Peepoo: Social Enterprise Fail?

Yes, it’s a portmanteau. The Peepoo bag is a single-use biodegradable bag designed to convert human waste into fertilizer.

A recent New York Times article touts it as an innovative social enterprise. They only cost two to three cents and currently there are 2.6 billion people without access to basic healthcare—which amounts to a trillion dollar market, according to the WTO (the World Toilet Organization, not the one that activists love to hate).

Saundra Schimmelpfinning wonders whether Peepoo is degrading for aid recipients, noting that sometimes development assistance asks aid recipients to do what we in the developed world would not even consider. Peepoo has spurred a heated debate on the blogosphere, and some consider it evidence of the limits of social entrepreneurship, as it is clearly promotes a short-term “solution” that is less than ideal.

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