Dry separation toilet - what is it?
A dry separating toilet is a toilet for motorhomes or camping that works without water or chemicals. As the name separating toilet suggests, it works on the principle of separation. For this to work, the toilet has a separating insert, as well as a solids container and a container for urine. This means that the faeces are separated before they end up in the respective canister of the urine-diverting toilet. As dry separation toilets do not use water or chemicals, sustainable litter is used for "flushing". In classic dry separation toilets with a bag system, this is simply sprinkled onto the solids by hand after use. In composting toilets, the built-in agitator takes care of covering. Because they are covered immediately, no gases can form in the dry toilet and there is no unpleasant odour. The urine container of urine-diverting toilets can hold several litres and does not need to be covered. Simply empty it as required, but after 3 days at the latest. Urine-diverting toilets are available in various materials, such as plastic, stainless steel or wood.
What types of dry urine-diverting toilets are there?
There are two types of dry urine-diverting toilets. What both types of urine-diverting toilet have in common is that they have a separating insert and two containers for urine and solids. The conventional version is the urine-diverting toilet with a bag system and without a fixed connection. Here, a bag is inserted into the solids container before use. All solid waste ends up in this bag and is covered by hand with a substrate to prevent odours from developing. The urine is drained into the canister provided for this purpose. This is usually made of plastic. As this dry separation toilet does not require a connection and is compact, it can be set up anywhere when camping as required. Another model of dry separation toilet is the composting toilet. This toilet works with an agitator instead of a bag and requires a connection for electricity and an exhaust air hose so that the substrate in the solids container can be constantly dried. As the agitator covers the faeces with litter, there is no need to add litter by hand.
Dry separation toilets for camping
Which dry separating toilet you use for camping depends on the type and duration of camping and the space available. A conventional dry separation toilet with a bag system is best suited for camping with less space and for a shorter period of time. Thanks to its compact shape and low weight, the dry toilet can be easily transported anywhere and set up when needed. In addition, it does not take up much space and does not require a connection or permanent installation. It is easy to store when the lid is closed. A composting toilet, such as our Nature's Head or OGO Origin, is perfect for longer journeys in a camper or motorhome. It is one of the higher quality urine-diverting toilets. As is often the case with classic urine-diverting toilets, plastic is chosen as the material.
Advantages of dry separation toilets
Dry separation toilets have a number of advantages with which they can score points.
- More self-sufficiency:The excrements have to be disposed of less frequently and there is no need for a disposal stadium
- No odour: By separating liquids and solids and quickly covering the solids, no odour develops in the separating toilet, which can then spread throughout the motorhome or camper van
- No water consumption: A dry separating toilet does not require any water to function properly. This saves important resources, especially in countries where fresh water is scarce
- No chemicals: As no chemicals are used, a separating toilet is more ecological and therefore better for the environment
How does a dry separation toilet work?
A dry separation toilet works on the principle of separation. This means that the liquid and solid faeces are separated using a separator insert before they are collected in the toilet. This separation and the immediate covering with substrate means that there is no odour, as no gases can develop. With classic separating toilets, this is done by hand. Simply pour some litter onto the solids and cover them with it. The lid of the toilet also serves as a privacy screen. In higher-quality dry separation toilets, known as composting toilets, this task is performed by an agitator. Composting toilets also have a fan and an exhaust air hose. This combination ensures that the inside of the solid waste container always remains dry and odour-free. However, this toilet must be permanently installed as it requires a power connection.
How do I dispose of solids from a dry separating toilet?
Disposing of solids is very easy with dry separation toilets and requires little effort. If you use a dry toilet with a bag system, the bag can be removed from the toilet when it has reached its filling volume. To do this, open the lid of the toilet and, depending on the model, remove the separating insert. Once this bag has been removed and tied together, it can be disposed of in the residual waste and you do not come into contact with the faeces. The first step in disposing of a composting toilet is different to that of a simpler separating toilet, as it is used without a bag. Here, the solids end up directly in the container with the previously filled substrate. Once this canister is full, the contents are transferred to a bin liner. This can then be disposed of in the residual waste in the same way as with the conventional separating toilet. It is not necessary to clean the solids container as the remaining litter serves as a compost starter for the next filling. Here too, there is no contact with the solids.
What accessories are available for dry separating toilets?
There are a number of accessories available for dry separating toilets. However, which accessories are useful depends on the model you have chosen. If you have a separating toilet with a bag system, you will need the bags and the substrate to cover them as accessories. If you have opted for a composting toilet, you will only need substrate, as no bag is used here. It is important to make sure that the substrate can absorb the liquid but also release it again. We recommend coconut fibres as they have the desired properties and are sustainable. Odour and spill protection is available for the urine canister. This prevents urine from spilling during transport or when travelling. Alternatively, you can also use a lid. It is also a good idea to carry a small spray bottle with a mixture of vinegar and water, for example. This can be used for cleaning the dry toilet or for rinsing urine. However, you should not use more than 1-2 squirts, as otherwise too much water can get into the urine tank. The lid, which is often made of plastic, can also be cleaned with it. Of course, there are even more accessories that can be offered and purchased from retailer to retailer. However, in our opinion, this is the most important accessory.
How do I clean a dry urine-diverting toilet?
To clean a dry urine-diverting toilet, you need to remove the urine container, the bag and the separating insert. The urine container can be cleaned occasionally with a 1:1 mixture of vinegar and water. To do this, pour the mixture into the canister, leave to act briefly, pour out and allow to dry thoroughly. It is important that you do not rinse it with clean water. The solids container itself does not need to be cleaned, as the bag does not leave any residue in the toilet itself. If you still want to clean it, you can wipe it out with a damp cloth. The separating insert, lid and the separating toilet itself can also be cleaned inside and out with a damp cloth and a spray bottle. It is also advisable to use a mixture of vinegar and water here. However, the mixing ratio should be 1:10. With a compost toilet, the solid waste container is not cleaned as the litter left behind serves as a compost starter.
What is the odour development like with separating toilets?
By separating liquids and solids, odours are minimised. Because the solids are immediately covered with substrate and dried, no gases can escape and therefore no odour can develop. Urine is also odourless if it does not come into contact with water. However, odour neutrality can no longer be guaranteed with certain foods such as asparagus or medicines that have to be taken. You should ensure that the urine container is emptied after 3 days at the latest, as otherwise an unpleasant odour may develop.
Differences between composting toilets and dry separation toilets
Dry separation toilets and composting toilets work in the same way. Both models work without water and chemicals and with a separating insert and lid. Nevertheless, there are differences that should be considered when buying. A classic separating toilet is compact, does not need to be permanently installed and takes up little space. Due to its size, this toilet has a smaller solids container, which is designed for 2-3 days of continuous use by two people. It also has no agitator and the solids must be covered by hand. A bag must be inserted into the canister for proper use. A composting toilet, on the other hand, requires more space and must be permanently installed in the camper or motorhome due to its electricity and exhaust air connection. The solid waste container has a longer range and lasts up to 6 weeks for the same number of people. An agitator is installed in the solid waste container which, when activated, transports the substrate upwards and covers the solids. Thanks to the combination of fan and exhaust air hose, the inside of the container is constantly dried and thus remains odourless.