Composting toilets do not require any water and are therefore better for the environment than traditional toilets. Make your own composting toilet or learn more about how they work with our advice.
This idea of using a composting toilet on vacation or in an allotment is easily disregarded as an eco-movement gimmick. The composting toilet, on the other hand, evolved at the same time as the modern water closet during the nineteenth century.
In addition to being hygienic, modern composting toilets can also look just as good as a water closet. It is covered in this article how to build a composting toilet and what it can do for you, as well as a DIY guide and a list of manufacturers to get you started.
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What is a Composting Toilet
The term “composting toilet” can refer to either a dry toilet or a toilet that produces humus. It is commonly used with no water at all. Because human faeces contains significant plant nutrients that can be utilised in fertiliser and compost, it’s important to get it back into the nutrient cycle as soon as possible.
Humus toilets differ from chemical toilets and plum toilets in this regard since human excrement is not utilised in these versions before being disposed of. In terms of both ecology and economics, composting toilets make a lot of sense. Instead of polluting our water cycle with faeces and afterwards having to clean it up in sewage treatment plants, composting toilets allow us to keep the nutrient and water cycles separate indefinitely.
There is also no need for a costly – and in some cases, impossible – connection to the sewage sewer system. Composting toilets have long been utilised in remote, rocky settings near sources of water in Scandinavian countries.
The composting toilet’s history is already divided into various sections: In the Victorian era, a priest in England named Henry Moule designed and copyrighted what is now known as the earth toilet. Separate toilets were also used for a long time in many German cities; urine was piped out to meet a “clay wall” before being discharged.
The liquid was absorbed by the wall, and crystalline calcium nitrate was left behind after the water evaporated. Since potassium nitrate was used in the production of black powder, this was regularly removed by the so-called saltpetre and advantageously sold to fertiliser manufacturers or ammunition makers. Here’s a video showing the saltpetre workers at work.
Composting Toilets Structure and Functioning
Collection toilets and dry separation toilets are the two types of composting toilets. They, too, have a toilet seat and a lid, just like any other toilet. They differ from toilets in that they have an exhaust system as well as a tank for waste. A suction action akin to a fireplace chimney enables good compost material ventilation and good air quality at the composting toilet. In any case, structural material usage is critical as well. It’s recommended to use natural materials with a high C/N ratio (high carbon to nitrogen ratio) in compost piles to absorb excess fluids, loosen compost and offer a carbon source for bacteria that break down organic matter. You can review the C/N ratio and carbon content in our special article on humus management if you’d want to do so.
Conventional composting toilet or “collection toilet”
Solids, as well as liquids, are not kept separate in this approach; instead, they are combined in a single container. This can be used in a variety of ways, depending on the design.
- A biodegradable bag can often alleviate the problem of emptying the container once it has been filled with particles and liquids. After that, everything can be composted in a composter as a single entity.
- Solid faeces are composted in a composter located under the toilet seat. Liquid can soak into the ground, be dumped into the sewer system, or be utilised as a liquid fertiliser with high concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorus. Fresh and finished compost can be removed after the composter has been gradually emptied using the removal flap.
- A combination tank receives both solids and liquids. After that, they’re kept apart until they’re both gone.
Composting toilet with urine separation or “dry separation toilet” (TTC)
Urine and excrement are collected separately from the start in the dry separation toilet. To make liquid fertiliser, the pee is either dumped into the sewer system or captured and reused in a diluted form. However, the solids are either composted in a receptacle under the toilet or collected dry and regularly delivered to the composter. From above, a flap may be used to obscure the composter’s contents.
How to use a composting toilet
Everyone should be able to figure out how to use a composting toilet on their own. Composting toilets, on the other hand, operate in a variety of ways.
- Bark mulch, bark chips, or wood shavings are used as a “sprinkling.”
- Rinsing the urine separator with a little water may be necessary in certain situations.
- Urine canisters need to be cleaned out on a frequent basis, depending on how many people are using it and what size canister they have.
- Remove the solid part, either for composting or as completed compost, according to on the model you’re using.
It’s ridiculous to throw away urine that hasn’t been used. It’s an excellent fertilizer because of the high levels of nitrogen and other plant nutrients it contains. You can find out more about the advantages and disadvantages of using pee for fertilization by clicking on this link.
Perfect Location for a Composting Toilet
There are numerous applications for composting toilets. Below you’ll find a list of all the different sites where you can use a quiet small toilet.
Composting toilet in the house
A dry separation toilet is an excellent option if you want to put in a composting toilet in your house. Due to the fact that installing a large-volume composter under a silent toilet would need installing a permanent large-volume composter in the house. Do-it-yourself construction of toilets is the norm because they should blend in with the rest of the bathroom’s décor. Kits are employed in this situation since they provide the toilet’s functional core. The set’s size and scope are flexible. The toilet can then be designed in whatever way you like all around. Composting toilet kits for permanent residences can be found here to learn more about how to build one.
Composting toilet in a mobile home
Even if you live in a mobile home or sail the seas, you can still use a composting toilet. It’s best to utilize a toilet with a dry separation because the emptying interval will be much longer if the pee is separated. Also, urine and excrement alone do not produce foul odors.
On trips longer than three weeks or with more passengers, the dry excrement bag can be discarded in the residual or organic garbage. Alternatively, in an emergency, the bag can be buried so that nature takes care of the recycling. When the chance occurs, liquid waste should be collected and properly disposed of.
Composting toilet at the summer house
If a separate toilet house is being built, the composting toilet can be directly connected to the collection toilet. To make this work, the toilet must be built high enough to accommodate a composter underneath. However, this type of sizing is rarely required. Small-to-medium-sized combined models can be purchased and placed in an existing cottage with little to no hassle.
Composting Toilets Legal Requirements & Permissions
Composting toilets are permitted in some nations, but illegal in others. There are no laws for community gardens, such as those found in apartment buildings, where the use of composting toilets is commonplace but allowed.
Human excrement cannot be spread on land used for commercial horticulture or agriculture. However, they can be transformed into hygienic compost and used after being composted at a recycling facility.
Indeed, germs that pose a threat to people can be found in the waste products of our activities. They must first be “sanitized” before they can be utilized on food production land. Composting or pasteurization both help with hygiene. The former should last at least two years, according to the WHO, while the latter can be completed in around two hours in a sufficiently sized oven.
Planning permission may be required for the construction of a stationary composting toilet that stands alone. This is something that should be clarified prior to beginning building. Furthermore, up to a daily output of 10 tonnes, composting operations are exempt from needing a permit.
Building Your Own Composting Toilet
Which of the composting toilets listed above is best for your location will depend on your needs. Composting toilets that are ready-made are nearly always built entirely of plastic and have a functional design, so if you want something more aesthetically pleasing, you’ll have to build your own.
If you’re thinking about making your own composting toilet, we suggest starting with parts from a kit. The following section will provide you with a step-by-step breakdown of how to construct your own composting toilet. We’ll utilize a separate-privy model in this scenario.
As a result, you’ll have a dry toilet. It is important to keep in mind, however, that in order to install an exhaust pipe, you must first breach the wall. Toilets with limited space, on the other hand, don’t require any ventilation at all.
Materials Required to Build Composting Toilet
- Kit for separating liquids.
- Solids go in a bucket, the liquid goes in a canister with a lid.
- Basic cabinet and top plate construction materials and tools. We’ll assume a wood substructure for the purposes of these directions. Other building materials are certainly an option.
- A pipe with a minimum outside diameter of 75 millimeters for the installation of the exhaust air. There are several possibilities here: bends, gaskets, and pipe lubricant.
- Having a composter or even a bio or residual waste rubbish bin is required for the first time you empty it.
Instructions to Build a Composting Toilet
- The first step is to build a base cabinet, which will house the two collection containers for solids and liquids.
- Build it so that you can sit comfortably in it. Seating comfort can be improved by rounded or beveled edges. To place feet in very tall catch basins, a raised step may be required. Installing a lockable door to conceal the receptacles and other toilet accouterments is also critical.
- The next step is to put the toilet seat in the base cabinet’s top plate. To achieve this, cut a hole in it and insert the seat, ideally with foam sealing tape. Then, saw an appropriate lock into it. Here, too, take care of the future seat placement. The seat should be as far forward on the edge as possible, especially for tiny people. Silicone should be used to completely seal the seat.
- Install the exhaust pipe and finish the job. The pipe should be inserted up to the position of the collection container and fixed into place after being drilled a suitable hole in the cover plate or the rear wall to accommodate the pipe. The exhaust air pipe has now been extended to the opening in the wall with bends and additional pipes. A rain guard must be installed on the outside. Retaining clips hold the pipe in place, and the intake to the base cabinet is sealed with tape. Of course, you must also seal and insulate the wall opening. To prevent the exhaust pipe from cooling the entire room with outside air, it may be necessary to hide the pipe behind paneling.
- Place the trash can under the toilet seat and the solids collection bin on top of it. This has a biodegradable bag inside of it. The urine separator’s hose must be tucked away in a container. Tightness is important here as well. The hose should be inserted through a hole in the lid for the greatest results. As an added bonus, while carrying the canister, consider using a lid without a hole.
- Finally, the time has come to put your composting toilet to good use. To make cleaning easier, we suggest oiling or painting the substructure with water-resistant paint. Furthermore, a box for structural material as well as a small shovel or trowel are still required.
Compost Disposal from Composting Toilets
Composted feces can be used in ornamental gardens without fear of contamination, as explained in the legal difficulties section. If you’re looking for more information about proper composting, click here. However, before being used in the kitchen garden, the compost must be aged for two years or pasteurized for two hours at 70°C. It’s possible to use diluted urine or to dump it into the sewer.
For those who don’t want to bring their own trash, there’s an organic waste bin available. This gives you a significant ecological advantage while also closing the nutrient cycle through the use of a recycling yard for further processing. Furthermore, the hot rotting process ensures total sanitation, preventing the transmission of disease.
Perhaps one day, when perusing the market, you’ll stumble across vegetables that were cultivated using your manure compost.
Do you know about the Bokashi composting trend? In place of the traditional compost pile, we present you with this innovative solution.