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.
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1/8/2017 05:26:37 pm
Thanks for sharing this information with me. Your post are very helpful
2/8/2017 12:23:36 pm
1/8/2017 11:40:19 pm
Appreciate the new info - for my own knowledge, plus have sometimes had questions on the composting loo options available.
2/8/2017 12:24:09 pm
Yes, you can never have too many composting toilet options:)
2/8/2017 06:27:10 am
Very useful info. I have a bucket plus seat (fits better on an oval mop bucket) in our caravan, separate screw top plastic jar for pee, but trowel and water is fine for wild camping if plenty of space. For a homestead I like the outside privy, here on Brittany many people have composting loos in their homes. Fine as long as they're well maintained - using organic matter. Paper if used goes in a separate bin to be burned. Two buckets is ideal, if room, but sealed covers needed when travelling! Sawdust is plentiful, if not chopped straw or leaves is good. Not sure about peat heather etc as it's not so eco to remove it from situ just for personal daily needs. I'm looking for volunteers to help create a forest garden in Brittany. A place to camp and simple food provided... Email please, wooffing t & c apply.
3/8/2017 01:22:42 am
at 3 moons project in desert near Death Valley have a couple of about 2 feet, less than one meter,with bucket with bottom cut out, scorpions etc! can't crawl up! pee and poo, add water, plus handfull of wood chips: muck out when needed with post pole digger take to a composting pile, sometimes water and cover for a year or so; trees happy : we too !
29/6/2018 03:21:40 pm
Hi Atulya, what when you're using different types of medicine? I use f.i. medicine for my cholesterol, blood pressure, Ferro tablets and also use insulin because I'm a diabetic. I was just wondering if I was to build a compost toilet in Sicily, would it be safe to put this compost with my veggies? Best regards, Jan.
29/6/2018 11:36:20 pm
It's a good question Jan, I'll ask my permie expert friend about that. But if it's gone through your body once, I guess it can go through it again. And again :))
21/11/2018 03:34:04 am
I've built a composting toilet in Portugal based on an idea I found on YouTube...google "The Simple Humus toilet" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zNFSIRH-Ls
11/2/2021 12:29:32 pm
Ah just seen this Cath! Super resource , thank you!
5/4/2022 07:41:39 am
What do you think of using human waste in a biogas digester instead?
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