How do Composting Toilets Work? NOW Answered

How do Composting Toilets Work? NOW Answered

A composting toilet is a device which turns solid waste into compost. It creates an environment rich in oxygen which enables aerobic bacteria to break down waste. However, for you to facilitate this natural process, there are several factors to put into consideration.

What does a Composting Toilet Look Like?

They are of two different designs:

I) Self-Contained Design: This type houses the entire composting system, usually, under the bowl itself. You can find them in boats, RVs, or tiny homes. Some are also in cabins or similar country homes for temporary use. They are to be emptied by hand.

II) Central/Remote Toilet: These type of toilets direct solid waste and sometimes, they also direct liquid waste to a remote composted located somewhere else on the property. Multiple toilets can be connected by larger systems, making them ideal for compounds or large homes.

Read also: Do Composting Toilets Smell?

How does a Composting Toilet Work?

Composting toilet need to create the appropriate environment for the breakdown of the waste by aerobic bacteria. To do this, the moisture level must be appropriate, with carbon-nitrogen balance, and temperature.

Avoid too much in the composting toilet as it can drown oxygen-breathing bacteria present in it. Thus, keep it moist, but not wet.

This is why many composting toilets have a separate urine container basically for liquid waste which has to be emptied once it gets filled. Other options include a drain pit.

There are certain models which include ways to have the liquid evaporated. Having urine disposed in an appropriate manner also helps in removing excess nitrogen build-up in the compost pile.

However, an addition of carbon-rich materials such as peat and coconut fibre will help ensure the correct nitrogen-carbon balance. Also, aerobic bacteria thrive at a temperature of between 60°F – 100°F.

Some manufacturers include sensors, automatic mixers, thermostats, or additional contrivances. They are to maintain temperature, moisture control, or chemical balance.
3) Is a Composting Toilet Better than a Septic Tank?

Definitely yes! Septic tanks have several disadvantages attached to them. Some of these disadvantages are:

I) They are expensive
II) They are highly a regulated
III) They are quite difficult to maintain most especially if something goes wrong which will only make it end up in a smelly mess

4) How Much Does a Composting Toilet Cost?

The average cost of a self-contained composting toilet starts from $600 or around that cost. An example of this is the BoonJon which is a fine, basic model. More advanced central systems might cost thousands of dollars. A composting toilet costs more than a conventional model.


Composting toilets are not easy to set up in their own right. Also, not every household is equipped for it. And lastly, preparation and dedication are required to an environmentally-conscious attitude. However, if you are very much particular about sustainability and buoyant enough, then you are good to go.