What Is A Composting Toilet?

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Last Updated on October 20, 2022 by acechapman

These devices are increasingly popular due to increasing concerns about water conservation. We have the answer to your question “What is a composting toilet?”

What Are Composting Toilets?

Composting toilets are toilets that collect human waste. The “waste” we refer to is actually the nutrient other living organisms need to grow and live. Instead of flushing these “nutrients down the toilet,” a composting toilet collects them so they can be composted to make a useful soil fertilizer.

The composting toilet functions the same way as any other composting system. It uses the natural processes of decomposition, and evaporation to recycle human waste. The toilet waste contains more than 90% water. The moisture is evaporated by composting systems, which then convert it into fertilizer.

what is a composting toilet

How does a composting toilet work?

The natural process of decomposition, evaporation, and combustion that composting toilets employ is completely free from harmful chemicals. The next section will discuss the specific functions of each unit. In essence, aerobic bacteria break down the material much as it does in a compost heap but in a sealed container.

There are two major benefits to this composting toilet. The composting toilet can be used indoors and is safe. The combination of heat and moisture creates a favorable environment for bacteria, which speeds up the process. Because the microbial activity has destroyed any virus- and disease-causing bacteria, the compost manure is safe. It is easy to dispose of and handle.

Types of Composting Toilets

We’ve covered the basics of composting toilets. Now it’s time for us to examine specific examples and their effectiveness in different situations. To illustrate the ease of use, we have provided a few examples from top-selling products.

Self-Contained Composting Toilet

Most people will think of a self-contained composting toilet when they hear the topic. These toilets are portable and can often be used in boats, RVs, and cabins. Other models can be installed in basements or garages.

These containers are made from tough polypropylene which is easy to clean. Although liquid may be contained, it is usually drained away. Solids can be composted in a container that is removable. Most composting toilets that are self-contained have a vent to remove any gasses. These toilets are often fan-powered and can be powered by either a household AC supply or a 12VDC battery.

Central System Composting Toilet

Split systems, or central system composting toilets, look very similar to standard toilets that connect to septic tanks. The central collection is connected to the bathroom via a tank or drum that is placed below or adjacent to the toilet. It is not practical to place them outside as the tank must remain warm in order to make compost. However, composting tanks placed below toilets will allow gravity to take care of the waste. They don’t need continuous electricity, which makes them great for large off-grid areas.

Central systems are more complicated and therefore more costly. It’s a good idea to check your local building codes before you buy. Central composting toilet systems have another advantage: multiple toilets can be connected and they can hold more waste so don’t need as often to be emptied.

Benefits of A Composting Toilet

Ease Of Installation

A composting toilet can be used in areas where traditional plumbing is not possible or where there is no electricity supply. They are ideal for camping, boating, and other off-grid living. This is an example of their use by the National Parks Service.

Saves Water

According to the EPA, toilet cleaning can account for 30% of a home’s water consumption. Toilets older than 6 gallons can flush. Even the newest ‘WaterSense” models can use up to a gallon. Many composting toilets only use a pint of water, while others use none at all. This water savings is good for the environment and can have a significant impact on household bills. This helps to offset the cost of composting toilets.

Does a composting toilet smell?

This is the most frequently asked question and one that seems reasonable. The simple answer to this question is no. Composting toilets don’t stink if they work properly. Why? It has to do partly with how the toilet is constructed and partly with how it functions.

The odor of human waste is a natural part of life. A standard toilet flushes away human waste immediately. A composting toilet allows bacteria to quickly get to work. Although there is some delay, the fact that the waste is kept in a sealed container helps keep odors at bay. Venting can also help to eliminate odors. A small amount of organic matter (usually sawdust) can be added to the composting toilet to reduce the odor and allow the microbes to get to work. These features combine to make composting toilets just as odorless and as clean as traditional models.

Although the composted material eventually needs to be removed, it has very little odor. It is compared to damp leaves by some composting toilet owners.

what is a composting toilet

It is more difficult to maintain composting toilets than traditional toilets.

A standard household toilet requires no maintenance other than regular cleaning. However, septic tanks should be emptied regularly. Although composting toilets should be emptied more often, it is not as difficult as people think.

It depends on the model and installation. Liquid waste is treated as grey water and drained the same as a regular toilet, washer, or dishwasher waste. The central compost toilet system can run for 6 months before it runs out of water. It depends on the size of the self-contained model. It can take anywhere from four to twelve months. Due to evaporation and microbiological activity, waste is often lighter and dryer than people think. There is almost no odor, as already stated.

It is common to believe that human waste can be put in the trash. This is true for raw sewage but not for treated material from a composting toilet. It’s not more illegal than disposing of dirty diapers and kitty litter.

Compost manure, which is basically a free fertilizer, conditions and improves the soil.

Many gardeners will see the waste as a waste of valuable resources. The eco-toilet concept goes far beyond water conservation.

It is far more effective than chemical fertilizers in many ways. It is biodegradable and natural. The soil structure can be improved by fiber. It is also rich in organic nutrients that are not synthetic and enhance plant growth. Additionally, it has been processed by microbes and composting bacteria in addition to being filtered through the body’s natural filtration system. It is safe to use on fruits and vegetables, even though some may not like the idea.

Wrapping up

You might need to spend more upfront if you want to purchase a composting toilet. The cost of a composting toilet may pay off over time. They may also prove to be more useful for those who live in small homes or RVs.

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