I was watching a design show awhile back. I don’t remember which one. There was a composting toilet featured. It was in either a public place, or in a home where other random people were allowed to use it. I expected some people to say they thought it was weird, and some people say they appreciated the idea. I thought the interviewees were a little extreme, talking about how they felt so connected to the earth by using it or that their life was changed. At any rate, it got me wondering if this was even a practical idea. After all, the one on the show was built into a semi-outdoor bathroom that looked more like a natural habitat for something.
I have learned that there are two different concepts for composting toilets. The first, shown at left, features a central composting system. The toilet itself acts as a standard toilet, and then the waste water goes into this system. The second is a self contained toilet, shown below.
Both systems turn waste into compost, mainly oxidized salts. The compost is very clean. If I installed a composting toilet, I most likely would not use compost on vegetables. There is some literature that leads me to believe that human and canine waste is not the best or safest fertilizer. The best fertilizer is still manure from herbivorous animals. I might use it on the lawn, or more so, perhaps still toss it in the trash bin. Some people might say that it sort of defeats the purpose if I was throwing it away. On the contrary, it will still greatly reduce the water I use. Some of the toilets use as little as one pint of water, and prevent the toilet from creating a strain on the public sewage system. The compost will take up a very negligible amount of space at the dump, and will just return to the soil.
Have you heard of these toilets? If so, what do you think?