Wadify: smart flushing

Periods of extended drought are becoming more and more common across the globe. So any innovation that helps save water, is going to be a very welcome, if not vital addition. For startup Wadify, it’s all about innovative toilet tech. Founders Bastiaan Star and Pieter Herings talk about their innovation and an upcoming pilot at music festivals this summer. 

According to Bastiaan, toilets are responsible for the largest consumption of water in public buildings. For regular households, flushing the toilet is the second largest in terms of water usage.  “A traditional toilet uses 13,000 liters of water per person per year”, Bastiaan explains. “Our innovative toilets use only 7,800 liters per person per year. With the help of sensors, our toilets can determine the ideal amount of water needed for flushing, saving up 40%.”

A big difference

Pieter and Bastiaan both studied at the University of Groningen. Pieter graduated in Biomedical Engineering and Bastiaan in both Biomedical Science and Medicine. “As part of my PhD research at the University Medical Center Groningen, we were working on urine analysis, using sensors in toilets. And that’s where the idea behind Wadify came from: if you can measure the exact volume of urine in a toilet, you can also calculate how much water you need for flushing.”

“It was during one of those really dry summers with growing water shortages”, Bastiaan continues. “And Dutch toilets use regular drinking water, some of it sourced from natural reserves if there’s a shortage. Now imagine using 8 liters of that water to flush away 200 milliliters of urine. It just felt like such a giant waste of drinking water and we felt we could make a huge difference.”


The two founders joined the VentureLab program last year. “It was really helpful, not just the entrepreneurial skills, but also their network and meeting relevant people and organizations to help us along”, Pieter says. “They gave us some great tools in that sense, to figure out how to approach it as a business and find the right market.”

So will there be Wadify toilets in every houseold sometime in the future? “Public buildings are where we can actually make a real difference, '' Bastiaan explains. “We did some preliminary research for the UMCG on how much water could be saved using our prototype toilet. And it turns out that the average public toilet at the hospital is flushed around 300 times per day. Even if these toilets have dual flush buttons installed to save water, it’s still an insane amount. So for hospitals, but also big companies and other public buildings, it’s a much more cost-effective solution than, say, your average household. So that’s what our focus is. At least for now.”

Field testing

Wadify is now in the process of validation, Pieter says. “We’ve gone through a couple of prototypes and now we’re at a point where we need to validate the product. So that means testing it on a larger scale, to see how people use it and really work out the kinks. We’re working together with Innofest to test a couple of our prototypes at some of the music festivals they work with. If everything is going according to plan, we'll be ready to test at festivals later this summer. That means a lot of people are going to use it, which is really cool.”

“We’re also working together with The Netherlands Enabling Watertechnology and the Thematic Technology Transfer (TTT) grant”, Bastiaan says. “It’s a collaboration between Wetsus, the University of Groningen, Deltares and the Northern Netherlands Development Agency (NOM). Getting access to all of that collective knowledge and expertise is also great, because it will provide us with so many new opportunities. We had some very positive conversations about getting help with the field testing. We’re still a few years away from launching this as a product, but we’re really excited about people using it this summer.”

Bastiaan and Pieter are always on the lookout for new collaborations, potential investors and people’s thoughts and ideas. You can drop them a line at info@wadify.nl