In Kenya, fuel made from human feces keeps the home fires burning

NAKURU, Kenya (Reuters) - A Kenyan company has taken the mantra "waste not, want not" to unusual lengths by using human feces to manufacture briquettes for use for use in cooking and heating.

The fuel is made by workers from the Nakuru Water and Sanitation Services Company, who dry it, treat it in a kiln and carbonize it with sawdust at 300 degrees Celsius (572 degrees Fahrenheit), and eventually press it into balls that are then sold by the kilo.

The production process also removes harmful pathogens and, of course, the unpleasant smell.

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Kibera -- one of the biggest slums in the world
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Kibera -- one of the biggest slums in the world
Trash fills a clearing between corrugated iron shacks in the Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya, on Friday, July 21, 2017. Kenya, East Africas biggest economy, has faced questions about the credibility of its past two elections, with a dispute over the outcome of a presidential vote in December 2007 triggering two months of ethnic violence that left at least 1,100 people dead.� Photographer: Riccardo Gangale/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A man clears rubbish from a river in the Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya, on Friday, July 21, 2017. Kenya, East Africas biggest economy, has faced questions about the credibility of its past two elections, with a dispute over the outcome of a presidential vote in December 2007 triggering two months of ethnic violence that left at least 1,100 people dead.� Photographer: Riccardo Gangale/Bloomberg via Getty Images Photographer: Riccardo Gangale/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A truck transports bricks for the construction of new homes for slum dwellers in the Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya, on Friday, July 21, 2017. Kenya, East Africas biggest economy, has faced questions about the credibility of its past two elections, with a dispute over the outcome of a presidential vote in December 2007 triggering two months of ethnic violence that left at least 1,100 people dead.� Photographer: Riccardo Gangale/Bloomberg via Getty Images
People dig trash out of a ditch to find dropped coins in the Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya, on Friday, July 21, 2017. Kenya, East Africas biggest economy, has faced questions about the credibility of its past two elections, with a dispute over the outcome of a presidential vote in December 2007 triggering two months of ethnic violence that left at least 1,100 people dead.� Photographer: Riccardo Gangale/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A child plays beside a rubbish filled alley in the Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya, on Friday, July 21, 2017. Kenya, East Africas biggest economy, has faced questions about the credibility of its past two elections, with a dispute over the outcome of a presidential vote in December 2007 triggering two months of ethnic violence that left at least 1,100 people dead.� Photographer: Riccardo Gangale/Bloomberg via Getty Images
People walk along a rubbish filled alley in the Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya, on Friday, July 21, 2017. Kenya, East Africas biggest economy, has faced questions about the credibility of its past two elections, with a dispute over the outcome of a presidential vote in December 2007 triggering two months of ethnic violence that left at least 1,100 people dead.� Photographer: Riccardo Gangale/Bloomberg via Getty Images Photographer: Riccardo Gangale/Bloomberg via Getty Images
NAIROBI, KENYA - NOVEMBER 20: Two man wait for toilet, in Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya, on November 20, 2014. They pay money for toilette and they live difficult conditions due to lack of water, electricity, and hygiene. About two million people live here in 12 ft. by 12 ft. shacks, built with mud and concrete walls, tin roofs, and dirt or concrete floors. The ground in much of Kibera is composed of refuse and rubbish as their rubbish aren't collect. (Photo by Recep Canik/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
NAIROBI, KENYA - NOVEMBER 20: A man walk near toilets, in Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya, on November 20, 2014. They pay money for toilette and they live difficult conditions due to lack of water, electricity, and hygiene. About two million people live here in 12 ft. by 12 ft. shacks, built with mud and concrete walls, tin roofs, and dirt or concrete floors. The ground in much of Kibera is composed of refuse and rubbish as their rubbish aren't collect. (Photo by Recep Canik/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
NAIROBI, KENYA - NOVEMBER 20: A woman collates the wastes fishes which come from restaurants, in Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya, on November 20, 2014. They live difficult conditions due to lack of water, electricity, and hygiene. About two million people live here in 12 ft. by 12 ft. shacks, built with mud and concrete walls, tin roofs, and dirt or concrete floors. The ground in much of Kibera is composed of refuse and rubbish as their rubbish aren't collect.(Photo by Recep Canik/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
NAIROBI, KENYA - NOVEMBER 20: People pass by shacks in Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya, on November 20, 2014. They live in difficult conditions due to lack of water, electricity, and hygiene. Almost two million people live in 12 ft. by 12 ft. shacks built with mud. The ground in much of Kibera is composed of refuse and rubbish as their rubbish aren't collected. (Photo by Recep Canik/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
NAIROBI, KENYA - NOVEMBER 20: A woman makes coal after he collects coal dusts kneading with water and mud in Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya, on November 20, 2014. They live difficult conditions due to lack of water, electricity, and hygiene. About two million people live here in 12 ft. by 12 ft. shacks, built with mud and concrete walls, tin roofs, and dirt or concrete floors. The ground in much of Kibera is composed of refuse and rubbish as their rubbish aren't collect. (Photo by Recep Canik/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
NAIROBI, KENYA - NOVEMBER 20: A woman makes coal after he collects coal dusts kneading with water and mud in Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya, on November 20, 2014. They live difficult conditions due to lack of water, electricity, and hygiene. About two million people live here in 12 ft. by 12 ft. shacks, built with mud and concrete walls, tin roofs, and dirt or concrete floors. The ground in much of Kibera is composed of refuse and rubbish as their rubbish aren't collect. (Photo by Recep Canik/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
NAIROBI, KENYA - NOVEMBER 20: Vegetables are seen on a street between shacks in Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya, on November 20, 2014. They live in difficult conditions due to lack of water, electricity, and hygiene. Almost two million people live in 12 ft. by 12 ft. shacks built with mud. The ground in much of Kibera is composed of refuse and rubbish as their rubbish aren't collected. (Photo by Recep Canik/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
NAIROBI, KENYA - NOVEMBER 20: Children are seen on a bridge near shacks in Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya, on November 20, 2014. They live in difficult conditions due to lack of water, electricity, and hygiene. Almost two million people live in 12 ft. by 12 ft. shacks built with mud. The ground in much of Kibera is composed of refuse and rubbish as their rubbish aren't collected. (Photo by Recep Canik/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
NAIROBI, KENYA - NOVEMBER 20: A man passes by shacks in Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya, on November 20, 2014. They live in difficult conditions due to lack of water, electricity, and hygiene. Almost two million people live in 12 ft. by 12 ft. shacks built with mud. The ground in much of Kibera is composed of refuse and rubbish as their rubbish aren't collected. (Photo by Recep Canik/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
NAIROBI, KENYA - NOVEMBER 20: A woman cooks on fire the corns outside their shack in Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya, on November 20, 2014. They live difficult conditions due to lack of water, electricity, and hygiene. About two million people live here in 12 ft. by 12 ft. shacks, built with mud and concrete walls, tin roofs, and dirt or concrete floors. The ground in much of Kibera is composed of refuse and rubbish as their rubbish aren't collect. (Photo by Recep Canik/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
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Only 1 in 4 Nakuru residents are connected to the town's sewer system, and waste is often dumped in storm drains and rivers, or buried in low-income areas.

Officials said that, at first, it was hard to convince the local community to use the briquettes due to the taboo associated with human faeces, but residents are now embracing the product.

"It doesn't have an odor, it cooks well, the fire burns well, You are able to cook fast and the briquettes burn for long", trader Grace Waka told Reuters.

As well as providing fuel, the project, which is supported by the SNV Netherlands Development Organisation and the European Union among other partners, also aims to protect the environment and improve sanitation, especially in poorer parts of the town.

(Reporting by Reuters TV, writing by Mark Hanrahan in London Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)

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