Navigation Map

Dotted Line

Central America


ReSource got its start in Nicaragua in 1988. At the invitation of the mayor of Juigalpa, a cattle town on the dusty road to the Caribbean coast, we built the first ReSource Composting Toilet (RCT) with local materials and labor. Buoyed by our success in Nicaragua, two years later we officially started the ReSource Institute. Nine years after the first 35 RCTs were built, all the composting toilets are functioning well, to the delight of their owners.

Perhaps the biggest "problem" with the project has been in Barrio Madrid, where their installation has divided the community. In 1989 Laura Orlando, now ReSource's director, asked a Spanish architect working on a housing development if he would consider using ReSource Composting Toilets. He demurred, unfamiliar with the technology and confident that his plan to use flush toilets and a septic system would be the better plan. After the pipe was purchased and the houses built, he discovered that there was only enough water at the site for a trickle from a stand-pipe at the houses and not nearly enough to flush a toilet. After much cajoling, he agreed to let me build 25 ReSource Composting Toilets at the 100 house site.

The houses are located very close together, in rows starting from the top of a hill and winding down to the primary access road. ReSource took the 25 houses at the top of the hill and constructed composting toilets attached to the verandah and outside the house. The other 75 homes have pit latrines. Today, nearly all of the 25 homes with RCTs have incorporated the bathroom into the house, building an extra room that encompasses the bathroom (photo); a testament to their odor and trouble-free nature. Meanwhile, the other seventy-five homes have constant trouble with full, stinking latrines.

More information on the Juigalpa Project

Order a video on alternative sanitation, produced by Britain's Channel Four Television in 1991, that shows the ReSource project in Barrio Madrid.

USA | Mexico | Central America | China

Home | Weekly Musings | Musings Archive | Projects | Technology | Photos | Library | Links | Ways You Can Help | Contact Us

179 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02130 USA
Last updated: 17-May-2007
Document URL:
© 2007 The ReSource Institute for Low Entropy Systems