If you’re starting to explore ways you can better help the environment, live on the move, or otherwise change the plumbing in your home, you’ll definitely want to look into composting toilets.
These unique plumbing fixtures are perfect for off-the-grid living and help conserve water.
What is a Composting Toilet and How Does a Composting Toilet Work
A composting toilet is a type of toilet that’s designed for houses and places that operate off-the-grid, and as a green alternative to more traditional toilets. These are toilets designed to hold solid waste, decompose waste, and ventilate the odor to the outside.
Composting toilets generally come in two basic designs.
Remote Composting Toilet
The first type of composting toilet is called a remote or central toilet.
In this type of toilet, it directly deposits solid and liquid waste to a remote or central composter located away from the toilet. Typically, this composter will be placed in the basement or at an outside location.
For larger homes it is possible to have a central system large enough that it can connect more than one toilet for the house.
Self-Contained Composting Toilet
The second type of composting toilet is the self-contained unit.
The self-contained composting toilet houses its own composting system where the chamber for composting is directly below the bowl.
Self-contained systems are typically found in boats, cabins, cottages, tiny homes, and RVs.
How Does a Composting Toilet Work?
While that all sounds good, there is the question off how does a composting toilet work?
There are numerous types of composting toilets, but some basics remain the same across the various types.
No water is used to flush the waste into a septic tank or sewer, unlike with conventional toilets.
A key mechanical component is that when flushed, there is a separation of both the liquid and solid wastes.
Compost toilets use aerobic bacteria to help break down the waste.
The tank that houses the waste contains wood shavings, leaves or mulch to aid in the composting process.
At the end of the mulching process it ends with a pile of compost soil.
Depending where a person lives a licensed septic hauler has to be hired to haul away the compost soil.
Most use electricity – for powering a heater or fan
Have a compost container
There is an air and exhaust system
Access doors on the container for emptying
Composting Toilet System Types
Continuous and single composters have only a single chamber. When used, the waste goes in the top of the chamber. Later, after use, the waste is removed via a chamber at the bottom.
With a batch, also know as a double composter, there are at least two or more containers with the compost toilet. This kind of system allows for a compost container to be filled and aged. After being allowed to age some additional waste is then put into the container.
Another composting toilet system is called the true toilet, or active system.
A true composter toilet maximizes ventilation with the decomposition. Active systems will include everything that is needed for full operation – including fans, mixers, and heaters.
A last and final system is called the dry toilet, or passive systems. Due to their design they need more maintenance and upkeep than other systems.
The additional upkeep usually involves extra features like added heating for the decomposition process. This system also takes longer to work than others.
The Pros and Cons of Composting Toilets
Like with all things, there are advantages and disadvantages of using composting toilets.
Some of the positives for using a composting toilet include:
Composting toilets are are some of the most environmentally friendly toilets available.
Composting toilets are perfect for use in remote areas.
Composting toilets use less water than standard toilets.
The waste from composted toilets can be recycled and used for growth of non-edible plants.
Of course, there are some negatives to using a composting toilet as well.
Composting toilets require higher maintenance than the more traditional ones
Most composting toilets require electricity.
When composting toilets aren’t properly maintained, insects and odors may become a problem.
When the compost process is complete then the byproduct needs to be removed.
Too much liquid in the compost may slow the decomposition process of the waste materials.
Making a Difference: The Composting Toilet
Composting toilets are the perfect alternative for using in mobile residence like RVs, and tiny homes. They’re much greener than standard toilets, using less water, and turning the waste to something usable for non-edible plants.
Ultimately, the composting toilet isn’t for everyone or every situation. But for living off the grid, and helping to save the planet – these electric run toilets make a huge difference.
KEYWORD: how does a composting toilet work