What is a composting toilet?

A composting toilet is a higher class of urine-diverting toilet. It also contains a separating insert and thus separates the solids from the urine. One difference to a conventional urine-diverting toilet is that it has a larger container for the solids with a built-in agitator and therefore has a longer range. The collection canister for the liquids is also somewhat larger and has a greater filling capacity compared to conventional urine-diverting toilets. This is why it is not as compact as a dry separation toilet, for example. Another difference can be seen in the installation of the toilet. A compact dry separation toilet does not need a connection and does not necessarily have to be permanently installed. Composting toilets, on the other hand, require a power connection and a connection for the exhaust air hose. The constant exchange of air dries the faeces in the solids container. In combination with the agitator, which immediately covers them with litter when activated, there is no odour formation. This means that the toilet can be used for longer with the same litter and the start of composting takes place in the container.

Are composting toilets permitted?

Yes of course, composting toilets belong to the class of separating toilets and are permitted without restrictions if they are operated correctly and properly. Due to their ecological aspect, these separating toilets are also often installed in gardens for personal use at home. Like a dry toilet, a composting toilet does not require any water and works entirely without chemicals. The faeces that end up in the solids container can simply be disposed of in the composter. Composting then takes place there. The resulting substrate can then be used as fertiliser in your own garden. It is only important to ensure that you do not fertilise edible plants with it if you are taking medication. Composting toilets are also popular in motorhomes and campers, as the ecological aspect and the fact that no water is required play a major role here. They are therefore also permitted and welcome here without restriction, provided the regulations and correct disposal are observed.

How does a composting toilet work?

A composting toilet in a motorhome works in the same way as a classic urine-diverting toilet. It has a container for urine and a container for solids. The two excretions are separated from each other with a separating insert when the toilet is used. This insert, which conventional urine-diverting toilets also have, is particularly important and turns the dry toilet into a urine-diverting toilet or composting toilet. It has a slightly lowered shape and is designed so that the urine drains to the front. As with our Nature's Head, for example, it also serves as a screen for the solids, as the separating insert is fitted with a flap. This can be opened as required and closed again after use. Another aspect that is important for the functionality of composting toilets is the collection container for solids. It has a larger capacity than classic separating toilets, as well as a built-in agitator. This ensures that the excrement is immediately covered with litter, thus preventing the formation of odours. It is therefore important that the litter is filled into the solid waste container before it is used for the first time. There is no re-littering by hand. The toilet also requires a power connection and a connection for the exhaust air hose. If it is an electronic composting toilet like our OGO Origin, the power connection is required for the agitator and for the fan that transports fresh air into the toilet. In combination with the exhaust air hose, the litter and excrement are constantly dried and there is no odour formation inside the separating toilet.

Nature's Head

What to do with the contents of the composting toilet?

The contents of the composting toilet's solids container can be disposed of in your own garden in a composter or in the residual waste. The better choice is to dispose of the solids in the composter. Here, composting takes place with other waste and valuable compost is produced which can be used as fertiliser. If you take medication, the fertiliser obtained must not be used for edible plants. There is no need to clean or wash out the container afterwards. Any residue left in the canister of the composting toilet serves as a compost starter for the next filling. If the composting toilet is permanently installed in the garden, it is also equipped with an insert for separation. In this case, there is usually a composter under the toilet seat that composts the solid waste. As these composting toilets usually do not have an agitator to cover the solids with litter, they must be sprinkled by hand. Immediate covering prevents the formation of odours and allows composting to progress. The urine is collected in a separate canister and can be disposed of in the normal toilet or in the gully. If the urine is diluted with water, it can also be used as a fertiliser for non-edible plants.

How do I clean a composting toilet?

Cleaning a composting toilet is just as easy as using it. The urine collection container can be cleaned, but does not necessarily need to be washed out after every emptying. If you still want to clean the canister, you should never use pure water. The best way to clean it is with a mixture of vinegar and water. To do this, mix 1 litre of vinegar with 1 litre of water, then pour this mixture into the collection container and leave it to work for a short time. Alternatively, you can also use citric acid for cleaning; the mixing ratio should be 3 tablespoons of citric acid to 1 litre of water. After cleaning, the container should be allowed to dry out well so that no odour develops the next time it is used. This can happen if urine comes into contact with water residues. It is also important that the urine canister is emptied after 3 days at the latest, as otherwise an unpleasant odour can develop. The solids container also does not need to be cleaned extensively. If the substrate is too moist and the agitator can no longer work properly, it must be replaced with a new one. Depending on how the composting toilet is constructed, the container with the solids must be removed or loosened from the floor anchoring. Inside is the litter, which has a similar consistency to potting soil. In addition, it does not smell unpleasant, but has a forest floor odour when using coconut fibres, for example. The contents can then be put into a bin liner and disposed of with the residual waste. Alternatively, you can dispose of it in your home composter, but you should not use the compost obtained from it as fertiliser for edible plants if you have taken medication. The solids container itself does not need to be washed out after emptying. Any residue that remains in it is the compost starter for the next filling. If you want to clean the outside of the separating toilet, the vinegar or citric acid mixture is also suitable here. To do this, apply a few squirts of the mixture to the toilet and wipe with a cloth or toilet paper. The easiest way to do this is with a spray bottle, which is often included in the delivery or can be purchased as an accessory from the retailer. The separating insert in the separating toilet can also be cleaned without any problems.

How much does a composting toilet cost?

The purchase cost of a composting toilet depends on various factors and can vary just as much as the models that are already on the market. If you want a separating toilet for the garden that works without an agitator, you can calculate the costs yourself. As this toilet does not have an agitator, the solids must be covered with litter by hand. To build your own toilet, you need a separating insert so that it counts as a separating toilet. There must also be a large hole under the recess for the solids so that the faeces can be collected and covered. Pre-composting then also takes place in this hole. Equally important is an exhaust air pipe, which must be routed to the outside. Depending on the material, costs start from €150 upwards. There are also differences in composting toilets for motorhomes or campers, which play a role in the pricing. These separating toilets usually have an agitator that can be operated manually or electronically. If there is a manual agitator in the collection tank for solids, this toilet is slightly cheaper than the electronic version. Here, the price starts at around €1200. The purchase costs also include shipping and the necessary accessories. Composting toilets do not have a compact size due to the larger collection container and are therefore often somewhat more expensive to ship. However, many retailers offer free shipping. The accessories required for the composting toilet are often included in the scope of delivery and shipping of the separating toilet. This means there are no additional costs for shipping. If the accessories, such as a spray bottle for cleaning, are not included, they can be ordered from the retailer at a later date.

Which composting toilet is suitable for a motorhome?

In principle, any composting toilet is suitable for a motorhome. However, which composting toilet is most suitable depends on the size and layout of the motorhome and the toilet. Composting toilets have a larger container for solids and a larger collection container for urine than conventional urine-diverting toilets and therefore, depending on the model, do not have such a compact shape. It also matters how long you want to use the toilet at a time and whether you prefer the convenience of the electronic agitator. If you want to use the dry toilet for up to 6 weeks without changing the litter and are happy with the manual version, our Nature's Head is ideal. If comfort and design are more important to you, the OGO Origin is just right. Due to the more compact shape and the smaller solids container, the range here is approx. 2-3 weeks in continuous use.

What litter should I use for a composting toilet?

When using bedding for composting toilets, it is important that the substrate absorbs the moisture but can also release it again so that the fan can remove it. The toilet will only function odour-free if the contents of the solid waste container always remain dry. We recommend using coconut fibres for our composting toilets. They are a waste product of coconut rope production and therefore a sustainable alternative to peat. Coconut fibres are easy to store and transport. They are purchased as bricks and are only mixed with water before use. This means they last forever and can be carried in the motorhome. If no coconut fibres are available, peat can also be used temporarily. If necessary, very fine sawdust can also be used. Cat litter is not suitable as an alternative, as it only absorbs moisture but does not release it and clumps together. The toilet would then not work or would only work for a short time.

How do I dispose of a composting toilet?

Disposing of composting toilets is a little more complicated than with conventional dry toilets or urine-diverting toilets, but it is still easy. In addition, depending on the model, it only needs to be done every 3 or 6 weeks. As with a separating toilet, liquid and solid waste are separated during use, so both can be disposed of separately. Emptying and disposing of the urine is just as easy as with a classic urine-diverting toilet. The collection container can be removed from the device and closed with a lid for transport. The liquid can then be disposed of in the normal toilet at home or in the gully. If you don't want to do this, you can mix the contents with water to make your own fertiliser. This can then be used outside to fertilise non-edible plants. Disposal of the solids is handled differently than with a classic dry separation toilet, as no bag is used here, but the waste ends up directly in the canister for solids. Depending on the model of separating toilet, the collection container is released from the floor anchoring for emptying or removed from the composting toilet to the front or rear. Another option that can make sense when converting is to remove the canister from the outside of the motorhome. The solid waste container can then be removed from the place where the chemical toilet cassette was previously removed. However, this has the disadvantage that you are dependent on the weather and the recess, if not present, must first be cut out. Once the canister has been removed, the litter can be transferred to a bin liner and disposed of in the residual waste. As decanting the litter is not a problem, it is advisable to do this in the motorhome so that the toilet is immediately ready for use again.

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