When you live off the grid, life is a little different from the usual day to day of the average person on the street. While people who live in ordinary houses have the benefit of water from their faucets and flushing toilets, those of us who live off grid doesn’t have those luxuries. Since our cabin isn’t connected to the city’s water supply, we don’t have any access to the city’s services like running water or the sewage system and therefore we have to think of other alternatives so that we can live as normal a life as possible but in a more sustainable way.
While getting water from a natural source is the obvious solution to the running water problem, access to a decent sewage system is more of a problem. Nobody wants to go back to the old days of having to dig a hole in the ground, so what is the way around it?
The good news is that there is a perfect alternative which is eco-friendly, convenient and as much like a normal toilet as you could imagine – the composting toilet. Get more info below:
What Is A Composting Toilet?
A composting toilet looks pretty similar to a regular toilet, however instead of flushing away waste using water, instead, it treats the excrement using a biological process, turning it into an organic composting material which can then be used in turn to fertilize plants and crops. A composting toilet is a small scale waste processing system and works by creating the right aerobic conditions to allow bacteria and the other micro-organisms in excrement to thrive.
Harmful pathogens will be destroyed so that there is no risk to the environment or human health, but the waste will be transformed into nutrients which can help to make the soil more fertile. A composting toilet separates the urine from the feces, with the urine being nitrified to produce a liquid that is bacteria free and odorless, suitable for use as a fertilizer.
Toilet paper and feces are collected separately in a tank below the toilet seat while a screen prevents flies and other bugs from getting in. The tank features a rotation mechanism or stirrer which distributes the material evenly to allow better decomposition. Once the tank is filled, it can be removed and the contents added to the compost pile to fertilize the garden.
Why Choose A Composting Toilet?
Some people have asked why we would want to invest in a composting toilet, however, the benefits are manifold. Of course they need a little more maintenance to ensure they stay hygienically clean and free from odors, however, they can protect groundwater, soil and surface water from pollution by sewage while preventing dangerous pathogenic waste from accumulating. They are also useful in saving water, which is becoming an ever-more precious resource and solves the problems associated with disposing of the sewage sludge in landfill sites.
Since they are low maintenance and low impact while being able to adapt to any circumstances, even in places where it would be impossible to establish a toilet system which could be connected to the mains, composting toilets are an effective and safe way of sustainably saving resources and preventing pollution while also saving energy and money.
Best Composting Toilets
As our cabin is off-grid, we needed to choose a composting toilet for our cabin’s new bathroom, but the problem was which one to choose. Eventually, we shortlisted these two options from Home Worthy List:
Sun-Mar Excel Self-Contained Composting Toilet
This efficient and high quality composting toilet boasts a large capacity, making it ideal for larger families for extended periods. With a vent fan and electrical heat, it produces no unpleasant odors and can evaporate liquids effectively. It even features a 1/2” emergency drain outlet which will stop any overflowing. The downside of this toilet is that its seat is pretty high due to the need to accommodate its composting tray which is located inside the base. This means that a step is included for use with the toilet and this may be uncomfortable for some users.
Nature’s Head Dry Composting Toilet
This toilet features a crank handle for an even more traditional toilet experience and its elongated seat design ensures excellent comfort during use. Its separate channels any urine into a bottle which can then be detached for emptying and the optional 110v or 12v vent fan ensures that any odors are blown out through the outlet pipe. The toilet’s container has a lid for use when removing waste and additional lids and containers are available for anyone who would prefer to compost their waste for a longer period of time. The downside is that the 5-foot outlet may be a little short depending on where it is used and may, therefore, require extra piping.
In the end, we decided to opt for the Sun-Mar toilet since it is affordable, efficient and built to last. I’m looking forward to finally being able to use the facilities in our cabin! Hope these bathroom renovation recommendations (specifically toilet recommendations) helped you out!