Composting toilets are the most common type of toilet used in tiny houses. They are also better than normal toilets for a number of reasons:
- They turn your waste into compost.
- They reduce water consumption.
- You can make a DIY one for under $100.
- They're really simple to use and run (no complicated plumbing needed).
- They can be used off-grid.
I use a composting toilet in my tiny house and I think it's great. I wish more people would use them.
But, just as most things do, composting toilets can come with a little bit of a learning curve. If you've been using regular flushing toilets all of your life, it can take a while to get used to essentially going in a bucket and getting rid of your waste yourself.
And it can take even longer to work out the most efficient and simplest ways of doing things. And there aren't many people you can ask for advice on the matter!
So I asked the Building the Tiny House Facebook fans for their top composting tips. Here's what they came up with!
1. Add coffee grinds
Your composting toilet shouldn't smell, but you could actually make it smell nice, by adding coffee grinds to it. Arrange to get coffee grinds from your local coffee shop on a regular basis, and add them to your toilet in whatever quantity smells good to you. Mm, coffee!
2. Add composting worms
If you'd like to speed up the composting process, add worms to your compost. This is called vermiculture. The worms will eat your waste, breaking it down and turning into fertiliser much quicker than it would do on its own.
Don't just stick any old worms in there though! You'll need to get hold of some compost worms, usually called red wrigglers or red worms.
3. Place a brush near the toilet
It's hard to put sawdust into a composting toilet without dropping a few flakes on the seat. Then, when you sit down, the sawdust gets stuck to your backside, and you end up with sawdust in your pants for the rest of the day! Not good!
To avoid this problem, place a brush next to your toilet. Each time you go, just brush any stray pieces of sawdust through the hole.
4. Get free wood shavings from local woodworkers or a lumber yard
Why pay for wood shavings when you could get them for free? Strike up a deal with a local woodworker or lumber yard, so that you can relieve them of their wood shavings every now and then, and use that in your toilet. Just make sure the shavings are fine enough (if they're too coarse, they won't do a very good job at locking in the smells).
5. Use pine shavings
Pine shavings can be cheaper to get hold of than other wood shavings. They're also more effective and you tend to need less of them. Again, make sure they're fine enough to do the job.
6. Light a match after you go
If you want to make sure the air is as clear as possible after you go, just keep a box of matches in your bathroom and light a match briefly before you leave the room.
7. Use more sawdust
If you pee in your composting toilet and it smells, simply use more sawdust. Make sure to add a few inches to the bottom of the toilet before you start to use it as well.
8. Read The Humanure Handbook
To get all the best information about composting toilets, read The Humanure Handbook by Joseph Jenkins. This guy is the absolute authority on the subject, and the book is a fascinating read.
Getting advice on going to the toilet isn't the most comfortable thing in the world, but hopefully these few tips have given you some ideas on how you might make your composting toilet work better. If you've got any questions or tips regarding composting toilets, please post them in the comments below!