- 1 Top Composting Toilets
- 2 What Is a Composting Toilet?
- 3 How Does It Work?
- 4 Installation
- 5 Types of Composting Toilets
- 6 Benefits of Owning a Composting Toilet
- 7 Composting Toilet Comparison Chart
- 8 Composting Toilets | An Alternative Solution?
- 9 Composting Toilet Types
- 10 Making The World a Greener Place
- 11 Wrap Up!
Although many people have heard of composting toilets, not many actually know the principle by which they work. Composting toilets are mainly dry toilets in which the waste composts or is decomposed by aerobic action. They became popular for use in remote locations like roadside rest stops where there is a limited supply of water and no main drainage. The design of the toilet manages the removal of unpleasant odors by venting the gasses away from where people use the toilet. All require an electrical power source. If an electric supply is not available, a solar panel can be hooked up to supply the necessary power. We have reviewed the three best composting toilet systems below.
In our composting toilet reviews, we will explain how they work and the different methods that different manufacturers use to achieve the best end results. With modern technology, composting toilets have become more efficient and self-contained. They are compact enough to be used in an RV or small boat. The toilets tend to be more expensive than conventional flush toilets, but the fact that they can be used where conventional toilets cannot, nor do they need the plumbing associated with conventional toilets the price begins to look a lot more competitive.
Top Composting Toilets
- Nature’s Head Self ContainedComposting Toilet
- PRICE $$$$
- Water Consumption : Waterless
- Features : Stainless steel hardware, robust construction
- Product Dimensions : 22 x 20.5 x 21.7 inches
- Sun-Mar Excel Self-Contained Composting Toilet
- PRICE $$$$$
- Water Consumption : Waterless
- Features : Bio-drum for processing compost , 100% non-polluting
- Product Dimensions : 33 x 22 1/2 x 33 inches
- Nature’s Head Dry Composting Toilet
- PRICE $$$$
- Water Consumption : Waterless
- Features : Stainless steel hardware, robust construction
- Product Dimensions : 19.8 x 20.8 x 20.5 inches
Nature’s Head Self ContainedComposting Toilet
Nature’s Head composting toilet is a very compact, self-contained toilet. Despite its small overall size, it still has an elongated comfort sized seat. It uses no water to operate and has a urine separator (which typically needs emptying about every two days). The toilet will work at any temperature. Before use, the toilet is filled with about 2 gallons of peat moss, and as the toilet is used the spider-shaped agitator handle is turned a few times to mix the waste with the moss. The toilet needs emptying after about 80 uses. There is a vent pipe with a fan, which operates on either 12v or 110v to remove any odors through a vent pipe.
Sun-Mar Excel Self-Contained Composting Toilet
The Sun-Mar Excel is the bestselling composting toilet in North America. It has a large capacity and can cope with three adults or a family of five on a continuous basis or up to 6 adults on a weekend vacation. The toilet has an electrical heat and vent fan. Under normal circumstances, it can evaporate all liquids. To cope with excessive use or power cuts there is an emergency ½” drain outlet to stop overflows. The seat to the toilet is quite high to accommodate the composting tray in the base. As the toilet is higher than a standard toilet, to make the toilet more comfortable to use a small step is included.
Nature’s Head Dry Composting Toilet
This toilet is very similar to Nature’s Head Self Contained toilet, except that this version comes with a standard crank handle instead of the spider handle. It has the same elongated seat design for added comfort as well as the separator which channels urine into a detachable urine bottle. It makes use of the same optional 12v or 110v vent fan which blows foul odors out through a 5’ outlet pipe. The toilet has a container a lid to remove the waste product and additional containers and lids are available if you want to compost the waste for longer periods. It should be mentioned that some people have found the 5’ outlet pipe a little short when used with an RV, so it could be worth buying some extra piping to extend the waste gas outlet.
What Is a Composting Toilet?
A composting toilet is a type of toilet that uses no, or very little, water to flush the waste away. Instead, the waste is mixed with peat moss or sawdust and left to turn into a harmless fertilizer by aerobic action. Composting toilets are typically found in areas with no water supply and no connection to a drainage system. Alternatively, they are a very practical option for use when camping, in an RV or on your boat.
How Does It Work?
The theory behind composting toilets is very simple. The waste material is allowed to decompose in a similar way to the garden waste in your garden composter. The main difference is in the material being composted. For a composting toilet to work efficiently, three things are needed. Firstly, as the waste is 90% water a vent system is needed to allow the water to evaporate and any odors to dissipate. The environment in which the waste is decomposing must be suitable so that the decomposition can take place quickly. Finally, the finished compost must be safe and easy to handle. Modern, self-contained composting toilets are designed to deal with all these elements with the minimum of effort and input from the owner.
The three examples of composting toilets that we have reviewed are very simple to install. All that is needed is two brackets attached to the floor to secure the toilet in place. An electric supply, either 12v or 110v, is then needed to operate the extraction fan (and heater if fitted). Many toilets have a pipe to vent the gasses and odors, so a hole may need to be drilled to route the pipe to the open air, and that is it. Before first use, the toilet needs to be filled with the appropriate amount of peat moss or sawdust and the toilet is then ready to use. By the time that the toilet needs emptying, much of the unpleasant odors have dissipated and emptied the tray is not an unpleasant task.
Types of Composting Toilets
There are two basic types of composting toilets, self-contained units where the composting unit is part of the toilet and toilets where the composting unit is set away from the toilet. To operate at its most efficient a composting toilet needs a power supply to operate a fan to remove excess gasses and odors. Some units have a heating attachment to speed up the composting action. Although this is not completely necessary it does make the toilet a lot more efficient.
Power can be supplied through a vehicle 12v system or through a standard 110v mains supply. Some toilets can have electric supplied via solar cells, making them truly independent of any external electricity or water.
There are other alternative composting toilets but these rely on natural decomposition and for many people are impractical due to the availability of sufficient land.
Benefits of Owning a Composting Toilet
There are numerous benefits to owning a composting toilet.
- They do not need water for flushing and therefore reduce water consumption
- This reduction in water consumption reduces the need for disposal of waste water
- They are especially suited for new construction at remote sites
- They have a very low power consumption.
- A self-contained system removes the necessity of transportation of wastes for treatment/disposal.
- Composting human waste and burying it around non-edible plants keeps organic wastes adding to the environment.
- Kitchen waste can also be disposed of in composting toilets
- In some states, installing a composting toilet system means that a smaller leach field can be installed at a lesser cost
Along with the benefits, it should be added that composting toilets do have some disadvantages;
- Maintenance of composting toilet systems needs more work and responsibility by both users and owners that with a conventional toilet system.
- If the composting toilet is poorly maintained or incorrectly installed, removing the waste can be an unpleasant job.
Composting Toilet Comparison Chart
|PRODUCT||PRICE||Water Consumption||Product Dimensions||Features|
|Nature’s Head Self ContainedComposting Toilet||$$$$||Waterless||22 x 20.5 x 21.7 inches||Stainless steel hardware, robust construction|
|Sun-Mar Excel Self-Contained Composting Toilet||$$$$$||Waterless||33 x 22 1/2 x 33 inches||Bio-drum for processing compost , 100% non-polluting|
|Nature’s Head Dry Composting Toilet||$$$$||Waterless||19.8 x 20.8 x 20.5 inches||Stainless steel hardware, robust construction|
Composting Toilets | An Alternative Solution?
Turning body wastes into composts is not an unusual concept. Many centuries have passed and composting is still valuable especially for those who are environmentally conscious. Composting toilets or the CT carries out the same idea from the original pit latrine. This technology uses minimal or often times no water at all to flush your waste. It is most often classified as a dry toilet system or a waterless toilet due to its efficiency in reducing water consumption. There are two variations for this toilet, the slow composting or otherwise called moldering toilets, and the active composters.
Composting Toilet Types
The first type, the slow composting, is the most common among the two since it does not require a lot of monitoring and maintenance. These toilets literally take a long period to finish composting the waste since it lacks the normally warmer temperature in garden pits, hence the name. It takes a few months on average for dangerous microorganisms to become destroyed with this type of composting except for the very notorious roundworm, which could take up to a decade. For this reason, it is advisable to use the end product on ornamental flowers instead of food plants. Despite this, it is truly convenient for those who do not want to constantly deal with the waste because it would usually take two years before the chamber needs emptying.
The next variation of composting toilets, the active composters, has two classifications. The self-contained version means the process of composting your waste will take place in the toilet itself and is optionally added with exhaust fans and heaters to help speed up the biological processes. Owners normally include materials such as sawdust to help reduce the unpleasant odor and increase absorption of moisture after usage.
The second type of active composters is the remote system where the composting bin is not inside the toilet but is rather in a specially dug hole in the ground underneath or near the garden. The waste is constantly being transferred to that pit where it decomposes. They could either use little to no water to flush or be equipped with a vacuum. It is suitable for households with more than three persons because of the bigger space allocation for the wastes, although this requires a bit more monitoring to make sure that everything is smooth.
Making The World a Greener Place
As per Guardian Editors, There are many valuable reasons why composting toilets is the way to go. The main factors that make composting toilets work are the temperature, nutrients such as oxygen and carbon, and moisture levels, all of which are controlled within your own home. Unlike regular toilets, it does not go through sewage treatment plants that not only costs more money but also makes our water lines susceptible to pathogens that cause illnesses. Apart from wasting water because of leaking problems, water-borne diseases are potentially dangerous and can even result in death. Also, treatment plants increase our environmental footprint and are tedious to take care of. With composting toilets, we are able to conserve a large percentage of our water resources that usually just go to waste with standard toilets.
In return, water supply is allocated to other sensible things that will benefit those areas that are affected by scarcity, and to improve those that are not. More than anything else, composting toilets help recycle our own body waste into something that is relevant and useful to our environment. The fertilizers that come from this method is usable in our own backyard and does not undergo chemical and artificial processes. Fertilizers today are not necessarily produced from natural ingredients and procedures, which in turn affects not just our health but our ecosystem as well. We may not realize it but these subtle differences in our choice can truly affect the way we live and our contribution to the environment as well.
It may take some time and accurate information for people to ease up to the idea of converting their regular toilets into composting ones. Changing into this type is a major adjustment but as long as you are willing to do it, you will find that it is not as difficult as it may seem.
A composting toilet will not suit everyone. Although composting toilets are safe, clean and efficient, some people will have a psychological aversion to using them. Additionally, a standard flush toilet is much more convenient for many people but, in the right circumstances, a composting toilet is a perfect answer to solving an otherwise difficult problem. In remote areas, it is just not practical or cost effective to arrange a water supply and a sewage disposal system. In an RV, a composting toilet can be much more effective than a chemical alternative. In our best composting toilet reviews, we have looked at the best self-contained units to show you what is possible and the convenience of using a best composting toilet. If they are don’t suit you, check our top 10 toilets list before you purchase!