Simply put a composting toilet is an indoor toilet receptacle designed to aid in converting our human “waste” into nutrient rich soil.
One of the most common interests in our tiny house has been the bathroom…more specifically the toilet. What happens when you poop in a tiny house? Where does it go? You mean you don’t flush it away?
So here we are, talking about what happens when you don’t use our limited clean water resources to “flush away” our excrement.
Why use a composting toilet –
- Requires no water
- Lower cost
- Off grid capabilities
- Valuable soil production suitable for horticulture or agriculture use
- Makes having a grey water recycling system easier/more possible
- Underground sewer leakage is not an issue
- No plumbing
- No chemicals
- Smells less then a flush toilet!
This last point you may not believe, but in proper use this is an undeniable truth. We have checked out some friends composting toilets and due to natural materials such as saw dust soaking up the stench they generally smell less or not at all! You can use peat moss, saw dust or even coffee grounds as a cover after each use. Typically, if there is still a smell it means you need to add more cover material.
These organic cover materials aid in the breaking down process as well. Once the receptacle is full, yes, you have to empty it into a larger outdoor compost bin. This practice doesn’t leave much room for our “out of site, out of mind” ways we are accustomed to. This outdoor compost bin is where our food scraps will be recycled as in common backyard composting. The addition of human “waste” to the composting process actually adds a much needed nitrogen/carbon balance and creates an even more nutritious soil. Once proper temperature is reached and the contents has been composting for 1-2 years you will have dirt! No chemicals, no waste, no pollution…just good old usable dirt.
These toilets can be self made as ours will be,looking something like this…
Or they can be purchased, looking more like this…
An extremely helpful resource on this topic has been the “The Humanure Handbook” by Joseph Jenkins.
The quote that deeply struck me was “when the ego and the eco are balanced, the person lives in harmony with the planet. Such a balance can be considered to be the true meaning of spirituality, because the individual is a conscious part of, attuned to, and in harmony with a greater level of actual being.”
The act of being in tune with the rhythm of the planet that sustains our life seems like the way to live!
Our research of waste disposal systems, composting toilets, our unsustainable and inadequate water treatment facilities have brought us to believe in the possibility that utilizing a compostable toilet will not only be beneficial to the environment but also a truly humbling exercise to practice.
***There will be a Part 2 to this post which will include the making of our compost toilet and a review once we’ve been using it full time for a month or so.