It is a common sight to see people urinating in public spaces like sidewalks in India. The reasons range from lack of access to hygienic public toilets, to public apathy and lack of awareness.
Also, the non-availability of clean toilets is a huge problem for those who travel frequently. Many people, especially women, are forced to hold their urine for long periods of time when outdoors, which can lead to urinary tract infections.
Siddhant Tawarawalawho used to travel frequently during college years, encountered the problem of non-availability of clean toilets.
Siddhant decided to find a workable solution to this problem after attending a contractor workshop during his third year of engineering. In 2019, he launchedwhich develops unisex paper-based disposable urine bags to help people relieve themselves.
“Although I have always had trouble urinating during my travels, I never thought of finding a solution to the problem until I attended this workshop,” says Siddhant.
Develop the product
To start, Siddhant tested different materials that could store liquid. He started experimenting with empty water bottles, paper bags, balloons and condoms. Around the same time, he applied for Nidhi Prayasa government program specifically for student entrepreneurs who have plans to develop products in the interest of the nation.
Siddhant managed to get a seed funding of Rs 10 lakh of the product prototype development program in 2017.
After working for 12-14 months, he launched Peeschute, which aims to address larger issues such as open urination, adequate public urinal facilities, UTI risk reduction, and improved sanitation standards.
Siddhant distributes Peeschute bags to villagers
Peeschute’s unisex urine bag made from pocket paper Immediately solidifies human urine to keep it leak-proof and odorless.
The disposable urine bag is lined with a special gel that instantly solidifies urine, turning it into an odorless, non-liquid that can be stored and discarded at your convenience. The pouch is shaped like an envelope that can fit in your pocket and can be easily sealed after use.
The urine bags, which are available on his website as well as Amazon and Flipkart, cost just Rs 10. According to Siddhant, over 2.5 lakh units of Peeschute bags have been sold so far. Besides India, urine bags have found a market in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
Peeschute bags compete with environmentally unfriendly plastic bags as well as brands like PeeSafe, Siyona and Sanfe.
Siddhanth says sometimes people found it difficult to use the bag as they lacked privacy and also worried about it being discarded.
“I quickly realized that making one product just wouldn’t work. I want my business to be not just product-based, but a complete solution provider,” says Siddhant.
It took another three to four months and found a second solution – a plug-and-play unisex urinal solution named ‘Peeschute Baksa‘.
Made up of recycled plastic panels, you can urinate directly into the Baksa, which is similar to a urinal. It’s attached to motion sensors to detect if a person is inside the Baksa, and it also automatically turns on the light. Bags that collect urine are also attached with sensors. Once these bags are 85% full, an alarm goes off to signal that the bag needs to be changed.
An example image of Peeschute Baksa
The Baksa has a remote-controlled locking system and an automatic flushing system. The user only has to press a button to use it.
Siddhant says, “We coordinate with a distributor, who then appoints retailers or small traders in places like bus stops, train stations or public tourist areas where they are set up. People have to pay Rs 5 in these shops to use the Baksa.
Although not launched publicly, Peeschute Baksa has been tested and piloted in crowded markets, schools and colleges in 10 locations across Maharashtra.
Claiming to be a one-of-a-kind product, Siddhant says Baksa will cost no more than Rs 15,000 to install. “A traditional toilet construction costs around Rs 2.5 lakh including plumbing and infrastructure. All the economy we achieve consists in solidifying the urine. Baksa will eliminate the need for drainage, plumbing, water, cement, steel, sewer line requirements, etc., and can be easily installed anywhere. All you need is a 10 square foot area,” says Siddhant.
Siddhant says solidified compost can be later used for agricultural purposes in arid lands that lack water and nutrients.
“The urine is rich in urea and moisture, which will be a good fertilizer for the soil,” says Siddhant, adding that this solidified compost is an organic hydrogel discovered by EF Polymer, an Indian agribusiness startup incubated in central Okinawa. , Japan.
Siddhant met Narayan Lal Gurjar, Founder of EF Polymer at an entrepreneur event in London and decided to collaborate to solve sanitation problems as well as increase agricultural productivity in India.
“Appropriate use of compost will be a challenge once the volume of customers using Baksa increases. The company needs to come up with an appropriate plan by the time it is used on a large scale,” says Siddhant.
After launching the product in 2020, Peeschute closed its first angel investment round in June 2020, led by Hyderabad-based Marwari Angels Group. She recently found an investor on shark tank with Aman Gupta, co-founder and CEO ofwho invested Rs 75 lakh in the business.
Siddhant on the SharkTank platform
With a team of 7 to 10 employees based in Jalna, MaharashtraPeeschute is also exploring a pilot opportunity with the government of Odisha and with countries where it has a base.
Apart from that, the company has collaborated with Niti Aayog as part of the Atal Innovation missionwhere it aims to install about 1.5 lakh Peeschute Baksas in the next three to five years across the country.
In addition, Siddhant has more plans to meet the needs of the hygiene sector, where it will seek to align products with a circular economy. His team is currently working on eco diapers.
(Story has been updated to tweak the title)