Buying a composting toilet

What is the difference between a composting toilet, dry toilet and composting toilet?

There are different types of dry toilets. These toilets differ in terms of use and range. All dry toilets work on the principle of drying, the special feature of composting toilets and composting toilets is that the separation principle is also used here. A classic dry toilet has a collection container which all faeces are collected. These are then covered with substrate to prevent odours and to dry them out. Once the container has reached its capacity, it can be disposed of with the residual waste. A portable composting toilet works in the same way, but has a separator insert with a urine drain that separates the excrement. This ensures that the urine is separated from the solids during the toilet visit. The liquid is collected in an extra urine container. This can then be emptied into the toilet, down the drain or in your own garden. The faeces falls into the solids container, which is usually also lined with a bag in this model, and is then covered with litter. Classic, mobile composting toilets have a short lifespan of few days, after which the bag must be disposed of with the residual waste. Fixed composting toilets work according to the same separation principle as separating toilets, but here the litter is filled into the solid waste container in advance. The agitator in the solids container transports the fresh substrate to the top and the solids are covered to prevent odours. Another difference is that this camping toilet has a fan, which ensures that the faeces are constantly dried with the help of an exhaust air hose. This drying process means that you can go up to 6 weeks without emptying.

Where is the dry toilet used?

Traditionally, dry toilets are used in homes where there is no water supply, as is the case in Scandinavia, for example. If you want to equip your garden or garden shed with a garden toilet but don't have a sewer connection or waste water available, the dry toilet or composting toilet is also ideal for this. The garden toilet does not produce any waste water. The composting toilet is also finding more and more fans in the house or tiny house, as no waste water is produced here either. They are often installed instead of a conventional toilet.

How do composting toilets work?

A composting toilet for motorhomes, campers or as a garden toilet works according to the separation principle and, as the name suggests, composting takes place in the toilet, or more precisely, pre-composting takes place. This model has therefore been developed for long-term use. In concrete terms, this means that the urine is separated from the faeces during use thanks to the built-in separation insert. The liquids are drained to the front through a urine drain into an extra urine container and collected. The solids container must be filled with substrate before the first use; this ensures that the solids dry and remain dry and that no odours form in the toilet. The composting toilet also has a fan and an exhaust air hose for this process. This combination ensures that the solids in the container do not become too moist and that the range of up to 6 weeks is guaranteed. An agitator is installed in each of these toilets with composting process, which, when activated, transports the fresh litter to the top and covers the solids in an odour-tight manner. After approx. 6 weeks of continuous use by 2 people, the solids container in our Nature's Head, for example, must be emptied. To do this, simply transfer the filling into a bin liner and dispose of it in the residual waste. If you want to consider the ecological aspect, you can empty the substrate into your own compost in the garden. Here, together with other garden waste, you get a valuable humus that can be used for non-edible plants. The urine can also be returned to nature. If you dilute it with water, you have an excellent fertiliser for flowers.

What types of composting toilets are there?

All composting toilets work in the same way - according to the separation and drying principle. In all models, litter is filled into the solids container in advance and the faeces are separated directly during use. The differentiation starts with the faeces collection container, or more precisely with the agitator. You can choose between a mechanical and an electric version. The mechanical version is operated with a hand or foot crank and mixes the litter with fresh substrate. With the electronic version, the process takes place at the touch of a button. The mixing and constant drying of the solids means that there are no odours in the toilet and, depending on the model, you have a range of up to 6 weeks. Emptying is the same for all models, either in the residual waste or in your own compost. All models have an extra urine drain to collect the urine.

Is it worth buying the composting toilet?

Yes, definitely. Switching from a chemical toilet or classic composting toilet to a toilet with a composting process in your motorhome has several advantages. One major advantage is that you are no longer reliant on disposal stations when emptying. A composting toilet does not need any chemicals to function properly, so the solids can be put in a bin liner and disposed of in the residual waste. If you empty the toilet for camping at home, you can also put the substrate in the composter and use it for composting. The urine, which is separated by a urine drain, can be disposed of in the toilet at a service area. Another big advantage is that no type of liquid is required for use, so you can save a valuable resource. An equally important advantage is the self-sufficiency and freedom it gives you. By separating and constantly drying the solids, you have a range of up to 6 weeks, depending on the model, and can therefore enjoy a carefree holiday in your motorhome.

How much water do you save with a composting toilet?

A conventional toilet at home uses a maximum of 9 litres and a minimum of 6 litres of water per flush. Based on an adult who uses the toilet 5 times a day and needs 6 litres each time, this comes to 30 litres per day. If there are two people in the household who use the toilet several times, consumption rises to 60 litres. With a composting toilet, you don't need any kind of liquid or chemicals to use it properly. Extrapolated to a week, you save 420 litres for two people.

How often does the composting toilet need to be emptied?

Depending on the model and how many litres the collection container can hold, the toilet for camping needs to be emptied differently often. Composting toilets are generally designed for long-term use, which is why they rarely need to be emptied. This is why they are also well suited as a garden toilet in the garden shed. Our OGO Origin, for example, has a 13 litre solid waste container and lasts for approx. 2-3 weeks with two people in continuous use, which corresponds to 20 - 30 toilet visits. Only then does the composting toilet need to be emptied and refilled with litter. If the toilet has a larger solid waste container, such as our Nature's Head with 26 litres, you can assume a range of 4-6 weeks or 60-80 uses. Regardless of how many litres it can hold, the urine container should be emptied after three days at the latest, as otherwise unpleasant odours could develop.

How much does a composting toilet cost?

Composting toilets are higher-quality composting toilets for motorhomes or campers, which is why the purchase costs are slightly higher. However, this can be offset by the running costs, which are very low. The price depends on various factors. One factor is the material the toilet is made of. There are composting toilets made of plastic, wood or even metal. Another factor is how the agitator is operated. Most composting toilets are operated mechanically by hand or foot crank, but there is also an electronic version that starts at the push of a button. If you opt for a plastic version with a mechanical agitator, our Nature's Head, for example, is the best choice. The price for this composting toilet is around €1250. If you want a little more comfort, our OGO Origin comes into play. It works in the same way, but has an electronic agitator compared to the Nature's Head. The price for this toilet is €1350.

What needs to be considered when cleaning the composting toilet?

Cleaning a composting toilet is very simple, there are not many points to consider. Probably the most important and nicest point is that the collection container for solids does not need to be washed out or cleaned separately after emptying. The loose substrate can be easily tipped out of the container and usually no or very little residue is left behind. If this is the case, you have a perfect compost starter for the next filling of substrate. The container for urine must be emptied after three days at the latest, as otherwise odours can arise and urine scale can form. After emptying, allow the container to dry out well. It is important that the canister is not washed out with clean water. Any remaining water residue combined with urine leads to an ammonia odour. If you still want to clean the urine container and the urine drain, you can use a vinegar mixture (1:10). The composting toilet itself can also be cleaned with this mixture, a spray bottle and a cloth.

Which filling material is suitable for the composting toilet?

It is important that the litter has the ability to absorb and bind liquids, but also to release them again. Only in this way can the solids in the container dry and remain dry and no odours arise. We therefore recommend coconut fibres as litter, as they fulfil this condition perfectly and are therefore ideally suited as litter for this type of composting toilet. Another nice aspect is that coconut fibres are a natural product that is created as a waste product during rope production, so no important resources are wasted. If you want to compost the bedding in your own compost after emptying it, this is guaranteed with coconut fibres. Composting takes place with the help of the resulting microorganisms and the result is rich humus that can be used as fertiliser in the garden.

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