Everything You Need to Know About Composting Toilets

Composting, Toilet, Recycle, Recycling, Sustainability

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Toilets are, undoubtedly, among the essential facilities in every normal human's life. They qualify for basic needs that everyone should be accorded anywhere they are whenever they need one. However, some circumstances make it slightly challenging to access the basic services of a toilet.

If you’re living in an RV or traveling over long distances using public means, you are less likely to enjoy toilet services fully. But that’s only true if you’re yet to try the out composting toilets.

A composting toilet provides the perfect solution for RVers and long-distance travelers—those who want to use the minimum amount of water flushing solid human waste down the drainage. Composting toilets are waterless toilets. They use organic processes to treat and break down human waste in a convenient, ecological and efficient manner.

Like composting toilets, composting bins for kitchen waste are also a great way to save the environment and to add a fun little thing in your kitchen renovation design.

While composting toilets have been around for some time now, not everyone knows much about them. Here's what you should know about composting toilets.

How Does A Composting Toilet Work: The Composting Process

Most people who are yet to try a composting toilet are more concerned about how it works and if it is any better than the other types of toilets. A composting toilet offers an environmentally friendly solution to waste decomposition through the composting process. It is an ideal option for RVers, but can also be a perfect fit for home and institution use.

Since a composting toilet doesn’t need to be flushed to get rid of the solid waste, more attention is channeled to how it decomposes the waste.

A composting toilet is made up of a top chamber where you sit, and a lower chamber collects the waste. The chamber that collects the waste is known as composting chamber and is responsible for storing and decomposing waste.

Water, Closet, Toilet, Wc, Lavatory, Convenience
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To effectively decompose waste, the composting chamber comes fitted with a ventilation unit, which makes it easier to break down aerobic bacteria. It also has an effective water collection system that collects any excess water from the waste.

The evaporating chamber is responsible for the faster evaporation of any liquid waste (mostly urine) deposited into the composting toilet. The chamber contains several aerobic organisms like compost worms, bacteria, fungi, or other tiny insects, which enrich urine with nitrogen for faster evaporation. The nitrogen-enriched liquid is then useful as fertilizer for garden vegetables and other crops.

The solid waste is also broken down in a separate chamber. In this chamber, carbon materials are added to the aerobic organisms to quicken the absorption of moisture and break down the solid waste more quickly into the dry composted waste. The most commonly used absorbent materials include sawdust, wood chips, and ash straws.

Air filter for composting toilets
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A standard composting toilet is fitted with a door where you can access the ventilation chamber to control the toilet's most essential conditions. The important conditions to control include carbon, oxygen, temperature, aeration, and aerobic bacteria. It is crucial that you ensure all these conditions are optimally controlled for the effectiveness of your toilet's composting p.

Advantages of using Composting Toilets

The popularity of composting toilets is quickly spreading, and more users are getting on board. The numerous benefits of using a composting toilet have hugely contributed to this rising popularity. Some of the advantages of using a composting toilet include the following.

1.  They are Sustainable and Environmentally Friendly

As you already know, composting toilets are a great alternative when choosing an environmentally friendly toilet option. Most composting toilets are used in rural areas with minimal access to septic tanks or perfectly functioning plumbing systems.

The composting process doesn't need much of the complex infrastructure used in flushing and other types of regular toilets. This simple process leaves a negligible negative impact on the environment, making them a popular option for many environmentalists.

With the help of self-contained composters, you can treat waste on-site and reduce the cost of installing and maintaining vast sewage systems hugely. Every waste going into the toilet, including toilet paper, solid and liquid waste, is effectively recycled and used as compost fertilizer. This helps to reduce the use of commercial fertilizers that introduce chemicals to the soil.

2.  They Offer Self Contained Experience

Whether you’re using a self-contained composting toilet system or a centralized composting toilet system, the waste elimination process remains the same. You will not have to worry about transporting the liquid and solid waste for treatment.

The system effectively breaks down the dangerous funguses, bacteria, parasites, and viruses present in the human waste in an effective composting process. You don't have to deal with these harmful substances directly, as is the case with a regular toilet. All that remains for you to do is to take care of the resulting compost fertilizer. If you get excess of the fertilizer, you can sell the excess to your neighbors for extra income!

Thanks to its self-contained nature, a compost toilet is easier to install compared to a regular bathroom. You won't be worrying about hooking the compost toilet to existing pipes or installing new ones altogether. Many composting toilets are ready to use when you buy them. While there are those that you'll have to install into your house before using, the process is simple and pretty

elaborate.

3.  They Are Inexpensive and Offer Cost-Effective Solutions

One way composting toilets offer cost-effective solutions is through their off-the-grid nature. A compost toilet uses very little power as it doesn't need energy for treating waste and recycling water.

Additionally, composting toilets are ready to use, thus saving you the cost of hiring a handyperson to come and install one for you. They also have cheap DIY alternatives, where you can install a five-gallon bucket in place of the advanced version. This DIY option costs only a few dollars to make.

Moreover, they have few moving parts, which means you won’t be worried about constant maintenance calls and costs.

4.  They Have a Small and Compact Design

 Interior of contemporary bathroom with marble walls and ceramic sink in modern minimalist apartment
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Space is a significant matter of concern in many homes and especially for mid-level income earners. If you are trying to get economical with your floor space, a composite toilet is the best option you can consider. Their small and compact design allows them to fit into a sizeable space in your tiny home or RV.

While they aren't necessarily smaller than regular toilets, most people imagine composting toilets to be huge and bulky because of the need to store waste. The truth, however, is they are more sizeable and efficient for a tiny house, and you can use them even when on long journeys.

What to Consider Before Buying Composting Toilets

The market is flooded with composting toilets that are all fighting for your attention and money. You, therefore, need to consider some important factors before delving fully into the buying process. These outstanding factors include:

a)  The Tank Capacity

One key factor you should give a keen eye is the tank capacity of the toilet you intend to buy. While some toilets have tank capacities that take months to get full, others will only last a few days before you empty them. The number of people using the toilet is also a contributing factor. If you're buying one for a large household, the bigger the tank capacity, the better it is for everyone.

Most compost toilets with larger tank capacities usually cost more than the ones with smaller-sized tanks. Choosing a larger tank capacity over a smaller one is always cost-effective in the long run, especially when you're planning to use it for long journey endeavors or sharing it with other members of your household.

You can consult with your seller before making the purchase. They can always advise on the best composting toilet with the right tank capacity for many users. Practically,

you also want a toilet that doesn't require emptying now and again.

b)  What Your Local Government Says

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Before installing a self contained toilet, it’s necessary to check with the local government regulations concerning the toilet installation. You can talk to your local sewerage representative as they are most informed in such matters.

The hardware store attendant will also help you understand the requirements for installation before they sell you a composting toilet. In addition to information on local government requirements, your local store attendant will also provide you a list of the approved composting toilet models you should consider.

A Self-contained composting toilet is less demanding and is less likely to attract the attention of local governments. However, if you're considering digging a septic tank under the toilet or a composting device in your yard, you will have to seek clearance from your municipal council before proceeding.

c)  The Physical Size and Shape

While shape and size are entirely personal choices, they are also significantly affected by other factors such as the amount of space available at home. If you're dealing with a tiny house, you have to emphasize space when shopping for a composting toilet. A perfectly sized and shaped composite toilet fits into your available space and leaves enough room where you can easily help yourself in.

Before buying your dry toilet, consider calling your hardware store ahead of time. Allow their representative to assess the space you have available for installation and help you in planning for the installation ahead of time.

d)  Utility Bills Concerns

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While a composting toilet is supposed to be a waterless toilet, some still use water, albeit in small quantities. Others use electricity to warm the toilet seat and instigate the composting process. While these features make the waterless toilets function more effectively, they eat more into your wallet and cause concern when shopping for a composting toilet.

You can choose to lower your utility bills by going for the composting toilets that use less water and electricity. Alternatively, you can opt for the waterless toilet

options that eliminate the extra water and electricity bills.

Additionally, there are different powering options to consider when buying composting toilets. Some run on batteries, and others do well with a solar panel system. Others have to be plugged directly into the grid to function. You can check what works best with your home's power supply arrangements before you make the payment for your next composting toilet.

The 5 Best Composting Toilets to Buy in the Market Today

With the rising concerns of increased carbon dioxide emissions, it is only essential that the world help minimize the missions and their effects. One way manufacturers are closing in on this gap is by producing composting toilets that emit less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

However, some composting toilets are more effective and carbon-efficient than others. Here are some of the best composting toilets you can buy in the market today.

1.  Nature's Head Self Contained Composting Toilet

Nature's Head self-contained composting toilet provides the best toileting solution for everyone who needs an environmentally conscious toilet. It is a perfect fit for travelers moving on water, land, or the road as it is a waterless toilet that can fit any environment.

If you always grumble anytime you receive your water bill; then you might want to use Nature's Head as a reprieve. It helps you save up to 20 gallons of water every day. Nature’s Head is the best composting toilet to consider when installing a toilet at a place where plumbing or electricity is challenging to install or doesn’t exist.

Since Nature's Head doesn’t have the unpleasant smells you find in other toilets, this composting toilet is mainly used in RVs, vacation cabins, workshops, yurts, etc.

They come with crank handles that use more energy and require more space to operate. Or spider handles that need less energy and space to operate for tight-fitting toilets.

The top part of Nature's Head is made of stainless steel hardware to prevent corrosion or rust for a healthy and comfortable toiletry experience. It's also made of granite-colored metal that ensures you have an easy time cleaning the toilet.

Nature's Head composting toilets are fitted with excellently working funs, vents, and hoses that enable them to eliminate unpleasant smells and give you an easier time.

Pros

·        It has a huge tank capacity.

·        Excellent odor elimination features.

·        It is constructed with extremely durable materials.

Cons

·        Its urine bottle is much lesser and needs constant emptying and washing.

2.  STANSPORT Portable Toilet

You can’t talk or plan trips without thinking of Stansport portable toilet. It typically brings the bathroom experience to your journey and on your outdoor events. It achieves all these with the help of its portable camping toilet with all the amenities of a private restroom.

It is fitted with a full-sized comfortable seat that will make you forget you are in your outdoor events using a portable camp toilet. This comfortable, full-size toilet seat can accommodate a weight of up to 350 pounds.

Since it is portable, it is made with inbuilt handles, which are outfitted in the sturdily constructed base for easy carrying and transportation.

Its bin-shaped tank has a large capacity and can hold up to 350pounds of waste at a go. You can buy disposable sanitary bags that keep the waste out of sight to give you an easier and comfortable time finishing your business down there.

It's made with a fitting lid that helps to keep all the awful smell inside the toilet. The specialized Stansport bags also help control the odor so you can continue with your outdoor or indoor events without interference.

Pros

·        It efficiently conserves power give that it is a dry toilet.

·        Heavy-duty construction.

·        It comes with a disposable waste bag.

Cons

·        You have to treat the waste from your toilet separately for you to use it as compost.

3.  

SUN-MAR GTG Portable Compost Toilet

Forget the basic and simple design you see in every other composting toilet in the market today. The sun-Mar portable composting toilet is the game-changer. It has a D-shaped design that easily sets it apart from the other composting toilets in the market.

The toilet is made 18 inches high, a perfectly suitable height for elderly users who need extra height. Coupled with the elongated seat that's 24 inches long, the toilet is a perfect comfort package for the elderly.

It is fitted with a fan and air vent at the back to help control odor and compensate for the absence of flushing. The toilet is fitted with a handle that helps you to mix and aerate the human waste in the three-chambered holding drum anytime you use the toilet for complete eradication of awful smells.

SUN-MAR is made using fiberglass and connected using metal hinges and screws. This makes it a heavy toilet option, suitable for in-house installation and more permanent use. It is a perfect choice if you are looking for great looks in a composting toilet.

Pros

·        It has a compact, modern and unique design.

·        Comes with two separate solid and liquid waste chambers.

·        Compact size that fits most bathrooms of tiny houses.

Cons

·        It needs extra care to keep it effectively usable.

4.  Porta Potti Thetford Composting Toilet

If you are intrigued by award-winning items in the market, the Porta Potti is your composting toilet to consider. It is a top-notch portable toilet that perfectly works for RVers, boat riders, trucks, and van drivers. It is also a commoner in health centers, camping sites, and other outdoor lifestyle endeavors.

Simply described as a comprehensive toilet, Porta Potti comes with a functional flusher, toilet seat, lid, cistern, and toilet paper receptacle for a full modern-toilet experience. It has an effective system that breaks down aerobic bacteria to eliminate odor. Its lower half is odor-sealed, and it comes with a branded deodorizer to help eliminate any awful smells.

The toilet uses 6 AA batteries to power up the flushing process. You don’t have to worry about a dirty toilet bowl or seat every time you or your guest uses it. It also has the option of using a manual flusher that comes in handy when you are out of batteries and stuck in the middle of nowhere.

While it uses water, it is still a conservative water toilet to consider if you are fed up with huge water bills every month. However, you have to connect it to a sewer line or a septic tank for effective drainage.

Pros

·        You won't have to worry about odor leaking as it comes with a leak-proof valve.

·        Tank level indicator keeps you up to date with the water levels.

·        The pour-out spout conveniently empties the waste tank without leaving behind any messes.

Cons

·        You’ll need to connect to a nearby sewer or septic tank and empty the contents daily.

5.  Luggable Loo Portable Composting Toilet

Instead of converting your typical bucket into your occasional toilet anytime, you're at an outdoor event, why not buy one that has been improvised to work effectively? Luggable Loo composting toilet is your go-to outdoor toilet option for all your outdoor events.

Despite having a simple design, the toilet comes with a comfy seat that makes you comfortable anytime you use it.

With a 5 gallon capacity, the toilet can hold up waste for up to one day before you empty it. You can empty it into a septic tank or a standard sewer around your home with the help of the disposable bags that it comes with.

You won't be worrying about smells and spills when you use the lid effectively. Its lid snaps tightly to avoid any waste spills and escape odors into your RV, boat, or your outdoor camping tent.

When empty, it weighs about 3 pounds, which means you can easily carry it to your outdoor events without much struggle. The toilet gives you an affordable option of owning a composting toilet that you can easily carry around for emergencies.

Pros

·        Snap-On seat and cover conceal smell and waste slip inside.

·        Perfect for a home emergency kit and usable by all family members regardless of size and age (except toddlers).

·        An attractive warranty offer and replacement guarantee.

Cons

·        It can get cumbersome when full of solid and liquid waste.

Myths around Composting Toilets Demystified

Many people hold a lot of myths and misconceptions about composting toilets globally. Despite being around for a long time, several people still fail to understand the logic behind owning a compost toilet. Here are some of the common myths and misconceptions around composting toilets you should know about.

Myth#1: They are Smelly

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This is probably the biggest fear new users have. However, the truth is most composting toilets smell less than regular flush toilets. Most composting toilet users will agree that it is easier to maintain and clean a compost toilet than maintaining the cleanliness of a regular one.

A composting toilet is designed with unique fans and a venting system that maintains a consistent airflow within the toilet system. The toilets are therefore always in full supply of fresh air and thus a fresher smell.

Myth#2: They’re Only Ideal for Camping or Outdoor Events

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While it’s true composting toilets are an excellent fit for your outdoor events and camping, that’s not the only place they fit perfectly. Today, composting toilets are emerging everywhere and are used extensively at homes, businesses, and even public places. More and more people realize the importance of a composting toilet to the environment and how cost-effective they are.

Myth#3:They are Illegal in Almost Every State

While it's true, you might have some hitches with the local state laws when installing a compost toilet, and it is not true that they are illegal in almost every state. More states and countries are welcoming the idea of installing these toilets.

Provided you live in a house with at least one flushing toilet connected to a septic tank, you can install a compost toilet as an addition. Additionally, you have to ensure your composting toilet doesn't create a public nuisance in the form of exposure to aerobic bacteria and odors.

There are states recommending residents install dry, waterless toilets instead of the regular flushing ones.

Myth#4: You Can’t Use a Toilet Paper in a Composting Toilet

white tissue paper roll on brown wooden table
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Why not! You certainly need to use toilet paper, and yes, on a composting toilet just like you do on a regular toilet. Once you've put the toilet paper down on the bowl, it undergoes the decomposition process that the solid waste matter goes through. However, let the pads and other feminine hygiene products go to the sanitary bin as these can take years before they decompose.

Composting Waterless Toilets Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1.  Do composting toilets smell bad?

A composting toilet, just like an ordinary flushing toilet, needs to be well-taken care of and maintained to remain clean and with less odor. The advantage leans on the composting toilet’s side as it requires less cleaning and maintenance while still maintaining a cleaner atmosphere. They have air valves and vents to allow maximum circulation of air for cleaner air.

2.  How do you empty a composting toilet?

Since there are several types of composting units, different methods are used to empty each type. However, there are general guidelines to follow when emptying a composting toilet. They include:

·        Put on a dust mask.

·        Wear protective gloves such as latex or rubber before handling the waste tank to collect waste.

·        You can use assistance if you feel the compost is heavier than you can handle alone.

·        Ensure you safely dispose of the waste after emptying the waste tank.

·        Wash your hands thoroughly after handling the waste tank and toilet waste.

3.  Can you pee in a composting toilet?

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You can pee in a composting toilet freely, but you should do it in a sitting position to avoid pee mixing with solid waste or contaminating the toilet seat. Compost toilets like Nature’s Head have two compartments for separating liquid and solid waste so that each can be broken down effectively. You don’t have to worry about pee smell as this is taken care of in the urine chamber.

4.  Are composting toilets legal in NZ?

Yes, they are. However, you need to follow some specific regulations to install a waterless composting toilet in New Zealand. For instance, you cannot install a composting toilet in urban areas where there's a mains sewerage system. For you to install a composting toilet in NZ, you must:

·        Minimize human contact with the effluent

·        Observe all sanitation and public health requirement

·        Ensure no offensive smell is released into the environment

·        Achieve continuous extract ventilation among other regulations

Summary

Composting toilets are here to stay and help the world realize a safer way of using toilets and minimizing energy use. With many people realizing the importance of these toilets, you can only trust that more states and countries will be encouraging the installation of the toilets. If you were thinking of installing one, now you have all the information to guide you into doing so. Get on board and get your waterless toilet today.

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