FAQs

Why is Unilever working on a waste treatment technology?

Unilever has a business in household cleaning products, including toilet cleaners like Domestos/Domex, and so we understand people's sanitation needs. Although it’s important to provide toilets, it is also vital to treat the waste generated in an effective way to make sure it does not do harm to the environment or to people.

Unilever does not own the Oya technology, and all intellectual property generated from the project will be made available so that the technology is accessible to low income people in developing countries.

Unilever hopes to catalyse the waste treatment market by helping to show that pyrolysis technology can be used effectively and economically to treat human waste. We hope that this will stimulate the other players in the waste treatment sector to conduct similar research in this area and advance the field as a whole.

What is Unilever’s role in the project?

Unilever is the grant holder on the project. Unilever is lending its project management expertise to Oya, and all of the engineering work has been subcontracted to DPS Global and Natural Synergies.

What are the timelines?

First trials for the technology will be on a sewage treatment works in the UK using real human waste and other wastes. The trials are scheduled to be completed in 2014. Funding would then be sought to test Oya in a developing country through a second phase of trials.

How is the project funded?

The project is entirely grant funded and all intellectual property generated from the project will be made available so that the technology is accessible to low income people in developing countries.

Why does Unilever need third party investment for projects like this?

The project has been grant funded because pyrolysis and waste treatment are not Unilever’s core business, which is fast moving consumer goods. 

Did you know?

Every day 2 million tons of human waste are disposed of in water courses

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