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Pros and Cons of a Composting Toilet

Composting Toilet Facts

If you are wondering about composting toilets and how they work and the practicalities of them, then reading this blog might help.

Are you thinking about getting a composting toilet?

I know it’s a big decision and we would love to help you out.

We have put together a list of the advantages and disadvantages of composting toilets.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick summary of the points:

Pros


  • Eco-friendly as they save water and energy

  • Turn waste into something useful

  • Easy to use, install and maintain

  • Cost-effective over time

  • Small, compact design

  • No drains needed

  • No water is needed or electricity.


Cons


  • You need to empty the toilet

  • They need to be properly maintained


Composting toilet pros and cons

Before we go through the pros and cons it’s important to understand two things: what a composting toilet is and how it works

A composting toilet is a waterless system that breaks down human waste and turns it into A Useable Compost rather than flushing it away. Amazing right?

How does a composting toilet work?

Composting toilets store waste in an aerated chamber directly underneath the toilet seat. Here, it’s dried out and left to turn into compost.

After a few weeks, the waste ie poo, will be unrecognisable.

All you need to do is add in a covering material such as peat moss, sawdust to give your compost a helping hand.

Most composting toilets will have some sort of system to deal with excess liquid waste (urine) as too much liquid can inhibit decomposition and cause poor smells.

If any odours do arise, don’t worry, the toilet's ventilation system will get rid of them.

The liquid waste is either evaporated into a soakaway and is very good for the grounds, as did you know urine can make excellent plant fertilizer?


The type of composting toilet we make

  • Separating toilets – these toilets dry the solid waste so it’s ready to be composted, but you need to empty them and outside the toilet.


Pros of composting toilets

There are many advantages of owning a composting toilet, including being eco-friendly and cost-effective in the long run.

Eco-friendly as you save water and energy

Are you trying to use less water and reduce your environmental impact?

If the answer is yes, then a composting toilet is a no-brainer.

Every time you flush a traditional toilet you use water

These days the average toilet uses 10 litres of water

For one person this equates to an estimated 6000 litres of water per year. That’s 37 baths flushed down the loo.

And it does not stop there.

If your toilet was installed before 1994, then it could be using up to 12000 litres of water per year per person. Enough to fill 80 bathtubs.

In comparison, composting toilets use no water. For us, this is probably one of their biggest pros.

They also use very little energy and have a minimal carbon footprint.

Normally, processing human excrement uses energy in everything from transporting the waste to treating it in dedicated treatment plants. Treating wastewater is a big drain on resources.

When you deal with the waste in-house, there’s no need for all this energy expenditure.

Turn waste into something useful

Composting toilets save your waste and turn it into something useful.

You can use your compost all around your garden

Once the waste in your toilet has completely decomposed, you can use the compost in your garden, as you would use regular compost.

It’s full of all the good nutrients that your plants need to flourish.

The only thing you shouldn’t use this compost on is edible plants.

Easy to use, install and maintain

Composting toilets are very easy to use.

You use them in the same way as a standard toilet. Apart from guys, who have to sit down. Yes, even when it’s just a wee.

A bonus advantage for the women – the toilet seat will never be left up again.

You won’t have to give up any of your luxuries like toilet paper.

When the toilet’s ready to empty, all you need to do is lift the seat up to access the composting matter below.

Composting toilets are also incredibly easy to install. But we do that for you.

If you live in an area with limited access to plumbing and sewer systems these toilets are a lifesaver and if you run a glamping site with no mains then this is the best option.

Lastly, waterless toilets are low maintenance.

They’re simple in design and have almost no moving parts. Put simply there’s nothing to break. And if there’s nothing to break then there’s nothing to fix either.

Cost-effective over time

You might be surprised to see this listed as an advantage.

However, once you consider that all you have to pay for is the one-off purchase, they’re a very cost-effective option.

Compared to a traditional toilet they’ll save you a significant amount of money on water bills and maintenance costs.

You don’t need to worry about paying someone to come and install it for you, and there’s no need to hook it up to a septic system, which can be quite expensive.

If you did have a septic system, there’s also the ongoing cost of having someone come and empty it

Cons of composting toilets

Waterless and composting toilets aren’t without their downsides. A lot of people can be apprehensive about emptying the toilet and the practicalities of day-to-day use.

You need to empty the toilet

We know the thought of having to handle human waste probably doesn’t excite anyone, but does it make you feel queasy?

If you decide to get a composting toilet, add ’empty the toilet’ to your chore list.

Furthermore, if you have a separating composting toilet that doesn’t actively compost the poo, you’ll have to deal with raw solid waste.

The waste should be very dry and won’t smell we promise it's very dry and easy to deal with once you have done it once or twice.

As long as you check the loos don’t overfill there should never be an issue.

They’re not always practical

We wish everyone could have a composting toilet, but sadly that’s not the case.

They work well if you’re living in a rural setting that has plenty of outdoor space to store the compost.

Compost can be cumbersome to store if you don’t have a big garden

Also, think about how much use the toilet will get.

A lot of use? Then it’s worth bearing in mind that waterless toilets have limited capacities.

Have a large family but dead set on getting a composting toilet? Why not buy two?

Need to be properly maintained to prevent odours

Composting toilets are designed to deal with smells but this is down to Maintenace.

As with any toilet, you have to keep it properly maintained to keep it smelling fresh.

Finding a good covering material Sawdust or Peat Moss.


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