Composting Toilets

Why use a composting toilet at all?

The Benefits of Composting waste:

Now in layman’s terms I’m gonna tell you why the concept of recycling grey water and human waste rocks my world. We need to readjust our thinking cap on what is waste. Humanure is valuable from a recycling standpoint. Human nutrients once put through a composting process are no longer the deposit we initially made. No, no Monsieur it has become something else entirely. It has become black gold, a safe and valuable fertilizer to put back into your flower garden. When you think of all the supposed waste we are flushing down the pipes and into our drinking water supplies…now THAT is the ultimate waste. Not only are we not recycling a valuable commodity, we are turning it into a waste product that brings with it, its own host of problems that in turn we now have to clean up. What??? That’s just silly. And all because we have this fixation with our ‘kaa kaa’ as something dirty. Really, we can do better. I for one am at one with my ‘kaa kaa’ and have nothing but loving thoughts towards it. That is why composting is the ultimate in recycling our contribution to the cycle of life. I know you know what I’m talking about. So I’m asking you nicely, please quit ‘dumping’ in my drinking water.

We’ll be covering a variety of Composting Toilet Systems (please scroll down for our recent posts), as well as the Traditional Outhouse, and Humanure System.

Image credit: Jacek Bednarek

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Recent composting toilet posts

The Clivus Multrum Composting Toilet

Much to my surprise the guy who invented the Clivus Multrum was neither Clivus nor Multrum.  I know, weird eh?  Guess that’s what happens when you ‘ass-u-me’. Doe!

Actually, the dude who invented it was a Swedish engineer back in 1939 by the name of Rikard Lindstrom, and the toilet was named after its unique design which translates to ‘sloping chamber’ in Swedish.

The original design has been through some face lifts as the company didn’t get lift off until 1973 in Massachusetts, however, it’s only improved upon its grey water systems and composting design.  Their aim is (in their own words) “to conserve water and keep nutrients in human waste from becoming a source of pollution.”

Well they certainly do save water.  It only takes about 3 oz per flush along with a bio-compatible soap that flushes it all away.  The guilt free part is that the water comes from recycled grey water….that is water re-routed from places like your shower, sink and laundry machine to your lavatory.  Why not use it twice?  Then of course the best part, the black water is composted in a chamber directly under the bathroom turning what was once waste into something very useful for your rose bushes…black gold…fertilizer. Happily having a composting toilet does not mean that you have to sacrifice doing something ‘green’ in exchange for a little thing called ‘smell’.  If that were the cost I’m sorry to disappoint, but I’m a wuss and simply wouldn’t do it if it were gross smelling.  Luckily for me I can do something environmental AND not have to plug my nose every time I use the can.

By far the Clivus Multrum has the look and feel of a conventional system for those who like the benefits of being green, but haven’t quite wrapped their head around throwing a handful of saw dust on their ‘er’ deposits.  You don’t have to treat it like an outhouse.  This baby for the most part has the look and feel of a regular potty, but you can feel great about handling ‘your business’ in a far more productive and ecological way. The folks at Clivus Multrum are happy to send over a representative to do regular check ups and maintenance on your system so you don’t have to worry that once you buy this thing you’re completely on your own.  The only set back as I can see it (and it’s a minute one at that) is that you can’t get one of these puppies unless there is a room directly underneath the bathroom.  Fantastic if you have two floors to your house, but a bit of a challenge if you have a one floor design as I do for my future Earthship.  Still I am so knocked out by this system I’m always thinking of how I can incorporate one of their many products into my other out buildings.  Even the ‘outhouse’ with a solar panel to activate the fan to eliminate smells has gotten my attention.

Did I give you the impression they only do residential or commercial buildings?  Yeah they do, but there are also national parks using them on hiking paths in the middle of no where. No where like the Irving Eco Center in New Brunswick with their trail head model.  Thank god for privies in the middle of no where.  Nothing says gratitude like communing with nature, and then happening upon an outhouse so you can commune with nature . In case you’ve never seen one here’s a shot of the design and a look at how they work.  Since I can’t draw anything beyond a stick man I actually asked for permission from the folks at ClivusMultrum.com and they were happy to oblige.  I think the thought of me doing a line diagram illustrating their product scared the ____ out of them so they said yes.  Either way here it is.

If you want to know more you’ll have to go to them direct because I don’t have the price lists n’ stuff.  However, if you do wind up buying one please let them know we turned you onto them. How else am I gonna make this site grow into the ‘little Engine that could’.  Personally I’m secretly hoping that some positive word of mouth will find its way back to them and they’ll offer to play a part in sponsoring the water closet in my Middle Earth Home project.  So um, if you know a friend of a friend who works there, please feel free.

Image credtis: Clivus Multrum


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The Outhouse

‘Privy‘, ‘Johns‘, ‘the Crapper‘, ‘the Can‘, or just plain old Outhouse is by any other name the classic, timeless ode to the original (in my opinion) composting toilet. In layman’s terms you dig a hole for the latrine and place a small building over it for protection and privacy to do your business. Over time…

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Sun-Mar Composting Toilets

I can’t speak to all makes and models of Sun-mar’s full range of products, but I can comment on one in particular; the ‘Excel’ that retails in mainstream places like Home Depot.  I LOVE that composting toilets are making their way into the big chains because if the ‘Depot’ is carrying it, it can’t be…

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The Humanure Toilet

First off let me just bow to Joseph Jenkins, author of the ‘Humanure Handbook’, when I say Bill and Ted style, “We are not worthy”. This man has single-handedly come up with the most practical, sane, hygienic, and useful means of dealing with human waste that I have ever heard of.  This is no light…

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