Would You Try A Composting Toilet?

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Composting toilets are an environmentally responsible way to deal with human waste. Here’s how they work, and what you should know before trying a composting toilet.

If you’re an off-gridder, a homesteader, or just an eco-conscious individual, you may have considered trying a composting toilet in your home.

After all, it is a much more natural way of dealing with human waste than flushing it down into a water treatment plant, where it must be processed, cleaned, and treated in order to keep our waterways and streets sanitary and free from disease-causing waste.

If we deal with our waste in an eco-friendly way right at the source (our own homes), isn’t that a much less resource-intensive process?

It just makes sense, but it also may seem a little gross to some people. The article below explains more about how composting toilets work, as well as some of the major benefits they provide, so that you can make an educated decision about whether or not to try one for yourself.

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Composting toilets are a clean, cheap, and eco-friendly solution to our number two problem in off-the-grid living and energy independence…. They turn waste into humus, a nutrient-rich organic material that can be used to enrich the soil around your trees, flowers, and shrubs.

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How Composting Toilets Work

Composting toilets are no longer just for camping, RVing, and hippie gatherings. They can be found anywhere and everywhere, from off-grid tiny houses to high-end construction. Technology has come a long way, making them more user-friendly, safe, and simple.

There are two main types of composting toilets: single, self-contained systems and multi-chamber batch systems….

Multi-chamber batch systems, sometimes called centralized composting toilets, require less maintenance and oversight than single, self-contained systems. They utilize more than one excrement bin; while one is in use, the other composts. These are handy systems, but they do cost more initially. These are the most common systems found in homes.

These toilets use natural fungus and bacteria, and also sometimes peat moss, sawdust, and other organic matter, to break down your low down from down low into humus in the attached composting bin. It also compacts it to 10 to 30 percent of its original volume.

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When it’s all done, the humus can be removed through a door in the bin. There’s really nothing not soil-like about it. It doesn’t smell bad. It isn’t dangerous. It’s been deemed safe for handlers. It’s just good for your plants.

Of course, you should never use it on your vegetable garden or in growing anything you’re going to eat because of the natural bacteria that can be involved. Anything else is fair game, though.

A caveat here, though: There may be local laws and building codes regulating the addition of composting toilets to your home or business and the handling of composted waste, especially if you live in a city. Check those out before you install your system….

Specifically, look for a unit that complies with the American National Standards Institute’s standard for composting toilets….

Here are a few more facts:

>> For a year-round home for a family of four, the typical cost of a composting toilet is $1,300 to $6,000. Compared to the cost of water alone throughout the lifetime of a toilet, this is really a pretty nice savings. They are more expensive to operate than low-flow toilets, but they are more affordable than septic systems.

>> You can use a composting toilet anywhere, including places that aren’t connected to a city or private sewage grid, or where building a septic tank is pricey or difficult.

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>> It is more resource—and cost—effective to treat waste onsite, and by using a composting toilet, you eliminate your share of harmful flows into rivers and oceans. Plus, humus is much safer than the residue from either waste-water treatment plants or septic systems.

>> When you use a batch system, composting toilets are the most hygienic choice of all. The natural bacteria that makes compost also kills viruses, bacteria and the nasty toxins in human waste.

>> Some toilets allow you to compost vegetable peels and garden trimmings with the toilet waste. How cool is that?

Composting toilets can be the way to go if you don’t want to flush dollars down the drain. They’re also better for the environment, and are the gift that keeps on giving because they are a lasting source of nutrient-rich humus.

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Read the full article at ElephantJournal.com to learn more…

 

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