How to build a composting toilet

Sorry, did you say “composting toilets”?

In the future, human waste will be a valuable resource instead of just something gross to get rid of. Currently over 90% water, excrement will just wash back into the atmosphere like a good rain. There is a small amount of remaining solid material, but it uses natural decomposition to turn into a healthy organic soil that can even be used in gardening projects!

composting toilet

A composting toilet is similar to a waterless toilet. It’s a toilet that separates the water from the waste. These toilets are typically made of plastic, but they can be made of wood. They both use bacteria to break up waste into usable fertilizer, and some have fans that pull air through for your comfort. Composting toilets are popular in developing areas due to their environmental friendliness, low cost and ease of use. In the future consumers may choose to have composting toilets both for price, as well as for the lower environmental impact.

Why would you want to have one? They’re eco-friendly and eliminate the need for so much landfill waste. And they’re environmentally friendly too. These toilets are also generally more comfortable than using any of the other types of toilets people use today, but that’s not actually their top benefit. The top benefit of a composting toilet is that it helps preserve water and lowers the amount of water used in an average day by about a third.

composting toilet

How does a composting toilet work?

It works by separating urine from faeces. The urine is wicked away so it doesn’t contaminate the compost process. This leaves only the semi-dry faeces behind. The advantage of this is that the faeces can be safely composted while sterilizing the urine.

It’s technically a toilet that is powered by bacteria. What happens in a composting toilet is that bacteria turn all of the waste into compost instead of water. The process takes 6 to 8 weeks and the compost is removed once it’s finished.

composting toilet

The small amount of remaining solid material in the composting toilet is converted to useful fertilizing soil by natural decomposition. This natural process, essentially the same as in your garden composter, is enhanced in commercial composting toilets by manipulating the environment in the composting chamber.

The composting chamber is kept warm and moist, and the  material to be composted is turned periodically, to keep the composting process moving. When the compost process is complete, the resulting soil-like material is removed from the toilet and can be used as a fertiliser for growing plants.

The magic of microbes

The  process of turning your waste into compost is driven by microbial action. Microbes, bacteria, fungi, and other tiny organisms such as nematodes, are present in huge numbers in the environment. A single teaspoon of garden soil contains 4 billion to 10 billion microbes. Microbes are the true masters of the composting process.

There’s a problem with how people generate waste in developed countries like the U.S or Australia. Without proper waste management, the landfills take up too much space and they take up more energy to be made into something. Composting toilets are amazing ways to reduce the amount of waste you make. They help maintain our ecosystems and our waste management systems.

composting toilet

One of the coolest things about installing a composting toilet at home is the ability to let your waste go to waste- without the pollution, toxins, and health dangers of the non-composting commode. Composting toilets can save up to 30 gallons of water per person, per day and are a great option for staying green. They work with a controllable heating element and a fan, which can be set to two different temperatures. Also, toilets that compost are a great option for someone who wants to live off the grid, as it requires no water or electricity. Composting toilets are a greener, healthier, and more practical choice.

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Miriam Fetterman