How Does A Composting Toilet Work?

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Last Updated on August 6, 2022 by acechapman

Composting toilets can save water and energy. They divert waste from traditional plumbing systems and turn it into compostable material. We will discuss how does composting toilet work and all other factors.

Traditional toilets flush waste into septic tanks or the sewer. What if this is not an option or you prefer something more environmentally friendly? Some people choose to compost their toilets out of necessity or because they are more eco-friendly.

There have been many factors that have contributed to increasing awareness and changing perceptions in recent years. These include tiny homes and a growing interest in green living. Composting toilets are attractive because of their cost-effectiveness, water scarcity, and installation costs.

What is a composting toilet?

You may know what a toilet looks like. But, what does composting mean? Composting is an organic process that recycles organic material into fertilizer or soil conditioner. We think of composting grass clippings and leftovers. As the name suggests, a composting toilet composts human waste. It works in the same way as a fertilizer, by collecting solid waste and then incorporating it into a carbon-rich material.

Why consider a composting toilet?

It is possible to wonder why composting toilets would be ideal for some people. You already have sewers, septic systems, and fertilizer for your plants.

Traditional toilets use water to flush human wastes into our sewer systems. Composting toilets, on the other hand, require very little or no water at all. Additionally, composting toilets are able to transform waste into valuable material.

Many locations, including RVs, boats, and remote houses, lack septic systems or plumbing. When there are no other options, you can use composting toilets to dispose of your wastes.

How Does It Work?

The composting toilets are able to separate liquids and solid wastes. When the bottle is full, liquids are collected and disposed of. A mechanized hatch is used to collect the waste and add carbon-rich materials like coconut husks or sphagnum moss. The users then use a crank to mix and agitate the materials in order to kickstart the composting process.

Types Of Composting Toilets

There are many types of composting toilets, but the main difference lies in the location where composting takes place.


Self-contained toilets are those that contain compostable waste. These toilets can be equipped with separate tanks or bins to dispose of both liquid and solid waste. With the help of sphagnum peat moss or another material, solid waste can be composted in the container. These containers make great portable toilets for boats and campers. You can either dump the compost into a compost pile or into a bag where you can compost the waste.

Split Or Central System

Split or central toilets are similar to flush toilets. They use a pipe system to send waste to a tank, or hopper. This creates compost that is not generated by the toilet. Split-system toilets can provide the experience of a traditional bathroom.

how does composting toilet work

Composting Toilet Features

Self-contained toilets are a little cheaper compared to Split Systems. Both options can run on electricity. This fan helps dry materials and vent gases. Many models can also run on solar energy. Vacuum flush models are available for advanced models. The temperature at which composting takes place naturally is 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Other models might include sensors or heating elements that allow for the process to continue in cooler climates.

Composting Toilet Misconceptions 

Many people use composting toilets for their environmental and economic benefits. There are a few things you might not know about composting toilets.


No. By keeping liquids and solids separated and drying solid waste, composting reduces the risk of harmful bacteria.

Foul Odor

Does it really smell? No, it doesn’t smell. Many people say that traditional toilets are worse than composting ones. Separating liquids from solids, carbon-rich materials, and a venting system that vents gasses out of the system are key to reducing odors.

Using Toilet Paper

Some people think that toilet paper is off-limits in these facilities. However, it can usually compost with all other items.

Bugs and Insects

If there are any, it’s likely that there is a problem in the overall system.

Wrapping Up

There are many reasons why homeowners decide to install a composting bathroom. Normally, it’s often cheaper than digging septic tanks or hooking up to the sewer. Others might be passionate about conserving water or living an eco-friendly life. Hopefully, it does explain some of the queries longing to be answered about “how does a composting toilet work?”.

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