What Is A Composting Toilet?

cabin in woods that uses composting toilet system

Composting toilets, often referred to as dry toilets, are useful in many situations. Most people are very familiar with flushing toilets. These use water to flush waste into pipes, which ultimately head to a water treatment plant.

Low-flush toilets use water but use less than their older counterparts. A low-flush toilet uses a little over a gallon of water per flush. These days, homeowners commonly replace their older models that use more water with low-flush toilets, saving thousands of gallons of water per year. A composting toilet goes one step further and uses no water.

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Where Composting Toilets Are Used

A composting toilet can be used in places where there are no plumbing facilities. However, they can also be used in spots that do have plumbing, especially if the homeowner wants to be more eco-friendly with their waste disposal. Composting toilets can be installed in homes as a replacement for a flushing toilet.

Commonly, we see composting toilets in places with no connection to a septic system, such as in a remote cabin or a national park. Since these toilets are self-contained, we often can see them in tiny homes, recreational vehicles, and boats.

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How A Composting Toilet Works

Composting toilets utilize a process known as mesophilic composting. This process uses a carbon additive, such as peat moss or sawdust, to aid in breaking down waste. After each use, the additive is put over the waste, which creates air pockets. These air pockets help promote decomposition. The addition, the carbon also helps cut down on unpleasant odors.

Usually, liquid and solid wastes are separated. Some models evaporate the liquid waste; others require a holding tank to be emptied. Solid waste must not be totally dry, or it will not decompose. Solid waste is naturally about seventy-five percent of water. To keep bacteria alive that are involved in the decomposition process, the temperate should be between sixty and one-hundred degrees. Some models use thermostats to aid in temperature control.

Composting toilets are not the same as pit toilets, such as latrines in campgrounds. A latrine may not protect groundwater from contamination. They usually are not very good at decomposition, either. While a latrine is a little more natural than a flush toilet, it does not reduce the user’s carbon footprint as a composting toilet does.


Is A Composting Toilet A Good Alternative?

eco-friendly toilet

Composting toilets make sense in some situations. In urban environments, raw sewage is treated at wastewater plants. In some cases, such as heavy rains, raw sewage could end up in clean water, causing health problems.

However, composting toilets may not always be the answer. In heavily populated areas, someone must still haul out composted waste, or it must be used locally. Of course, if everyone took care of their own waste products, this could work. However, those who are ill or elderly might struggle to deal with composted waste.

However, composting toilets require little training to use and can reduce home maintenance costs. There is more flexibility in the development of land when using this alternative to flushing toilets. Homes with composting toilets do not need access to a septic system. They can also be a useful alternative in places where there is little access to water.

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Types Of Composting Toilets

lower carbon footprint with water-free toilet

While composting toilets all operate essentially the same, there are several types.

Electric Composting Toilets

Electric composting toilets use electricity to ventilate and regulate temperature using heating elements. Even those that do not use electricity might have a wind turbine for ventilation.

Solar Composting Toilets

A solar composting toilet uses solar batteries to power a fan and heating elements. Some models use solar energy to aid in decomposition by the use of the greenhouse effect.

Portable Composting Toilets

A portable composting toilet can be used in a recreational vehicle. Portable toilets also include do-it-yourself toilets made for camping.

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Composting Toilet Costs

Composting toilet costs can vary widely. This can depend on the type of toilet and what features it has. Costs include installation and modification of an existing bathroom. Disposing of composted waste could add to costs, although some models allow users to empty the compost into a garbage bag. The bag can then go into the trash.

Composting toilets do need some maintenance, and those installed in seasonal cabins will need to be winterized. Costs are usually offset by the decrease in water use and septic tank maintenance, if applicable.

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Overall, composting toilets can be an excellent alternative to flush toilets. They help reduce our environmental footprint and help keep contamination out of our water supply when installed correctly. They can help solve the issue of disposing of human waste in remote environments or while enjoying the great outdoors.

Call Robinson Plumbing For Expert Toilet Services

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Contact Robinson Plumbing, one of the most trusted plumbing companies in the Lehigh Valley, for reliable plumbing services. We offer a variety of plumbing services ranging from plumbing fixture upgrades, drain clogs, water leak repairs, toilet replacements, and more. We always give a wide range of solutions when possible for any plumbing repairs. This allows you to choose the best option for your budget and home.

We proudly offer the most affordable and best plumbing services in the Lehigh Valley area. Additionally, our experienced plumbers all have the proper licenses and expertise to ensure your satisfaction. All of our work is backed with a guarantee. Contact Robinson Plumbing today and schedule your free estimate.

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