Composting toilets are a great way to reduce the environmental impact of our human waste. We use landfills to dispose of our trash, and this is an amazing idea for many reasons. But what if we could turn the tables on that? What if we recycled our human waste into rich soil instead? Composting toilets work by breaking down all organic matter in a special tank with bacteria. This includes food scraps, toilet paper, urine, feces- you name it! The result is compost that can be used for gardens or other landscaping projects.
This article will teach you how composting toilets work and why you should get started today!
What is a composting toilet?
A composting toilet is an enclosed system that breaks down human waste into a rich soil-like material called “compost.” Instead of using landfills to dispose of our trash, the result from this process can be used for gardens or other landscaping projects!
The tank works through two main processes: aerobic decomposition and anaerobic digestion.
Aerobic decomposition is the breakdown of organic material with oxygen, which speeds up the process – this includes food scraps, toilet paper, urine, and feces! The result is rich soil-like compost that can be used for gardens or other landscaping projects.
Anaerobic digestion works without oxygen to break down human waste at a slower rate; it’s also better for odor reduction because there are fewer odors released when compared to aerobic decomposition tanks.
The airflow helps speed up the process of aerobic decomposition, while moisture controls anaerobic digestion. It’s important to be aware that the end product will smell like a garden! But don’t worry because it won’t stink – think rich earthy goodness instead!
Some DIY systems convert human waste into fertilizer called “humanure,” available on the internet or at hardware stores. Still, we recommend using professional equipment designed specifically for this purpose due to the increased risk of contamination with harmful bacteria coming from improperly installed plumbing components.
Why A Composting Toilet?
Composting toilets are a sustainable and environmentally-friendly alternative to traditional flush toilets. They’re healthier for the environment, better for your home, and they don’t cost any more than ordinary plumbing fixtures or septic systems!
The main advantage
A composting toilet takes advantage of natural processes that turn human waste into rich soil by breaking down organic matter without relying on harmful chemicals like chlorine bleach (used in standard sewage treatment plants). Composting also reduces excess water usage because it only requires about one gallon per person per day – much less than what you would use with an average flush toilet. It’s even possible to set up a system where all the “waste” can be turned into usable energy via incineration or gasification!
Types of composting toilets
There are two main types of composting toilets: the dry toilet and the wet toilet. Dry toilets operate by separating solids (the poop) from liquids, emptied separately or together into a pit for regular disposal.
Wet toilets collect both liquid and solid waste in an upper container; this is periodically removed to another tank. It will decompose without odor using aerobic bacteria before being applied as fertilizer on land farms or gardens.
Should composting toilet smell?
A properly functioning composting toilet should not have any odor at all – it’s a great choice for homes or businesses that want to reduce their environmental impact while still having the convenience of indoor plumbing. To ensure your unit isn’t stinky, follow these few rules:
Compost only plant-based materials like sawdust and wood chips; don’t add meat, oil, dairy products, paper towels/plates (except brown ones), chemicals from cleaners, etc.
Ensure you keep liquids below 15% by weight in your composter; this will help avoid smells and the growth of bacteria that can lead to dangerous toxins like salmonella.
Add cover material daily, such as leaves or straws mulched from yard clippings to maintain a consistent temperature and moisture level.
How composting helps the environment
Composting is a natural process, and it saves resources such as water. It takes less than one-third of the amount of water to compost human waste compared with flushing into sewage systems, where it flows through pipes that are not designed for liquids until reaching an expensive treatment plant. The result? A lot more wastewater entering local waterways from untreated sewer overflows or leaking combined stormwater/sewer lines.
“It’s better to use people power instead of fossil fuel power,” said Gail Briones, assistant director for environmental compliance at Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) in Washington State. “We’re also helping farmers and gardeners who want fertile soil.” In fact, SPU collects about 30 million gallons per day (MGD) of wastewater from homes and businesses, but most Portlanders only use about 27 MGD per day.
How composting saves money
Composting toilets are an investment because they save you a lot of money. The cost savings come from not paying for water or sewer rates, either directly or through your rent/mortgage. They also require less maintenance than traditional flush toilets, and the nutrient-rich soil that results from composting is good for gardens too!
I have done some research into saving on utilities by reducing consumption at home. Still, in every single case, I found it was more expensive to reduce my electricity and water consumption than it was just paying full price (especially if we’re talking about simply turning off lights). Composting provides the best means I can think of to minimize our environmental impact while maintaining high standards of living – and it’s cheap too.
We’re certainly not alone in wanting to reduce our impact on the environment, but most of us are concerned about how we can maintain a high standard of living while doing so. Composting toilets provide an answer by allowing you to save money on utilities and enjoy your time off from work without any guilt attached!
How Often & Where To Dispose Of Compost
We’re often asked where to dispose of compost, and the answer is “depends on how you deal with it.” Some people have a designated spot in their yard for compost. Others will take buckets of finished compost to community gardens or nearby farms that can use it. All these choices are good!
The important thing is not just using your toilet – but also disposing of your waste responsibly once it’s done its job inside the toilet. If you don’t want to worry about getting rid of the leftover bits yourself, there are collection services available, too, if need be.
Depending on what type of materials (vegetable scraps, paper products, etc.) go into your system, some forms may require more care than others when they get near the end of their life. The best thing to do is make sure you prepare your compost properly, and it will be fine!
Composting also helps reduce landfill waste, which means less methane from decomposing organic material in landfills – a very potent greenhouse gas (GHG).
Come Back of nutrients.
Composted materials also release nutrients back into the soil that plants use, so this process has many environmental advantages and economic ones.
The time frame for how long it takes any particular material to break down depends on what type of bacteria get introduced into the system and how much food matter there is for them to work with. Some people claim they can see results after just one week, while others say up to six months may be necessary.
There are different ways to compost, but the most common is with a rotating drum that’s open on both ends and filled with organic material so that bacteria can break it down: after you can use a composter spreader to feed your garden and lawn. The other popular composter is called an in-vessel or closed system – this has a top opening for stacking new materials while allowing airflow around existing ones below them. This design helps reduce odors and also includes some ventilation which typically isn’t necessary for drums because they’re more open at each end. And, of course, the best option is composting toilet.
Composting toilet vs. septic tank
The difference between a composting toilet and a septic tank is that the former can be used in rural or urban areas, even in high-density housing. Compost toilets use aerobic bacteria to break down waste matter into soil byproducts like carbon dioxide, water vapor, nitrates, and nitrogen gas. On the other hand, Septic tanks are not designed for dense populations because this system relies on the slow decomposition of organic material through anaerobic digestion, which produces methane gas and sulfurous gases responsible for bad smells.
To maintain odor control while using your compost toilet instead of a septic tank, you will need access to large amounts of sawdust (enough so there are about six inches at all times). You also want to keep any feces from touching the sawdust to avoid becoming a breeding ground for bacteria.
Composting toilets is a great way to help the environment and save money. If you’re looking for ways to reduce your carbon footprint while still being able to enjoy fresh vegetables from your own garden, then composting may be an option worth exploring. Not only does it give back nutrients that would otherwise go into our landfills or water systems, but it also saves on costly fertilizers by recycling food waste!