Container-based sanitation: one way to reach the last mile for sanitation services

Container-based sanitation: one way to reach the last mile for sanitation services. World Bank Water Blog, February 2019.

Container-based sanitation (CBS) is one of the ways that such services can be provided. CBS consists of an end-to-end service – i.e. one provided along the entire sanitation service chain – which collects excreta hygienically from toilets designed with sealable, removable containers and which strives to ensure that the excreta is safely treated and disposed of or reused. cbs_cover.png

For cities, this has major implications as it can help them shift their focus from exclusively building sanitation infrastructure to that of service delivery.

Where is CBS appropriate?
Based on a review of four CBS service providers, the World Bank has identified the following emerging lessons:

  • CBS approaches should be considered as part of a menu of CWIS options, particularly in hard-to-reach areas of cities.
  • The introduction of CBS services could especially be considered for poor urban populations for whom alternative on-site or sewer-based sanitation services might not be appropriate.
  • Adopting a conducive policy and regulatory environment could be an important first step for governments looking to foster CBS services in areas where they could be suitable.
  • Recognizing the fact that CBS service providers will likely not be covering their full costs in the short- to medium-term, and that most urban sanitation services are subsidized, public authorities and/or water supply and sanitation service providers could explore ways to ensure that CBS services are sustainably financed.

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