What is a Composting Toilet?

1 comment Apr 6, 2021
Welcome to ShopTinyHouses' 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 get started!

How is composting toilet different from a traditional toilet? 

The traditional flush toilet is what we are all use to. You deposit your liquids and solids, flush, and the waste is carried in the water to somewhere else. For a lot of setups the waste will usually end up at municipal sewer system and waste treatment facility. To make a flush toilet work you need access to a constant water supply and a line to a treatment plant or septic tank.
Now if you have a limited water resource and do not have access to the sewer and no septic system, then you will need to find another way to deal with waste. There is the commonly used outhouse, but if you have ever been to an outdoor event with porta potties, then you'll know that an outhouse often smells awful, a potential long-term health hazard, and inconvenient as you would need to leave your living area in order to go to the bathroom. 
So what is the alternative? 

Compost toilets are a good alternative to traditional toilets. 

Composting toilets are the modern alternative. A composting toilet it water-less and will turn your human waste into safe and usable compost. The compost toilet takes the waste just like the flush toilet. The main difference is that the waste is stored and requires someone to regularly turn or spin it to help the composting process along. Just like a regular garden composter, the compost in the toilet needs to be turned to help the waste break down faster. In order to help the compost process along and keep the smell manageable, you will have to add additional materials into the compost contained area. Depending on the type of toilet you have this can range from peat moss, sawdust, or even popcorn. 

Compost toilets are very popular among the off-grid, mobile, and tiny home community. 

portable compost toiletDepending on your needs and environment there is a composting toilet for you. If your toilet is on the move and mobile, you will need a toilet that can handle violent motion or jarring motion without splashing, spilling or leaking.  Nature's Head dry composting toilet was originally designed for boats and is one of our many toilets that works well on the road.  Often times, water is a valuable resource, so having a water-less toilet system means that you can avoid flushing water down the toilet.  Composting toilets help you save water while providing an essential need, to help you make a home where ever you are. 

Composting toilets recycles your waste into a usable fertilizer.  

Now for those that aren't familiar, compost is nutrient rich soil used in gardens that is created through the process of composting. Composting is the natural process of recycling organic material (in this case human waste). Through this process, the human waste decays into an organic material that is used as a plant fertilizer.

In nature when animals poop, their waste naturally goes through the composting process, creating nutritious soil for the plants around them. The compost toilet just accelerates the process by removing the moisture from the poop, creating an environment for microbial activity, mixing with the oxygen to cause a temperature increase. This process kills the harmful pathogens through aerobic decomposition. So when used correctly, composting toilets can turn your human poop into fertilizing soil. 

To get an idea of what compost toilets are out there check out our compost toilet page.

1 comment

  • Penny Burt March 29, 2018 at 4:52 pm

    If you are physiologically unable to separate poop from urine, does that mean you cannot use a composting toilet – or are there other types?

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