How Does a Composting Toilet Work?
The two main types of composting toilets are homemade and commercial made. Most people consider the advanced design of commercial composting toilets a more desirable option than homemade composting toilets. Homemade composting toilets generally require a lot of maintenance and involvement in the process of the composting. Commercially made composting toilets, compost the waste quicker and with little required involvement.
The homemade composting toilet is usually very simply made. Generally a toilet seat cover is fitted on top of a five gallon plastic bucket and is placed inside a custom wood box for aesthetic purposes. The bottom of the bucket is covered with a layer of substrate of either dried crushed leaves, peat moss, wood shavings or a layer of sawdust. After a person uses the toilet, they cover their waste and toilet paper with a layer of substrate to prevent odors. When the bucket is filled, it is emptied into an outdoor composting bin to sit and turn into compost.
There are many different models of commercially made composting toilets. Most of them have slight variations in design, but they all work using the same principles. The commercial models are made out of plastic or fiberglass and look similar to conventional toilets. A substrate such as peat moss is added to the commercial composting toilet at installation and once a day for common household use, to assist in the breakdown of waste into compost. The toilets contain a holding tank which is closed off from view, that holds the waste and substrate. Waste that is flushed enters the tank where it will be turned into compost.
Commercial composting toilets are equipped with fans, heaters and vents to assist and speed up the composting process. The fans, heaters and vents, remove much of the water content of the waste, making the amount of waste smaller. Smaller amounts of waste mean that the toilet does not have to be emptied as often. A commercial composting toilet that is used regularly in a household will need to be emptied approximately every two to three months. The toilets are typically emptied through a drawer that slides open at the bottom of the toilet. Because the fans, heaters and vents convert the waste to compost at a fast rate, what is emptied from the toilet is already converted into compost.