According to some reports, Australians are some of the worst in the world when it comes to conserving water. The average Australian uses 341,000 litres per person per year, whilst the global average was found to be 57,000 litres. That’s a huge discrepancy for a country of people that live on the driest continent on earth!
Water is not an infinite resource and with numbers like the ones above, it makes sense to do as much as you can to try and save water. One of the easiest ways everyday Australians like you are doing this is by installing a composting toilet in their homes. This not only helps homes become more self sustainable (not relying on connection to sewage lines that use treatment plants and natural resources) but put the handling of waste and it’s helpful by-products (humanure) directly in their control.
As more and more homes are looking at composting toilets and sustainable living, we thought we might put together this list of hints and tips for composting toilet owners.
Correct Moisture Content
The compost pile needs to be moist not wet. An overly wet pile (No oxygen) will not only smell, but will hamper the composting process. Too Dry and the pile will not compost. Thankfully most of our toilet models come with either urine diverters installed so your urine is captured or heaters so your urine can evaporate, but if you don’t have one of our composting toilets installed and find that your compost is overly wet or smells, you may need to consider setting up some type of urine diversion.
If the pile is too dry add water a little at a time until the pile is moist.
Handy Tip: urine contains nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium which just happens to be great trace elements for plants. It can be diluted and put on plants and is also an amazing compost accelerator/activator, with the added bonus of adding more nutrients to your pile (we’re talking about your standard backyard compost pile here, not your composting toilet).
Keep the lid down
Whilst some of our models have a chamber screen so you could potentially leave the seat up it’s a good idea to ensure that the lid is always put down. This ensures that no bugs or insects fly into your toilet and start breeding and also ensures that your composting toilet is running in the best way possible.
Read the Humanure Handbook
Get yourself a copy of the Humanure Handbook and take the time to read it, then read it again. It’s one of the best books out there about composting human waste. Here’s what others have said about it.
"This is a cult classic which might strike those without an outhouse as disgusting. But the methods outlined within have the potential to change the ecological fate of the world."
New Yorker Magazine
"Despite all the books on manure and how to use it, human manure composting is not covered elsewhere, making the Humanure Handbook a fine reference for any who would learn these basics. If you're an avid composter, there's nothing like this on the market."
Midwest Book Review
"Finally we have a comprehensive book on recycling human excrement without chemicals, high technology, or pollution. Well written, practical, and thoroughly researched"
Whole Earth Review
Consider adding a solar component to your toilet
One of the best things about composting toilets is they reduce your water usage considerably however they do use a small amount of power for the extraction fan. The great news is this can easily be connected up to a 40 Watt Solar System that will help you stay off the grid or reduce your need on towns power.
Use natural cleaners
It’s a good idea to use natural cleaners in your composting toilet as anything that’s designed to ‘kill germs’ might just kill off all the good microbes and bacteria in your composting loo. Our Nature Flush Enzymes are a great place to start as not only does this amazing product act as a cleaner, it will also accelerate your composting pile with its enzyme catalyst derived from bacterial fermentation.
What can you do with the compost when it’s ‘done’?
There’s many ways that people use their humanure when it’s been cured. The important thing to note is that it’s not great to put on any vegetables or plants that you eat (the exception being fruit trees) so it’s a good idea to use it on your gardens that have plants that aren’t going to be ingested.
How to get rid of smells in your composting toilet
If you’re using and maintaining your composting toilet correctly, there should be no smells. If there’s a problem with your loo and you’re finding it more smelly than usual, there’s a few things you can do.
Make sure your pile isn’t too wet. A wet pile can start to smell and this might be an indication that you’re not adding enough organic matter when you do a number two.
Try adding more organic matter over a couple of days and see if that makes a difference.
Another reason your pile might be too wet is a problem with the ventilation fan. The fan helps to dry out your pile and also evaporate excess liquids. If your fan isn’t working then smells won’t be funneled out the exhaust vent and could enter your home. This in combination with having a wet composting pile might exacerbate the smell issue.
Can you spew in them?
Yes you can spew in them if you need to. Obviously it’s not a great idea to make a habit of it as stomach acid won’t do all the little beasties working away in your composting pile any good, but if you’re sick and can’t find anywhere else to technicolour yawn, a composting toilet will handle that no problems at all.
Composting toilets are great for boats, caravans and campervans
We have a great range of composting toilets available for boats, caravans and RVs but probably the best one is the Nature Loo Mini Mobile. Easy to install and well made, these mobile home composting toilets are the perfect solution for those on the open seas or open road!
Composting human waste is not a new idea
Take a read of this book called Farmers Of Forty Centuries or Permanent Agriculture In China, Korea And Japan written by F. H. KING, D. Sc.mn way back in 1911. It talks about the permaculture agriculture of areas of Asia and how farmers cherished ‘night soil’ to use in their fields. It’s a fascinating read considering it’s over 100 years old now and still holds some very useful information in its pages.