We are living in a time wherein going green is the buzzword. From businesses to homes, you can see a lot of people who are being proactive in their approaches to doing something good for the environment.
While there are many ways by which we can show our love and concern to the Earth, one of the best would be through using a composting toilet. But what exactly is it? How does composting toilet? We’ll let you know in the rest of this short post.
What Exactly is a Composting Toilet?
To start with, let us first discuss what a composting toilet is. By understanding its definition, you might find it easier to understand how it works.
At its most basic, a composting toilet relies on the natural process of decomposition and evaporation to be able to recycle human waste. The solid waste is transformed into compost. Typically, there are two designs of composting toilets.
- Self-Contained: This simply means that the composting system is housed as a part of the toilet. The composting chamber is usually attached to the bottom of the toilet bowl, making it an ideal solution for mobile homes.
- Remote: This means that there is a remote or central composter that is not a direct part of the toilet. For instance, at homes, this could be positioned in the basement. They are often the choice for large homes with several composting toilets.
How Does a Composting Toilet Work?
Regardless of the type of composting toilet that you have, they basically work in the same ways. The main goal is to be able to break down human waste in a manner that is eco-friendly. To add, it operates under the premise that the solid should be separated from the liquid.
There are different manufacturers of composting toilets and they might have their own systems by which their toilets work.
It works basically in the same way as the compost bin that you have in the backyard. The human waste will be passing through the composting chamber. This chamber, on the other hand, comes with aerobic bacteria. The latter is the one that is responsible for achieving the carbon-nitrogen ratio. This will allow waste to break down and composted.
The most important component of the composting toilet is the source of carbon, which will be vital for composting. In this case, some of the most popular materials that are used include bark mulch, leaves, and wood shavings, among others.
However, while the process seems pretty much straightforward, it is also important to note that there are some important elements that should be present to ensure the proper composting process.
- Temperature: For the organic matter to break down, the temperature has an important role to play. It is important to keep the temperature high basically because heat will make the composting process quicker while also effectively killing the pathogens that are present. Ideally, the optimal level should be within the 60 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Some manufacturers may have their specific recommendations, so make sure to follow what is stated in their manual.
- Drainage: The liquid should be separated from the solid waste. Having too much liquid can restrict the aerobic process. It can also cool down the compost, making it ineffective in killing the pathogens. This makes it important to separate the urine from feces by having a device under the chamber that can be useful for draining.
- Aeration: It is important to have an air supply in the chamber. This is because this will speed up the aerobic decomposition. To do this, one thing that is often done is using layers of coarse material, which will allow air to be trapped.
- Ventilation: A healthy compost will also require ventilation. Oxygen is needed for the breakdown of the microbes. Sufficient ventilation will also be important for the management of odor, which is especially important for smaller areas. It speeds up the decomposition of the waste.
Aside from the things that have been mentioned above, it is also important to have a carbon-nitrogen balance. This is because the disposal of urine will prevent the excess build-up of nitrogen. Nonetheless, it is important to achieve the perfect balance of carbon and nitrogen, which are known for being bacteria-friendly.
Benefits of Composting Toilet
Now that we have discussed the way a composting toilet works, let us discuss some of its benefits, which can compel you to give it a shot.
- Water Conservation: One of the best things about the composting toilet is that there is no need to flush gallons of water. This can save thousands of gallons in a year. Basically, you are not only saving money, but you are also saving the environment.
- Portable: If you are looking for a portable toilet that can be used in your mobile homes, such as an RV, this will also be the perfect solution. Even in the campsite, you will also love this kind of toilet.
- Generates Fertilizer: With a composting toilet, you will be able to generate fertilizer that you can use in the garden. It will be a great plant-food, which you can generate for free. However, it takes quite a while before you can convert it into fertilizer.
- Simplicity: Another good thing about a composting toilet is that it is pretty much simple to use. There is no need to have the technical knowledge to make the most out of it. The installation process does not need to be complicated. Plus, there is also no complicated plumbing required to complete this toilet set-up.
Now that you are done reading, we hope that you already understand how does a composting toilet work. It is pretty much a simple process of separating liquid and solid human waste, turning it into compost. Take note, however, that it will take approximately one year before the human waste can finally be used as a compost.