I bet you wondered about it. Come on, admit it, you want to know how my composting toilet is working out for me, don’t you? ;) Well grab a comfy chair and I’ll tell you all about it.
I have a waterless toilet, also known as a composting toilet. I am off-grid, as you might know, here in my lovely spot in Alkmaar. That means no connection to the sewer either. Besides that, I think it is ridiculous that we are flushing millions of gallons of perfectly clean drinking water through our toilets on a daily basis. About 33 litres per person on average! And that keeps continuing even though clean drinking water is getting scarcer by the minute and you can just as well use rainwater. But enough about that. You can easily use human manure for composting. Maybe not for your bed of lettuce, but you can fertilize fruit trees very well with the stuff. There is even a word for it: humanure. Isn’t that cool?
I have a super-de-luxe Separett toilet, called the ‘Villa’. It makes me chuckle that I have a Villa in my Tiny House. ???? I wanted a little bit of luxury when it comes to ‘the throne’; I make daily use of it after all. This toilet is made in Sweden where they have years of experience with living off-grid and therefore with off-grid solutions. I got my toilet form Ecosave. They are not paying me for writing this, just so you know. But Daniel is a sweetheart and has a wealth of knowledge and experience in the field of self-sufficiency. I can recommend him wholeheartedly.
I have used my ‘Villa’ for half a year now and I like it just fine. It is a separate system for urine and stools. The urine goes out straight to my helophyte filter, where the reed plants are filtering the urine and grey water coming from my Tiny House. The stools (poo!) and toilet paper fall in a bucket inside the toilet. It goes without saying that I use only eco-friendly toilet paper. I need to empty the bucket every couple of weeks (say 3). I have a separate composting bin for that where the little creatures of the earth – like worms – create lovely compost out of it in about one-and-a-half years, which I can then use in my garden. Perhaps it doesn’t need that long, when you are a vegetarian it might take less time to compost, but I’ll stick to one-and-a-half years minimum for safety sake. I eat less and less meat but I’m not a full-time vegetarian just yet. That’s another story altogether though. Back to poo! In order to empty the bucket you can lift up the top of the toilet and you can reach the bucket easily. The bucket is lined with a biodegradable bag, the full one goes into the compost bin. I clean out the bucket with some water and line it with a new bag. When I just started using my toilet I noticed some moisture between the bag and the bucket, now it is fine. It probably is condensation.
I don’t have to flush my toilet, but not to use anything at all after a wee tends to get the toilet a little gross. I Have a spray bottle next to my toilet filled with water, a little bit of soap and a few drops of essential lemon oil, and a large bottle of water. Instead of flushing I spray a bit water/soap solution in the white part of the toilet and poor a little water from the bottle through it. I also have little tablets to put in the urine part of the toilet, which prevent urine salts from clogging the drain.
The Villa comes with a fan that transports odours out of the house 24/7. The exhaust is located directly behind my siding so you can’t see it from the outside, but it works fine like that. At first I had my doubts about that when Dimka told me that was the way he built it. But really, it is no problem at all. It is best to clean the air grate too when it’s time to empty the bucket. That way the fan works best.
When you sit down on the toilet, the blue lid in the toilet opens up and when you stand up it closes again, so you don’t have to look at what you just produced, so to speak. ;) Though I’ve heard some people say it is a good thing to have a look at it now and then… Oh well, the choice is yours anyway. You don’t have to be worried that you will look back and think HOLY SH…! ;)
The only disadvantage to this toilet that I can think of, is that it is not particularly easy to clean. Sometimes it seems to be static, attracting dust and hair like crazy. But come to think of it, that was the case in my old home as well. Hair and dust seems to automatically wind up in the restroom and bathroom, doesn’t it. It’s not a big problem; cleaning the toilet just isn’t my favourite chore. Everyone has to sit down when using this toilet, including male visitors. Peeing while standing up is out of the question; it would be a mess. When you pee whilst sitting down, the stream is automatically aimed forward and this toilet is designed for that. I have not had any ‘accidents’ yet; my pee always ends up in the white part of the toilet and doesn’t wind up in the bucket. Isn’t that wonderful!
And that’s all there is to it, simple as can be. What an invention! So, now you know. What’s the next thing you’re dying to find out about living tiny off-grid? :)