What are Composting Toilets?
Composting toilets are a form of “dry toilets” – primarily because they recycle human waste through decomposition and evaporation, and do not water for flushing. The biological process of composting turns human waste into compost-like material, although not all the pathogens are destroyed in the decomposition process. The composting toilet provides an aerobic condition for bacteria and fungi as well as other microorganisms to carry out the composting process.
The water in human waste is evaporated back to the atmosphere, with the solid material being converted to fertilizer. Unlike other toilets, the composting toilets do not use water for flushing and that is why they are referred to as “dry toilets.” Also, unlike traditional bathrooms, they do not have to be connected to a septic tank or sewer systems. Because of their flexible nature, they are commonly used in ecotourism resorts, national parks, remote areas in developing countries, and holiday cottages in rural areas, among other places. Here are more details about composting toilets:
How Does a Composting Toilet Work?
The composting toilet is made up of two major sections: the place where one sits or squats and the composting unit. The composting unit has the composting or storage chamber, ventilation to vent odorous gases, a urine collection and diversion unit to remove excess liquids, and an access door from where the compost is extracted.
Many composting toilets in the market have been designed to collect both urine, water, and fecal matter together. In some cases, some of the bathrooms divert the urine and water, thereby preventing the creation of anaerobic conditions that could impede decomposition or result in odors and other vector problems.
The biggest challenge of composting toilets is odor. The presence of liquids in the composting chamber could impede decomposition or result in odors. Therefore, most people fit them in a seated position, often requiring the minimal introduction of liquid matter.
To function correctly, the toilets are equipped with ample ventilation or employ the use of fans and heaters. Also, a drainage system has to be introduced, to divert urine and remove excess leachate. Urine contains very significant amounts of ammonia, which significantly inhibits the microbiological activity meant to take place within the composting chamber.
The composting chamber has been designed carefully to enhance the process of decomposition effectively. Such happens as the environment in the chamber is properly manipulated. There is a correct balance of oxygen, moisture, organic material, and heat, to ensure the environment within the chamber is correct for aerobic bacteria to do their work. The bacteria are responsible for transforming the waste into fertilizing soil.
When performed correctly, the process is odorless and ensures the complete decomposition of the waste. The end product is waste that is free from pathogens and viruses as the bacteria destroy them in the chamber. The end product can be used on plants or trees as it is nutrient-rich fertilizer. The natural fertilizer eliminates the need for commercial fertilizers and preserves the usage of water.
Benefits of Using a Composting Toilet
1. Ease of installation
The composting toilets can be installed almost everywhere. They are easy to install and are particularly popular in remote areas or areas that do not require permanent residence.
2. Save up on the usage of water
Composting toilets operate just like standard toilets, although they do not require a water source. Since they do not need water for flushing, they save up on water. They are, therefore, the best to use in rural areas or in places where a source of reliable water is unavailable. They are also perfect in places where there is low water pressure or high septic demands
3. Cheap to install
As already mentioned, composting toilets do not require the use of water or a connection to a septic or sewer system. As a result, they have fewer installation requirements, are easy to install, and are cheap to purchase. In fact, most composting toilets go for less than $1,000 and cost less to install.
4. End-products enriching the soil
the compost end products are profitable to the soil as they add nitrogen, calcium, phosphorous, and potassium. It operates as organic fertilizer or manure that can be used to enrich the soil. Additionally, it eliminates the need for an individual to purchase inorganic fertilizers. In residential areas, the products can be used for domestic gardening like in trees, flowers, or other plants.
5. They save up on space
Composting toilets do not require a water connection and, therefore, can be installed literally anywhere. They are, therefore, perfect for places where size is limited and can even be installed outside.
6. They require minimal maintenance
Some toilet models might require you to mix up the compost or add water. Unlike such models, composting toilets only require an installation, and the rest will basically take care of itself. Most models eliminate water and urine, leaving the solid matter to decompose easily by itself.
5 Best Composting Toilets Available on Amazon
1. Nature’s Head Dry Composting Toilet with Standard Crank Handle:
The product is ranked higher as it appears on Google searches. It is self-contained, urine-diverting, and operates without the need for water. It has also been described as lightweight, compact and odorless, and is therefore perfect for one’s home, cabin, workshop, boat, recreational vehicle, or tiny house.
It uses stainless steel hardware, making it ideal for harsh conditions. It weighs 28 lbs and is to be mounted on the floor. It is made in the United States by Nature’s Head and is available on Amazon.
2. Camco Portable Travel Toilet-Designed for Camping, RV, Boating And Other Recreational Activities
The product has over 1,100 ratings on Amazon and goes for less than $100. It is a portable device and has been specifically designed for camping, boating, RVing, and any other recreational activity. It is lightweight and compact, having being made from polyethylene.
It is made up of a 2.5-gallon flush tank and either a 2.6-gallon or 5.3-gallon detachable holding tank. It has sealing slide valve locks to protect against leakage and side latches that secure the tank to the toilet. It weighs 10.8 lbs and 32 lbs when empty and full, respectively. It is made by Camco and is available on Amazon.
3. Nature’s Head Self Contained Composting Toilet with Close Quarters Spider Handle Design
It is yet another product from Nature’s Head. It is portable, self-contained, and separates urine from the other waste materials. It can be used on water, on land and on the road. It is described to have been designed by two sailors who wanted to create a more user-friendly product as compared to those in the market. It is especially beneficial in places where plumbing or electricity is non-existent or complicated, like in vacation cabins, yurts, workshops, trucks, RVs, and barns.
It does not have foul odors and has a low volume air circulation fan, designed to recycle the air in the bathroom. It was initially intended for marine use and therefore has a rugged design and materials meant to make it durable regardless of the environment. It is made in the United States and is available on Amazon.
4. Sun-Mar Corp CCES-01601W SPACESAVER
The product is simply referred to as the Spacesaver by the manufacturer. It is a three-chamber unit and is specially designed for minimal spaces. With a 19″ width and 22″ depth, it is compact enough to be used in a closet or a small corner. It also includes a high-quality turbofan like other electric units.
Unfortunately, the manufacturers admit that with the device, evaporation is limited as there is a small space for the heater and evaporating surface. It, therefore, has to be connected to an external safety drain. It weighs 90 lbs and is available on Amazon.
5. Nature’s Head Composting Toilet with Spider Handle by Nature’s Head
Finally, we have yet another composting toilet from Nature’s Head. It comes with a full five-year warranty where full refunds are available. The seller also offers toll-free personal telephone support as well as advice on composting toilets. For a particular product, it is ideal for RVs, small cottages, or guest rooms.
It eliminates the costly, complicated, inconvenient, and space-consuming holding or septic tank system. It is easy to install, use, and maintain. It is also odorless and can hold up to 80 uses, easily lasting two people an entire summer without emptying. Its end result is an organic compost and not raw sewage. It is made in the United States, weighs 28 lbs and is available on Amazon.