Composting Toilets

How do bio-toilets work?

Composting toilets are green toilets that can be used with minimal water in areas where discharging nutrients or chemicals commonly found in human wastewater could negatively affect the environment.

The purpose of a bio toilet is to reduce the waste from your house or family into small compost that can be used as fertilizer that can either be picked up by a waste service, or used at your house. This fertilizer should never be used on food, and it should always be buried in the ground as opposed to laid on the surface.

There are two types of green toilets that have different benefits depending on what you need.

These are the types of bio-toilets you can get:

  • Self-contained composting toilets - These green toilets have the composting area and the toilet all in one section. These are typically smaller, and are great for small areas or places you don't want to lay any pipe to the catchment chamber. An example of this is a port-o-potty.
  • Centralized green toilets - The centralized toilets have the toilet in one section and are then connected to the catchment chamber (the place where the composting is held). These are permanent toilets that can remove some of the smells, and they have a micro-flush or vacuum function to move the waste into a separate container. These usually require some water being plumbed into the system.

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There are three elements that are necessary for bio-toilets to work.

Here is what you will need in order to maintain a successful composting cycle:

  • Heat - The compost itself produces heat; however, there will need to be an additional source of heat. You can use an electric heater, a solar heater, or in some circumstances, you can use the sun as a form of heat. For individuals who are using these toilets for environmental-friendly reasons, the solar heating is a great way to stay green.
  • Oxygen - Proper composting requires oxygen to be moved throughout the compost. There are several types of mixers you can get that are both automatic and manual. Anaerobic composting can form if there is too little oxygen, which produces a foul odor, so make sure to check the amount of oxygen the compost is receiving.
  • Water and moisture - This element is important because an improper amount of liquid in the compost can also produce anaerobic composting. The liquids usually come from the excretion going into the toilet, and there are different types of separators you can add to your toilet to keep the proper liquid levels retained.

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While these toilets are a great way to stay environmentally friendly, one drawback about the composting toilet and other types of green toilets are that they usually require more maintenance than regular types of toilets. If you feel this won't be an issue, though, make sure to pick out the composting toilet that is perfect for your needs.

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