A composting toilet can be termed as a waterless toilet that makes use of aerobic process excreta by composting the aerobic decomposition.
The positive aspect of this system is that it does not need a lot of water. This guide will help you to understand the composting toilet concept and select the best composting toilet.
Well, the composting toilet may be considered as the best alternative to the flush washroom that is used with the septic systems.
Usually, these waterless washrooms are used in places where there is no proper sewage treatment plant. For example, off-grid homes, national parks and even developing countries where the water supply is quite limited.
Now there is one important aspect to remember when considering the best composting toilet; there needs to be an appropriate balance of organic material, heat, moisture, and oxygen for ensuring a rich environment for the aerobic bacteria that decompose the waste.
This plays a vital role in ensuring an odour-free operation and complete decomposition of the waste. When the human waste gets disposed of properly, the level of viruses in the waste gets dramatically reduced.
The Reasons You Should Invest in A Composting Washroom
Now if you are buying a waterless washroom, then you need to be convinced that it is a smart purchase. This is why we will look at the potential benefits of the waterless toilet here.
- The waterless washroom is perfect for the remote sites.
- They help to control the water consumption.
- The composting loo does not involve a lot of power consumption.
- If you are going for a self-contained system, then it eliminates the need to transport the waste for disposal.
How the Composting Washrooms Work and The Types Available?
If you are planning to buy the waterless washroom, then it is mandatory to understand their working first so that you can make the best choice. The best composting toilet has three main processes.
- Composting the waste and the toilet paper quickly and without odor.
- The waterless washroom ensures that the finished compost is easy to handle and safe as well.
- It should be able to evaporate the liquid as well.
Now there are three main types of waterless toilets. They are as follows
- Continuous composting toilets
- Batch composting washrooms
- Hybrid composting washroom
Continuous Composting toilet
Now the Clivus Multrum System makes use of a continuous composting process in a large chamber.
This system has a huge inspection door that is particularly unique to this specific system. The inspection door is particularly very useful to the users because it helps them to check out if the system is functioning properly.
The Clivus composting chamber provides a separate access to the new compost and the old compost as well. What happens is that the older compost settles at the bottom of the chamber with ease and the front access hatch is used for removing this compost.
Hybrid Composting Washroom
The Sun-Mar Model ensures the completion of the composting process by making use of continuous composting and batch composting.
The compost gets added to the Bio-drum.
However, when the bio drum gets half-full, then a portion of the compost gets fed into the finishing tray that is located at the unit base.
The compost is allowed to sit in isolation in the finishing tray till it is removed as the hummus. It is disposed off by making use of the batch process model.
Batch Composting toilets
These systems make use of two composting chambers.
Now first one chamber is allowed to get filled up and then it is put aside for the composting to continue.
Next, you need to put the second chamber to use.
The best thing about this process is when the time comes to change the chambers, the first chamber’s contents are composted by that time. This gives you the chance to remove the compost and bury it in the garden with ease and this way you can re-use the chambers again.
Choose the Best Composting toilet
When you decide to choose a waterless washroom, then you will have to do a bit of research beforehand.
Keeping The Location Into Consideration
First, you need to understand that the composting washroom is available in a variety of designs and sizes. This means that you will have to identify the location of the toilet before making your pick.
If you have accessible space under the floor, then you can go with the split systems. They fall into the category of the continuous composting washroom.
The split systems have two main sections. The pedestal that is located on the floor and the tank that is located below the floor.
If you are looking for the best composting toilet for your outhouse or home, then the split systems can be a great pick.
If you are looking for a waterless washroom for a single level home, then you can go for the self-contained units that fall into the category of batch composting toilets.
The self-contained toilets have got the pedestal and the container built into a single system. If you have limited space, then this waterless toilet will work perfectly well for you.
The Cost Factor
Well, the cost factor is also quite important when you choose the best composting toilet. You have to keep in mind that the waterless toilet may cost several hundred to thousands of dollars.
This is why the cost will completely depend upon the system that you decide to choose and the location of the waterless toilet as well.
The Capacity of Your Best Composting toilet
The usage will also decide the toilet that you need to choose. For example, if you need a waterless loo for residential use, then self-contained toilets work best in this regard.
Maintenance of The Waterless Washroom
This is yet another factor that you need to consider when choosing the best composting toilet. Now if you have self-contained toilets in your home, then the usage will be on a daily basis, so the maintenance will also be more frequent.
This is why you need to consider maintenance costs as well when deciding to go for a self-contained washroom.
The General Climate Can Also Be Factor
Now you are well-aware of the fact that the composting takes place when the weather is warm.
You need to be aware of the fact that if the temperature is too low, then it will eventually slow down the process of composting.
This means that you will need additional heating arrangements as well if you live in a low-temperature area and this may add up to your cost eventually. This heating process is needed to increase the capacity of the composter.
Best Composting toilet 2020
Now that you have a clear perception regarding the best composting toilet you are going to get and how they work, it is time to have a look at the best waterless toilets available.
Nature’s Head Self Contained Composting toilet
The Nature Head Composting toilet is one of the best composting toilet available in the market. It has got stainless steel hardware and has got an elongated seat to facilitate comfort. It also disassembles in a matter of seconds for emptying.
The Positive Aspects:
- Now, this model is available with a spider crank handle, and this is why it is useful in places with limited capacity.
- It has a sturdy construction.
- It has a self-contained construction. This is why you will have a separate dry composting compartment and urine collection bottles.
Nature’s Head Dry Composting toilet with Standard Crank Handle
This waterless toilet offers a hand crank agitator for composting fast. It has a molded design and is quite easy to install. It has also got an elongated seat design for offering additional comfort to the user.
This composting toilet has got a separator as well that helps in moving the urine into separate urine bottles. This waterless toilet has got 110V vent fan which is capable of blowing the foul odor through the 5’ outlet pipe.
The best part is that you can get additional containers with this waterless toilet as well if you intend to compost the waste for a longer period.
- It has a robust construction.
- This composting toilet is easy and convenient to use
Sun-Mar Compact Self-Contained Composting toilet
If saving water is your concern, how about making a switch to a composting toilet. Research has shown that one person can consume up to 30% of their household water when using a traditional toilet. However, if they switch to a composting toilet, they can save up to thousands of gallons per year.
The Sun Mar compact self-contained composting toilet is perhaps one of the most recognizable brands of composting toilets. This lightweight eco-friendly toilet is quick and easy to install making it ideal for a house or cabin in the woods. It comes in a medium capacity allowing it to be used by up to 4 people. Furthermore, it is shiny and easy to clean so that a single person leaving in a residential setup can also consider installing the unit in their home.
If odor is your concern, the toilet is designed with a sophisticated airflow system and seals to ensure that you are left with an odorless experience after every flush.
-The units have been around for ages with some users reporting that the have used the toilet for over a decade.
-The unit features a drum that is used for tumbling compost making it excellent for people who require compost for their gardens. -The unit runs on standard household current.
-The unit claims to be pest proof.
-No water is required.
– It has a five year warranty on fiber glass and a 3 year warranty on everything else.
-Many users have complained of urine smells. Consequently, you will be required to purchase additional filters to ensure a 100% odorless experience during use.
-Some units come with leaks and cracks- it is important to inspect the unit properly.
– The unit may be too loud and not suitable for households with many occupants.
-As much as it claims to be pest proof, there have been complaints of presence of flies at places the unit is installed.
You can opt for any of these three composting toilets, and you will be impressed by the quality that comes your way.
Tips for Using a Composting toilet
Now when you have spent a fair amount of money on your best composting toilet, then you surely want to put it to good use. Now the following tips will help you use the waterless toilet more productively.
- Get A Nice Smell in Your Composting toilet:If you are worried about the fact that the waterless toilet may smell, then you should think along the lines of making use of coffee grinds. Get some coffee grinds from the local coffee shop, and you can throw in some in the composting toilet. The quantity depends upon your choice.
Now you can also make use of sawdust to get rid of pee smell in the toilet. Moreover, you can also add some sawdust in the toilet before using it.
If you want fresh air in your best composting toilet, then you can try out another remedy as well. You can light a match in the waterless toilet for a brief period. However, make sure that you turn off the match when you leave the toilet.
- Speeding Up the Composting Process:If you wish to speed up the composting process, then you can worm to the compost. They eat up the waste fast. This is termed as the vermiculture. The worms can eat the waste pretty fast, and they can break down the compost with ease. This helps in turning the compost into fertilizer quite quickly.
- Have A Brush in Your Waterless Toilet:There are chances that you might drop some sawdust in the waterless toilet while trying to clear away the air. This is why it is essential that you should have a brush in the waterless toilet. The brush will help you clear away the pieces of sawdust.
Composting Toilet Systems: What You Need to Know?
There are many different kinds of composting toilet systems currently available for home consumers to purchase. Composting toilet systems generally contain the following four components:
- a reactor, which is the container in which the composting takes place;
- an exhaust system, to remove odors and help control liquid build up;
- a means by which to turn the compost(for some systems, some will not need turning);
- a way to remove the finished compost, which may be as simple as an access door to the finished product
How these four features are integrated into the composting system vary considerably, as there are many different composting toilet models that have been developed by composting toilet manufacturers.
With most composting toilet systems the entire composting process will take between six to twelve months of time, after which you will be able to remove the finish compost and use it as a soil amendment for trees, flowers and other non-agricultural uses.
When evaluating composting toilet systems, it is important to know that there are two important different ways in which these systems can be installed in your home.
First, there are self-contained composting toilets. With a self-contained unit, the composting process takes places in a reactor directly under the toilet seat. These composting toilets are often quite high and large, and may need a small footstool for use.
Next there are remote composting toilets (also called “split” or “centralized”). With these systems, the reactor is located in another area of the house, often in a basement.
The advantage of remote composting toilet systems is that the toilets look and are used in a manner which is quite similar to regular flush toilets. There are even micro-flush remote composting toilet units which use a small amount of water, and look nearly identical to regular flush toilets.
Self-contained composting toilets are generally cheaper to use and easier to install than remote composting toilets. However remote composting toilets are able to serve more users and are often easier to clean and maintain than self-contained units.
Common Problems with Manufactured Composting Toilets
Manufactured composting toilets are wonderful in many ways: they save water, produce a valuable end product that benefits the environment, lessen pollution and can even save on money (despite their initial costs).
When installed and used properly they should be completely odorless and produce rich, fully composted humus that is easy to remove from the toilet and use in your flower gardens (or elsewhere).
However, many users of manufactured composting toilets by Sun-Mar, Envirolet, BioLet and other composting toilet models have had less than ideal experiences with their composting toilets.
As with the problems with homemade composting toilets that I have discussed in my personal account of using a humanure homemade composting toilet, the problems with manufactured composting toilets are frequently due more to user error than due to a problem with the toilet composting system itself.
Still, these problems are common enough to suggest that there needs to be made more effort on the part of manufacturers to properly educate consumers about common problems with these systems and how to avoid them.
Here are some of the common problems users report with different manufactured composting models – as well as some ways these problems may be remedied or avoided altogether.
- Problems with liquid build up in the composting toilet.
This is by far the most common complaint I have common across in my research of manufactured composting toilets complaints (it also was a problem I experienced with homemade composting toilet buckets, but due to their small size and frequency of being emptied not as significant of a problem, I think).
This fluid is generally a result of people urinating in the toilet.
The composting process will simply not work properly in most composting toilet systems if there is too much fluid in the system.
Some users, and even some manufacturers, recommend not using composting toilets to urinate in, but this does not seem like an adequate solution to me (and many other users).
Particularly for females, it is a hassle to have to urinate in a separate container or outdoors (not to mention that this may be illegal in some areas).
Excess liquid can be controlled, however, by adding adequate amounts of dry material to balance the composting matter and using electric fans and heaters to help evaporate and dispel excess moisture (so for those purchasing non-electric models, extra care will have to be taken to keep the system in order).
In addition, there are now models being manufactured that divert urine away from the “dry” composting area (for fecal matter). For an example of this system, check out the Nature’s Head composting toilets.
- Problems with Odor.
A well functioning composting toilet (whether homemade or manufactured) should be odorless.
Odor problems are a sign that there is a serious problem with the system. Frequently this is due to the liquid issues discussed above.
Composting toilets rely on aerobic decomposition, but with excess liquid, the process will instead convert to anaerobic decomposition (for a discussion of these two processes, read “How Toilet Composting Works“).
Both of these decomposition processes are found in nature, but anaerobic decomposition is the smelly one, and if your toilet has gotten out of balance, the smell can be quite bad indeed.
To remedy this problem, you need to get your compost back in balance by adding dry matter to it.
Unfortunately, if it is really bad, you may have to remove some of the liquid matter first – a quite unpleasant task – so it is best to try to keep this problem from developing in the first place!
- Problems with removing the finished compost from the toilet.
There are two significant problems users may encounter when it is time to remove the compost.
First, we return again to the issue of excess liquid – if the mixture is too wet, it will be difficult and smelly removal process (and you may well decide to remove the toilet along with the compost!).
A second issue some users report is a result of overloading the system. For most composting toilets, you need to make sure the finished compost is removed promptly.
You may also be able to make the process of removal easier by using very lightweight organic brown matter for your dry matter in the composting toilet.
Peat moss may be an ideal medium for most composting toilets (although there may be concerns about using it due to environmental issues).
Switching to any toilet composting system – be it homemade or manufactured – requires a significant change in practice and much education.
Anticipating what are very common problems by users, and providing full disclosure of these issues are and how to resolve them, would be a great benefit many users of these toilet composting systems.
Furthermore, it would also help promote composting toilet usage instead of leaving some composting toilet users frustrated, angry and often abandoning and discouraging others from using a valuable green technology.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Composting Toilets
If you are just learning about composting toilets, or have an interest in purchasing one for your home, cabin, boat or RV, you are likely to have many questions.
Below you will find links to articles from this website answering some of the most common questions I have encountered regarding composting toilets. (If you are unable to find an answer to your question, or have questions or comments about the answers I have posted, feel free to send me an email using the contact information provided above):
- Five Top Questions about Composting Toilets. Fast answers to some of the most common questions people have about compost toilets.
- What are Composting Toilets? A discussion of the basics of a composting toilet system and how it works.
- What is Humanure and What Can I do With It? Answers questions about how to use and the safety of the compost produced by composting toilet systems.
- What Can You Put in a Compost Toilet? Besides the obvious (human waste, toilet paper), there are many other ways most composting toilet systems can be used to process organic household waste. This article discusses the many different ways you can use a compost toilet in your home.
- How Much Do Composting Toilet Cost? If you are considering purchasing a composting toilet, you may initially be surprised by the price tag. But composting toilets are actually an excellent investment for your home, and this article explains why.
- Where Can Composting Toilets be Used? You may be surprised at all the locations suitable for composting toilets.
- What is Wrong with a Flush Toilet? Read this article to find out.
- Are Composting Toilets Safe? This article answers some of the concerns you may have about the safety of composting toilets and humanure.
- What are the Environmental Benefits of Composting Toilets? An excellent discussion of why composting toilets are a good choice for the environment.
- Where can I learn more about composting toilets? For more articles about the fundamentals of composting toilets and how they work, check out the “Composting Toilet Basics” section of this website. To learn about what kind of composting toilet system is right for you, you should check out “Composting Toilet Systems.” If you are interested in reading reviews about different manufacturers of composting toilets, check out the “Composting Toilet Reviews” category of this website. There are also pages devoted to documenting many Online Resourcesfor composting toilets, and suggestions for Books on Composting Toilets that you can read. You can also return to the Toilet Composting Homepage to read the most recent posts about composting toilets.
In A Nutshell
There are cheaper options available for your composting toilet as well. For example, you can go for pine shaving instead of sawdust.
You can easily get the wood shavings for free from a local woodworker. However, you need to ensure the fact that the shavings are not very coarse because they will not be able to lock the smell in this situation.
You can also add other materials in the toilet that include top soil, coconut coir, and kitchen scraps as well. The good news is that these items are more easily available and will not cost you a lot of money as well so try them out.
To make the best use of your waterless toilet, you need to have all the essential information as well.
The best thing to do in this situation is to get hold of books that offer exclusive insight in this regard, and it will just make the job easy for you. This way you will get all the essential insight to use the waterless toilet more effectively. Another important thing to remember is that you should compare the prices of waterless toilets when you are about to buy them.
It is crucial to compare their features as well. This way you will be able to get your hands on a waterless toilet that is worth it.
You can indulge in online research as well and this way you will get a better idea about the most sought after waterless toilets in the market. Follow the advice and get hold of the best bargain.