How Urine Diverting Compost Toilet Works

Mar 29, 2018
Welcome to ShopTinyHouses' bi-weekly blog series a beginner's guide to the composting toilets. This series is great if you are starting new in off-grid, mobile, or tiny home living. This guide will walk you through the basics in bite size visual format in with info-graphics, videos, and photos.
Our goal is to help you build up the essentials of your home. If you are interested in having all of the information about composting toilets, please read our Ultimate Composting Guide and Review!
It is a resource rich with information to help you make your choice. As always please feel free to message us with any questions, as we are here to help. So let's learn about Urine Diverting Toilets! 

Introduction to Urine Diverting Compost Toilet 

A Urine Diverting Compost Toilet, like the Nature's Head, works by separating the solid and the liquid waste into two separate compartments. The separation is key to creating disposal waste and to minimize smell of a toilet. In fact, compost toilet smells better than a traditional flush toilet. When poop and urine mix together it creates sewage creating the smell that you associate with typical toilet. 

When you separate your poop and your urine you are creating two reusable materials that can be put back into the environment. In this article we will be covering the benefits of the urine diverting compost toilet, how compost is made, and how to dispose of your urine and compost once you are done. 

Benefits of Urine Diverting Compost Toilet: 

  • Smells less than a regular toilet 
    • Works by separating liquid waste from solid waste
    • Built in fans that vents out bad odors outside 
  • Environmentally friendly 
    • Saves a lot of water and energy 
    • Not adding waste to local waste plant 
  • Free plant food 
    • Turns poop to usable compost
    • Separate urine can be used a nitrogen rich fertilizer for old trees 
  • Easy installation  

Compost toilet and poop 

So your solid waste goes in your solids bin and is mixed in with a compost medium (also known as bulking material). In the Nature's Head toilet we recommend peat moss or coco fiber. By rotating the solids with the compost medium you start to make your compost. 

How the compost toilet process human poop: 

  • Evaporate the moisture from the poop
    •  90% of waste is typically water and the waste will evaporate quickly in the compost.
    • A vent system allows the evaporated liquid to escape into the the outside air. 
    • A healthy active compost pile should not be wet, but it needs to be moist to help break down the poop quickly. 
  • Bulking material helps break down waste more quickly without odor 
    • Composting minimizes poop smell in your bathroom. Human waste left on its own takes a long time to break down and creates stinky smells. But this is not the case when you compost it! 
    • Bulking materials such as coco fiber and peat moss help break down the waste more quickly. They also gives you a end product that is safe to handle and use 
    • Bulking materials ensure the proper aeration of the compost pile. This lets oxygen assist in breaking down the solid waste. 
  • Produce compost that is safe, usable, and easy to handle.  
    • If your system is working properly, you will have a nutrient rich soil.
    • You will not see or smell human waste, just compost. 

How to dispose of your compost pile: 

  • Emptied into a compost pile or bin 
  • When completely composted, you can add it to your garden. 
  • Buried 
  • Disposed in a bag and put in the trash  

Compost toilet and urine

Now bacteria in your poop will die if it is dry, however, if you add urine to it it will encourage bacteria growth, making it unsafe and smelly. That's what make normal sewage unsafe and stink. So it is important for urine to be separate from your poop.  

How to maintain Urine container: 

  • Urine container needs to be emptied on a more regular basis than the solids bin. This will vary depending on number of users and frequency of use. 
  • Adding vinegar into your urine liquid bottle will help reduce smell. 
  • Urine is sterile when it leaves the body, posing no health risks. 

How to dispose of Urine: 

  • Urine by itself is great for mature trees
  • Urine can be mixed with 8 parts water to 1 part urine and safely disposed to anywhere you like. 
  • If you want to use it for plants, you need to dilute the urine with water. Urine is full of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. Plants thrive on this! Since urine is so concentrated you will need to dilute it with water if you will want to use it for your plants. 
  • If the above options are not available, then most safe and approved alternatives of disposal can be obtained form your local Environmental Protection, Public Health, and Building departments. 

Interested in learning more? Check out some of one of the top rated compost toilet: Nature's Head Dry Composting toilet.



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