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Sitting Down (On the Toilet) For a Good Cause

RP Siegel | Friday July 20th, 2012 | 3 Comments

ban-startup-friday

Simon Griffiths, co-founder of an Australian/American company that markets eco-friendly toilet paper, has come up with a totally unique and brilliant publicity campaign to help jump start the company’s first production run. Who Gives a Crap needs $100,000 and hopes to attract pre-orders from contributors who, they hope, will be persuaded by the fact that 50 percent of all profits will go towards constructing toilet facilities in developing countries. Poor sanitation, which is a fact of life for over 2 billion people, is responsible for the deaths of thousands of children every day from waterborne illnesses.

I guess you could say they’ve found a way to combine an issue with a tissue.

In order to call attention to this dire need, and to his company, Griffiths staged a sit down strike, on a toilet, that he refused to get up from until they raised the first $50,000. The campaign won the support of Indiegogo and Social Capital Markets (SOCAP) who got behind them to provide the online platform for the campaign.

Simon sat down on the morning of July 10th and remained seated until the $50k milestone was reached some 50 hours later. Throughout the campaign, live video of Simon sitting was available online, in case anyone wanted to make sure he wasn’t cheating.

They are still taking pre-orders and they say that if they reach $100k, they will be able to:

  • Develop a mobile app so that you can literally order more TP from the bathroom.
  • Launch their retail product from a pop-up shop
  • Develop a special business-specific line of products

At this writing, the company has raised just over $60,000.

Half the profits will be donated through WaterAid to help the world’s poorest people access clean water, sanitation and hygiene education. The New York-based non-profit, which also has member organizations in the UK, Sweden and Australia, operates in 27 countries around the world. According to their website, 11 percent of the world’s population does not have access to clean water, while 35 percent does not have adequate sanitation. Roughly 700,000 children die every year of diarrhea. Nearly half of those deaths could be prevented by simple hand-washing with soap and water.

Who Gives a Crap, which consists of Griffiths, and his two partners Jehan Ratnatunga, and Danny Alexander, won several business plan awards and international fellowships which allowed them to perfect the product, develop logistics and create a viable business model. Now, they claim, they are “ready to roll.”

The product was developed with a manufacturer of recycled toilet paper with thirty years of experience. The result is a TP that is 100 percent recycled, without chlorine or other additives, and is formulated to be soft and strong at a price that is competitive with the added benefit of saving lives in the developing world.

To paraphrase Simon, why not have every time you go to the bathroom be a feel-good experience?

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RP Siegel, PE, is an inventor, consultant and author. He co-wrote the eco-thriller Vapor Trails, the first in a series covering the human side of various sustainability issues including energy, food, and water in an exciting and entertaining format. Now available on Kindle.

Follow RP Siegel on Twitter.


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  • http://www.nationwide-bathrooms.co.uk/ Richard Hughes

    The fact that so many children are dying from diarrhoea is heartbreaking. You don’t think of it as a fatal illness in the Western world, and it’s the fact that it shouldn’t be that is so affecting. Through organisations like this and their hard work, hopefully it won’t be too long before we live in a world where preventable diseases like this are actually prevented.

  • Jesse Dugan

    Love the name!  haha, what a great cause and a unique approach at providing a quality product that can help save lives.

  • Jesse Dugan

     Love the name!  haha, what a great cause and a unique approach at providing a quality product that can help save lives.