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What are compost toilets?

You have probably heard of compost bins, but have you heard of compost toilets? In the olden days, almost all toilets were compost toilets! But you will find that apart from rural regions, some people in the urban areas are also using compost toilets.

With increasing awareness about sustainability, water wastage, and all other kinds of environmentally-conscious concepts, environmentalists and people who care about the earth are switching from modern toilets to compost toilets.

Compost toilets do not use water and flushing systems; instead, they convert human manure into soil nutrients. No wastewater is produced in the process, and it cuts waster wastage down by 30% if you’re careful with its usage.

Easy Set-Up:

Composting toilets are incredibly easy to set up. You won’t need professional help from plumbers. Furthermore, you won’t require a toilet fill valve.

Also, you won’t be wasting water flushing it, making it excellent for water-scarce areas. The toilet has no objectionable odour when the solid and liquid wastes are divided.

How They Work:

Good composting toilets let the liquid waste go down to a separate area through holes and separate the solid wastes. This separation is good because they don’t create a nasty smell once separated. You can use manure to fertilize your garden soil.

Composting toilets also avoid the costs of conventional treating wastewater by eliminating the water use associated with conventional toilets. They extract phosphorus and nitrogen from human manure, which can then be used as fertilizers and locally.

How To Use Them:

Now you will probably be surprised when you look at the design of a compost toilet. With no drains and water supply, where does the waste go? How does it convert to fertilizer? How long should you leave the waste inside the reserve? Will it smell?

Well, using a compost toilet is not that hard. When you newly buy it, we recommend putting some dry peat moss in it. Peat moss is anti-bacterial and slows down the reactions that produce nasty odours. This isn’t compulsory, but we strongly advise that you do it.

In modern composting toilets, a trap door will separate the liquid and solid wastes from one another to reduce excessive moisture in the toilet and thus reduce odour. Don’t worry, though; you won’t have to separate your liquid and solid waste yourself!

A trap door for solid waste opens by pushing a lever. So when you are going for solid waste (feces), you can open the trap door and use it like that. However, for liquid waste, do not open the trap door. All the urine will enter the liquid chamber through perforations when you urinate.

After you’re done, close the trap door.

Emptying the waste chamber:

Now, of course, all the wastes won’t stay inside the toilet forever! You will have to empty it from time to time. After every 2-3 days, get rid of the liquid waste. So empty the liquid container more.

Why? Well, because too much moisture from the liquid waste can lead to a very smelly situation in your compost toilet!

For solid waste, you will have to wait till about 90 uses to empty the chamber. This is because you have to give it time to decay and convert it into fertilizer for you. After the 90 uses are complete, just empty the container into your garden or fields to fertilize your plants.

Tips For Using Compost Toilets:

1. Most people use toilet paper after using the lavatory. But since you are keen on keeping the environment safe, use toilet paper that will quickly degrade and match the pace of the compost degradation.

2. If you think your compost toilet is starting to smell bad or even anticipate that it could smell bad soon, just add sugar to the compost waste every day. Sugar is good with lowering odour from urine and might just be your hero.

3. Empty the liquid tank as much as you can. While moisture is important for the degradation process, too many cooks spoil the broth! Well, let’s hope compost dump is not what we’re eating today! The point is, too much moisture will lead to a bad odour that can be a major mood-kill.

4. Another important top is to keep track of the temperature. Aerobic bacteria are the bacteria that perform the whole bio-degradation process and convert your waste into something useful. To work, these bacteria need a temperature in the range of 60 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. So try looking for a compost toilet that has a thermometer or temperature sensor included to maintain the right temperature.

5. Sometimes, the smell from the compost toilet might get too much for you. While there is a fan inside a compost toilet, it is meant only for drying the solid waste and accelerating the degradation process, and not for reducing odour. So if you feel like the room leeks from compost, have an exhaust fan in place to get the nasty smell out.

6. You can sprinkle ashes or soil onto the waste in the collection chamber to cover up the waste, so it doesn’t reek. You can also put in leaves or pine shavings if the smell is getting too much for you.

7. Never put water or other liquids into the collection chamber. That will cause a really bad odour, and you do not want that, trust me! Keep liquids as far away as you can from the chamber. Not only will the waste smell, but the liquids will also slow down the degradation process tremendously. So be careful!

Needless to say, Compost toilets are useful for a variety of reasons. Reducing water wastage should be everyone’s concern. While compost toilets are not everyone’s cup of tea, they are surely an interesting innovation for water-scarce areas and for farms where fertilizer is constantly needed.

Just think of how much money you save when you aren’t flushing so many times a day. Not only will you be saving on heavy water bills, but you’ll also be doing a really noble thing for the environment when you invest in a compost toilet!

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TINY HOUSE Composting Toilet – How We Pee & Poop

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