Tiny House Composting Toilet
In this post: all your questions answered about our tiny house composting toilet
“I’m sorry, you do what with your human waste?!” This is the typical response we get when we tell people we use a composting toilet in our tiny house.
If you’re reading this post, our gut says you are actually somewhat intrigued by the thought of using a composting toilet, not completely repelled by it.
And, if you are repelled by the thought of using human waste on your plants, hopefully this post will at least help educate you on why a composting toilet makes perfect sense for some.
So, we’ll get right to the point and give you all the details of the most common questions when it comes to a tiny house composting toilet.
Composting toilets are a great option for tiny houses because they don’t require any water or plumbing.
They work by separating the solid and liquid waste, and then composting the solids. This is a great way to recycle human waste and turn it into valuable fertilizer!
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How does a composting toilet work?
Composting toilets work by breaking down human waste into compost. This compost can then be used to fertilize plants.
Commonly, the composting process is done in a special container that separates the liquid and solid waste.
The liquid waste is drained off and the solid waste is left to decompose. Off grid toilets ideally would not use water or electricity.
What is the best tiny house composting toilet?
Smaller composting toilets are definitely better due to the space restrictions of most tiny houses. Many composting toilets are quite large due to the nature of what they need to do (compost human waste within the unit itself).
That said, there are a few things you’ll want to look for when choosing a composting toilet.
First, make sure the toilet has a good ventilation system. This is important because it will help keep the smell down.
Second, find a toilet that is easy to clean and doesn’t require too much maintenance.
Finally, make sure the composting process is simple and doesn’t take up too much time or effort on your part.
Nature’s Head Composting Toilet is an excellent choice due to its more compact design and high customer reviews.
What is the best composting toilet for off-grid?
Off grid toilets ideally would not use water or electricity. There are a few reasons why this is the ideal scenario.
First, using water and/or electricity for toilets requires extra resources that can be hard to come by when living off the grid.
Second, these resources can be expensive to use, which can quickly add up if you’re trying to live off of a limited budget.
And finally, both water and electricity can be unreliable in certain situations, so it’s best not to rely on them too heavily.
Note: You may be thinking “toilets don’t use electricity”. And that is true, for most toilets. However, an incinerating toilet (that’s right, a toilet that burns human waste into ashy dust) now exists, and it takes quite a bit of electricity to run one. If you are off-grid, getting power to run an incinerating toilet could be quite expensive.
All that said, the Nature’s Head Composting Toilet is still our go to for toilets off-grid.
How often do you empty a composting toilet?
The decomposing process can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months. It primarily depends on how much the composting toilet is used and how large the composting “tank” is.
Typically, the manufacturer will provide general information regarding how often the unit needs to be emptied. For example, the Nature’s Head unit says with two person use, the unit will need to be emptied every 4-6 weeks.
Then, you have larger tank capacity units like the Sun-Mar Centrex Composting toilet. It has a huge storage tank and would only need emptying a few times per year. However, a set up like this is typically not ideal for a tiny house due to size of the tank and requirements of the install (ie: the tank is permanently installed below the floor).
Where do you empty a composting toilet?
Most composting toilets have a special container where the compost can be left to decompose. As mentioned above, this process can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months, depending on how much compost is being produced.
When the container is full, it needs to be emptied into an outdoor bin or pile that is designated for composting. Make sure this bin or pile is located somewhere that will not cause any problems with smell or attracting pests.
Do composting toilets smell?
Although a composting toilet may have a bad reputation for smelling, when managed properly there is no smell at all.
In fact, many people are surprised by how little odor a composting toilet actually produces.
This is due to the fact that the waste is broken down and decomposes in a contained area which helps to reduce any unpleasant smells.
Additionally, most composting toilets have a ventilation system which helps to further reduce any odors.
So, if you’re worried about smells, don’t be! With proper management, a composting toilet will not produce any smell at all.
Do all tiny houses have composting toilets?
Composting toilets are a great option for tiny houses because they don’t require any sewer or water line hook ups.
This makes them a perfect choice for people who are living off the grid or who are in remote areas where traditional plumbing is not available.
That said, using a composting toilet in a tiny house makes sense but it is not always the go to solution.
For example, if your tiny house is permanent, you could use a regular toilet that requires water and sewer hook up.
Or, you could set up a toilet in a tiny house (that is mobile) just like an RV and dump the black water out at RV stations.
Another option is to use a portable toilet. These are often found in RV that don’t have a full water/sewer setup. Essentially, a portable toilet collects human waste in a tank below the toilet, then the toilet is removable and can be emptied at a dump site.
This is a more cost effective solution, however, it may get annoying having to lug your toilet around week after week to empty it.
Can you put toilet paper in a composting toilet?
You can put toilet paper in a composting toilet, but you should not put diapers, wipes and tampons in a composting toilet.
Composting toilets are designed to break down human waste, which includes toilet paper.
However, diapers, wipes and tampons are made from materials that are difficult to decompose and could contaminate the composting process. The material may include a mix of rayon and non organic cotton and are commonly chlorine-bleached – a big no go for a composting toilet.
So, if you’re using a composting toilet, be sure to only put toilet paper in the unit.
What are the benefits of a tiny house composting toilet?
There are many benefits to using a composting toilet, both for you and for the environment.
First, composting toilets save water. A typical toilet can use up to 5 gallons of water per flush. In contrast, a composting toilet uses no water at all. This can make a big difference if you’re trying to conserve water or live off-grid where water is scarce.
Second, composting toilets are much more environmentally friendly than traditional toilets. This is because they don’t require any water to operate, and they recycle human waste instead of sending it to a landfill.
Finally, composting toilets are often less expensive to maintain than traditional toilets. This is because there is no need to pay for water or sewage, and there are no chemicals or septic tanks required.
Overall, composting toilets offer many benefits over traditional toilets, making them a great option for tiny houses.
What are the drawbacks of a tiny house composting toilet?
While composting toilets have many benefits, they also have a few drawbacks.
Let’s start with the elephant in the room and the biggest drawback. Simply put, a composting toilet requires you to handle your own sh*t.
Now, you don’t literally have to scoop your own poop, but if you are squeamish at all about the thought of having to manage your (or your family’s/guest’s) waste, a composting toilet may not be for you.
Additionally, it is more work than a regular toilet. With a regular toilet, you flush it all down the toilet and never think about it again.
But with a composting toilet, you have to be OK with emptying a bin that consists of your own waste.
For some people, the idea of dealing with their own waste is not a big deal. But for others, it can be a huge deterrent.
Another potential drawback is that composting toilets can be expensive. While the initial cost may seem high, the long-term costs are often lower than traditional toilets.
If you’re on a tight budget, the initial cost of a composting toilet may not be feasible. If this is the case, read on for tips on how to make your own tiny house composting toilet.
Finally, composting toilets require ventilation. This means that your bathroom will need to be well-ventilated in order to avoid any unpleasant smells.
If you live in a tiny house where space is super super limited, this could be a challenge.
Does a composting toilet actually work?
Yes, composting toilets do work! In fact, when managed properly, you can turn human waste into compost that is 100% safe for use as fertilizer on plants and trees.
Composting toilets are a great way to reduce your environmental impact while also saving money on water and sewage costs.
They also offer many other benefits over traditional toilets, making them a great option for tiny houses.
Can I create my own composting toilet?
If you don’t have the budget for a tiny house composting toilet, you can always go the DIY route. This can be done using a five gallon bucket, sawdust, compostable trash liner (optional) and a bucket toilet seat.
DIY composting toilets are super inexpensive to get started. This is a great way to be introduced to tiny house composting toilets.
If you’re interested in building your own DIY composting toilet, checkout the Humanure Handbook.
This book walks you through step by step on the “how to” when it comes to composting human waste. It’s my and Cully’s go-to for all things composting.
Tiny house composting toilet conclusion
A tiny house composting toilet is a great option for tiny houses because they are environmentally friendly, less expensive to maintain, and don’t require any water (or electricity) to operate.
They do, however, have a few drawbacks including the need to handle your own waste and the requirement for ventilation. If you’re comfortable with these drawbacks and can afford the initial cost, a composting toilet is a great choice for your tiny house.
Our top recommendation for a tiny house composting toilet is by Nature’s Head. It has over 600 5 star reviews and is an ideal size for a tiny home.
If you’re not keen on dropping $1,000+ dollars on a tiny house composting toilet, make one! You can get started for less than $50 using a bucket, sawdust and a toilet seat made to fit a bucket.
For step-by-step instructions on how to make your own composting toilet, checkout the Humanure Handbook.
What are your thoughts on tiny house composting toilets? Have you ever used one or would you consider using one in your tiny house? Let us know in the comments below!
Until next time,
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