Composting toilets have come a long way from the traditional outhouse in the woods. They originated in Sweden and have been available in the U.S. for 30 years. More and more eco-conscious people are choosing to switch to a composting toilet to save water, money and not add to waste water management problems worldwide.
They are self-contained units that literally compost human waste called ‘humanure’. The toilet is a box with a round drum that can be turned and is fitted with a behind friendly toilet seat. You add one cup or more of a compost-able medium such as peat moss, sawdust or straw to the toilet each day. After using the toilet you give the drum a few spins to aerate the compost.
They basically work the same way that your household compost pile works. These toilets require a vent to the outside for proper airflow. Oxygen helps the natural bacteria in fecal matter break down into safe usable compost.
Some toilets use electricity to keep the compost at the best temperature for decomposition and to burn off excess liquid. Toilets also work best if operated in temperatures above or at 64 degrees Fahrenheit. There is no smell due to ventilation and no bugs due the carbon monoxide created by the compost itself. Once composting is complete, all you are left with is peat moss texture humus that is safe to use for landscaping.
Why make the change?
Conserve water. Traditional toilets use 2 – 5 gallons of water per flush. This water goes into the sewage system along with kitchen and other household water. Household water flows into the sewer along with industrial and chemical waste. This mix is called ‘black’ water. It is then treated and processed by the local waste management facility.
Waterless toilets eliminate water waste from flushing and keep sewage out of the water systems; which means less processing, less chemical use and less illegal dumping into lakes and rivers.
Waterless toilets help you save money because they do not require any special chemicals or a septic system.
Want to make the switch?
Check with your local plumbing codes, EPA, and townships rules and regulations. Weblife.org is a great resource that lists rules by state. Only a few states do not allow waterless toilets. Toilets must be NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) Certified.
Take the plunge and show off your new environmentally friendly addition to your household.