It’s a nearly impossible to prevent the spread of disease in slums filled with mountains and rivers of trash. Finding fuel to heat stoves for residents of said slums isn’t much easier. All of this is why the “Community Cooker”, designed by Nairobi, Kenya designer Jim Archer, is ingenious. The cooker, currently being tested in Nairobi’s Kibera slum (pop: 800,000), uses toxic trash as fuel.
Archer’s cooker consist of eight hotplates, an oven, and a corrugated iron cooking area where trash dries on racks before going into the furnace. Technicians involved in the project have spent the past three years designing the firebox so that it provides enough heat to destroy all toxins present in the trash.
The $10,000 prototype is far too pricey for Kenya’s slums, but Archer estimates that the cooker will cost $5-6000 after going into large-scale production. That’s still expensive, but not nearly as bad as a $50 million standard industrial incinerator.
And while the Community Cooker obviously can’t magically produce food for hungry families, it’s a handy alternative for those who can’t afford kerosene stoves. The cooker also has the side benefits of providing much-needed hot water for bathing and reducing pressure on woodlands to provide fuel.
Be on the lookout for the Community Cooker in more locations soon–the Kenyan Red Cross plans to build 8-10 by the end of the year and at least 100 over the next five years.