SEATTLE (CBS Seattle) — The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is purchasing 50 pounds of fake poop for its Reinvent the Toilet Fair.
The toilet fair, which will take place next week in Seattle, will use the synthetic poop to conduct tests on new commodes in an effort to cut down the spread of diseases in third world countries.
Maximum Performance will be providing the fair with the poop that’s made out of soybean paste and rice.
“You need to demonstrate what the equipment can do without having the real stuff around,” Carl Hensman, the head of the water, sanitation, and hygiene programs at the Gates Foundation, told NPR. “There isn’t a silver bullet for the sanitation problems, but when we put together very smart people, we have a much better chance of solving this problem.”
National Public Radio reports that more than 2.6 billion people in the world do not have a clean toilet, and 1.5 million children die each year from diseases that can be prevented with one.
The Gates Foundation handed out over $3 million last year to eight engineers around the world to develop new toilets. The toilets were founded with the idea that it can be self-contained and does not require electricity, water, or even a sewage system.
One of the engineers that won a grant, Christopher Buckley, from the University of Kwazulu-Natal in South Africa, is working on a toilet that burns feces into fertilizer.
“It’s like a toilet that you’d find in a spaceship,” Buckley told NPR.
The synthetic feces that will be used will be unscented.