toilet talk

Yvonne-Orgill-BMA.jpgBy Yvonne Orgill, CEO of the Bathroom Manufacturers Association...

"It has been a good week for toilet talk. First we had the chancellor making numerous toilet jokes as he announced in the budget that owners will no longer pay business rates on public toilets. Then Microsoft founder Bill Gates unveils a futuristic toilet that doesn't need water by making a presentation with a jar of human faeces on show beside him.

The Chancellor's announcement caused much merriment in the house and Bill Gates's stunt made the headlines, which is great news for the bathroom industry, as it brings the toilet and water use to the top of the news agenda.

We welcome the tax relief and hope that it will encourage local authorities or private bodies to provide more facilities. The British Toilet Association has estimated that 40% of public toilets have disappeared in the past decade. Local authorities are not legally required to provide toilets, so they are often closed as councils look to cut costs.

The toilet that Bill Gates launched uses chemicals rather than water to remove the waste and is the brainchild of research projects funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Foundation has spent more than $200m on researching the field across the last seven years resulting in 20 cutting-edge sanitation products, intended to destroy harmful bacteria and prevent disease.

"The products launched by Bill Gates provide solutions that are changing the lives of communities around the world but it is clear that we are some way from having a waterless toilet available to all.

In the meantime, we can remind the industry of the need to communicate the benefits of selecting modern products for the bathroom that save water and not just the toilet. The unified Water Label is currently used on 12,500 products and supported by 144 brands, so increasingly easy to find."


9th November 2018

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