Looking into the world of composting toilets and the choices I could make to upgrade my humble sawdust toilet is a real eye-opener. It is nice to know there are so many toilet composting systems to choose from. That means there must be more and more people opting to use them.
There is still an awful lot of stigma around the whole subject of compost loos, primarily I suppose because people are scared of what they will be confronted with when it comes to emptying them. Using a manufactured composting toilet means only dry matter is stored and you only ever get to see it when its completely decomposed and looks like soil.
You want to help the environment and use less water, but don’t want to wander around with a bucket of poo every few days, so the commercial waterless toilet seems the right choice. But, lets be honest, they look a little less sleek than your conventional WC. That’s probably why most people who choose them, do so because water is an issue at their holiday cottage or cabin. Looking at all the testimonials it seems most customers of the popular Sun-Mar Compact Self-Contained Composting Toilet do not have them in their permanent home. Necessity seems to be the reason most people choose a waterless toilet, rather than choice. I guess that’s because no matter how efficient and easy to use they are, they do still scream ‘composting toilet’, due to the bulky nature of their design.
Choosing a centralised composting toilet system means the actual WC part of the whole enterprise can look an awful lot more like an ordinary toilet. All the waste storage and composting takes place downstairs out of site. So the toilet you sit on looks very much like any other (though without the cistern).
Using a centralised dry compost toilet means the storage capacity is greater. This means you have to remove completely composted hummus even more rarely than with a self contained version.
The system works in exactly the same way. A vent pipe with fans draws odour and moisture outside while allowing oxygen in to speed up the decomposition of the organic waste. An overflow system is desired so that any build up of liquid can be diverted to a soak-away, septic tank or sewage system. This is rarely likely to be needed as the fan should easily promote the evaporation of all liquid. But in times of extreme cold and heavy use, it is better to have this option available.
The drawback with these systems is the amount of space they require. Many of the toilet composting units are not particularly bulky, but they must be situated directly below the toilet itself, so that waste matter falls from one to the other. The units range in size but start at only around 2 x 2 x 3 feet which isn’t very large. The issue is having space underneath your toilet for it. If you do have some spare space underneath your bathroom this is ideal, here we’d end up with the composting unit in the kitchen which really isn’t that appealing at all.
Another key point is that you can have only one WC per composting unit. So these are still always going to be Eco way of dealing with human waste more suited to holiday cabins or small residential homes.
It seems the only way people can forget they’re using a composting toilet is to hide every trace of it away from the bathroom. So the centralised dry composting toilet is probably the future as far as waterless toilets are concerned. I will have to mention it to MrDB…
For a more self sufficient future