Over at Rubha Phoil, a sustainable lifestyle project on the Isle of Skye, I had the opportunity to use another type of composting toilet. How lovely! This one was designed for several people to use, with a wet climate in mind.
All composting toilets work in the same way. The key is to keep the crap dry by adding plenty of aggregate. Sawdust, peat moss, cool ash, coconut coir, and dry leaves are all great aggregates.
In the Rubha Phoil toilet, the poop goes in one place (the bucket with the white lid), and the urine in another (the yellow bucket under the blue chair).
The bottom of the poop toilet has a hole, and that goes into a large wheelie bin, which is very practical for emptying. When the bin is full, it is emptied into a composting area, and left for 6 months to a year. This allows the pathogens to neutralize. The result is quite amazing; a peaty, fresh smelling compost perfect for gardening.
Composting toilets are insanely easy to make. They cost next to nothing, and turn your crap into gold. I’ve even got one in my van. It took me about 2 minutes to put together.
All you need for a makeshift composting toilet is a bucket, a toilet seat and aggregate. Line the bucket with a good fat heap of sawdust (or whatever you have to hand), then begin using.
The key to preventing unpleasant smells is the amount of aggregate.
Do you have to separate your urine?
This depends on your climate, your type of composting toilet, and how much aggregate you can lay your hands on. I never separated mine in Turkey, in my simple box style composting loo. In a very cold, wet climate (Scotland) I'd say separating is advisable. But if you have enough sawdust/ash etc, you can get away with some mixing.
The Bottom Line
Throwing the world’s most precious resource (clean drinking water) in a flush toilet, and then mixing poop into that clean water to create a polluted, pathogen breeding mess which then requires a treatment plant that squanders megawatts of energy to neutralize, is nothing short of mass lunacy. Some day it will be called an ecocrime.
Many thanks to the Mud Sustainers supporting this site!
Atulya K Bingham
"Beautifully written and inspiring." The Owner Builder Magazine.
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