Things You Need To Know Before You Purchase A Composting Toilet
If you’re in the market for a composting toilet there’s going to be a lot of questions floating around in your head, like where do I buy one, how can I install it, do they smell? Well, we’re going to try and cover all the things you need to know before you jump in and purchase a composting toilet.
#1 They don’t smell
If a composting toilet is maintained correctly there should be no smell at all. Fans and vents will move any unwanted smells away from your bathroom, shed, boat or RV (depending on where you have it installed and the type you have) but the only smell that should be coming out of your toilet is an earthy smell similar to the gardening section in a Bunnings or supermarket or a nursery.
#2 They are more maintenance than a
It’s true. A composting toilet is going to be more maintenance for you but if you’re looking for a composting toilet our guess is that a little extra work isn’t going to put you off. A composting toilet, whilst a little more work, is about taking personal responsibility for reducing your footprint on the planet. Composting toilets help you do this by reducing the water you use in the bathroom considerably (about a swimming pool’s worth of drinking water is flushed down the toilet every year by the average family) and eliminating your reliance on treatment plants that use natural resources to treat your waste.
#3 Some people will be weird about it
There’s a pretty good chance that if you have friends that have only ever used a traditional western flush toilet, they’re going to be like “I do what in where?” Keep this in mind for your next dinner party or get together, people will ask you questions and be part fascinated and part weirded out or worst case disgusted. A simple remedy to this is to ask them if they’ve ever been to the loo in a national park, if they have there’s a good chance they’ve used a composting toilet. If they don’t have a problem going there, what’s the problem going here?
#4 You don’t need to buy special toilet
Normal every day toilet paper is fine to put in your composting toilet. You can even throw in the roll when you’re done with it if you like! If you really want a breakdown of the types of toilet paper you can use in a composting toilet, take a look at our article called What toilet paper can you use in a composting toilet?
#5 It’s worth getting some extra
chambers/drums or a composting bin
Depending on your level of usage, purchasing some extra chambers for a batch system is always a great idea as they will enable you to swap over the compost chambers easily without having to transfer the compost to a pile in the backyard or another container. If you have a system like the Clivus Multrum CM2 extra chambers you simply remove the full chamber and replace it with an empty one while the full chamber cures in a sunny spot in the garden. If you’re using a draw type system like the Sun-mar or Ecolet range you can empty the drawers directly into your composting bin.
Note: it’s advisable not to use compost from your composting toilet on plants that you’re going to consume. Around the base of fruit trees is fine.
Urine is the safest of bodily fluids — typically it’s sterile. In most parts of the world it’s probably safer to have contact with urine than with the local water supply. Leptospirosis and schistosomiasis can be carried by urine, but if those diseases are in your area, it’s still usually better to apply urine to the soil or a compost pile than to flush it into a body of water.
The urine-diverting throne has a funnel in the front of the “drop zone” which carries the urine away to a jug for immediate use as an excellent fertilizer. This greatly reduces the volume of material that goes into the composter. The weatherstripping on the underside of the seat and lid is there to block insects. For a one-way valve, drop a ping-pong ball into the funnel; pee goes in, smells don’t come out. A water trap pipe from a sink with mineral oil in the upper part can do the same.
Why is the Carousel a Batch Composting Toilet?
A batch composting toilet system utilizes two or more interchangeable or movable bins. One is filled at a time and then turned aside allowed to cure while another bin fills — just as with twin-bin and triple-bin yard composters. By not continually adding fresh excrement and urine to older, more advanced material, the material decomposes more thoroughly, uninterrupted by the added nutrients, pathogens, salts, and ammonia in fresh excrement. Also by dividing the material, it can have more surface area, and thus better aeration. Batch systems require monitoring the level of the bins to determine when a bin has filled and a new one must be moved into place. However, because there is more surface area and the material is divided, there is often less or no mixing and raking of the material.
Benefits of Using a Composting Toilet
1. Ease of installation
The composting toilets can be installed almost everywhere. They are easy to install and are particularly popular in remote areas or areas that do not require permanent residence.
2. Save up on the usage of water
Composting toilets operate just like standard toilets, although they do not require a water source. Since they do not need water for flushing, they save up on water. They are, therefore, the best to use in rural areas or in places where a source of reliable water is unavailable. They are also perfect in places where there is low water pressure or high septic demands
3. Cheap to install
As already mentioned, composting toilets do not require the use of water or a connection to a septic or sewer system. As a result, they have fewer installation requirements, are easy to install, and are cheap to purchase. In fact, most composting toilets go for less than $1,000 and cost less to install.
4. End-products enriching the soil
the compost end products are profitable to the soil as they add nitrogen, calcium, phosphorous, and potassium. It operates as organic fertilizer or manure that can be used to enrich the soil. Additionally, it eliminates the need for an individual to purchase inorganic fertilizers. In residential areas, the products can be used for domestic gardening like in trees, flowers, or other plants.
5. They save up on space
Composting toilets do not require a water connection and, therefore, can be installed literally anywhere. They are, therefore, perfect for places where size is limited and can even be installed outside.
Reasons You Need a Compost Toilet
Compost toilets offer a solution to those who wish to maintain a small carbon footprint. Learn about the benefits to choosing this type of sewage system.
1. Compost toilets are truly off-the-grid and will lower your power consumption.
Ventilation and lighting aside, compost toilets use very little power. As much as 13 percent of energy used in the US is related to water. Compost toilets cut back on energy throughout the entire treatment process—from the septic system to the treatment plant—in turn helping waterways.
Take the Chesapeake Bay, for example. Here, nearly 1.5 billion gallons of wastewater from 500 sewage treatment plants flow into the bay every day. Human waste contains dangerous pathogens, viruses and bacteria which can harm wildlife and ecosystems.
2. They are sustainable and environmentally friendly.
A compost toilet is great in rural areas without access to septic or existing plumbing systems. Because they don’t need much in the way of infrastructure, these potties have a small impact on the environment. Treating waste onsite cuts back on environmental disturbances and financial costs of connecting to and maintaining vast sewage systems. Everything that goes into the toilet, including paper, is capable of being recycled, further reducing the need for commercial fertilizers.
3. Compost toilets are ideal in places that are prone to drought or where water is scarce.
More than a quarter of the average American’s household water use comes from flushing toilets. At five flushes a day, one person may use as much as 2,336 gallons each year. While federal law requires that toilets purchased after 1994 use 1.6 gallons or fewer per flush, outdated systems can use as much as seven gallons each time. Not only will you save money each month on your water bill, with a composting toilet you could also save as much as 6,752 gallons annually.
4. Humanure acts as a natural fertilizer to enhance growth of non-edible plants.
Waste created from a composting toilet can be used as an organic alternative to traditional fertilizer to help promote soil health. One person using a compost toilet can produce more than 80 pounds of organic humanure each year, and with nearly seven billion people on the planet it has the potential to serve as a renewable resource. Humanure is best used by burying the compost around tree roots, shrubs and garden beds of non-edible plants.
5. The entire system is self-contained.
There are two types of composting toilets:
- A self-contained system is connected in a single unit. These options are great when working with confined space or a multi-story house.
- A centralized system utilizes a large, centralized tank installed under or outside of the home where all waste is flushed into. This is a great option for an experience similar to the more traditional toilet.
Both systems eliminate the need to transport wastes for treatment and disposal (bye bye, septic system). Sewage and wastewater contain bacteria, funguses, parasites and viruses that can be dangerous to human health. By reducing the need to transport raw sewage (either via infrastructure or by cleaning septic systems) the risk of exposure becomes less of risk to people living in these areas.