People don’t like talking about toilets. So it was brave of Simon Griffiths to start Who Gives A Crap, a company that puts half of its profits into building toilets in developing countries – all the while trying to get us talking about our favourite seat in the house.
The company has teamed up with much-loved Melbourne designer Beci Orpin to make four colourful, re-usable toilet-paper wrappers. Each can be crafted into a different item: a hanging mobile, a pair of toilet-roll glasses, a fortune-teller, some party balls or an envelope.
“Beci has an incredible design aesthetic and she’s written several books about craft projects,” says Griffiths. “We thought it was a perfect fit for the afterlife of our toilet paper – for our customers to find fun ways to re-use the wrappers.”
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Profits from the collaboration will go into educating children in Timor, Papua New Guinea and Nepal about sanitation. Many people in these regions don't have access to sanitary, functioning toilets, and 1400 children die from diarrhoea-related diseases every day – making it the second largest killer of children under five.
“It’s a huge problem,” says Griffiths, “but it’s something people don’t talk about because it’s a relatively disgusting thing. It’s not sexy like clean water is, with kids drinking out of a tap for the first time.”
“The kids go back to their villages and tell people what they’ve learnt. It’s kind of like [kids’ banking program] Dollarmites,” he laughs. “You get kids when they’re young, and then you’ve got them for life.”
Beci Orpin’s limited-edition series of designs for Who Gives A Crap is available online only from Tuesday 15 September.