Plant With Purpose Phraseology: What Is an Ecological Latrine?

Written by Plant With Purpose on July 19, 2013 in General

What do latrines have to do with improving the environment? To explain,  we are continuing our Phraseology blog series with today’s topic being ecological latrines.

Ecological latrines are essentially improved outhouses. In addition to acting as depositories for human waste, they allow for collected matter to be reused in a variety of applications. Liquid and solid wastes are collected and separated and a mixture of dirt, ash, and lime is poured over the solid waste to facilitate decomposition. After a year of breaking-down, solid waste can be used to improve soil fertility. Liquid waste may be used to manage pests or as a soil fertilizer.


While ecological latrines provide many benefits, one of the most important is their role in ensuring that communities have access to a safe and healthy water supply. Improperly contained or disposed waste—due to a lack of improved sanitation facilities—contributes to chronic diarrheal diseases, which debilitate sufferers and can lead to malnutrition.

Ecological latrines are just one component of Plant With Purpose’s approach that contributes to holistic, integrated environmental restoration.  Together with reforestation and proper watershed management, ecological latrines have contributed to an average 25 percent decrease in waterborne illnesses—such as cholera, diarrheal disease, and typhoid—throughout partnering communities. It is in this way that Plant With Purpose help families live healthy, productive, fulfilling lives while utilizing ecological latrines to turn waste into worth.


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