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Old 09-13-2012, 06:41 PM   #1
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Compost toilet

Any ideas for year-round living with a compost toilet?

-thanks,leroylerot
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Old 09-13-2012, 09:18 PM   #2
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Depends how regular you are. I would maybe think about getting a flush one for full timing.
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Old 09-13-2012, 09:34 PM   #3
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We thought about it for our "big trip" from Seattle to KeyWest that we are planning... but in the end, I think that finding pump out locations will be the superior option. The good composting toilets are darn near $1000!
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Old 09-14-2012, 07:03 AM   #4
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Composting toilets aren't necessarily all they're cracked up to be. Some people swear by them, some people hate them, and neither can change the other's mind. My recommendation is, go with what texasbound says.

Composting toilets typically use heat to dry the solid waste, and that heat has to come from somewhere. Usually your electrical system. Plus some systems use power venting to control odors, and that adds another electrical load for the fan. Some systems drain off the liquid waste into a small black-water holding tank to dry the solid waste more quickly, so even a composting toilet doesn't eliminate the need to visit dump stations. Plus you still have to get rid of the solid waste from time to time. Even if it's compost, it started off as human waste, and State health departments usually have some very specific things to say about where you can put it.

That doesn't even consider the hassles of ripping out your existing toilet and installing the new composting toilet.

Composting toilets don't do anything for gray water. If you're in a location where they don't allow discharge of gray water, you still have to visit dump stations anyway.

I fail to see any particular gain to using composting toilets in lieu of the black tank you already have. Of course, if you're convinced that's the way you want to go (so to speak) then feel free to ignore what I wrote and press on regardless.
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Old 09-14-2012, 08:45 AM   #5
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I always found it interesting that the forest service and national parks use them. 10,000 ft on mt rainier and in the mountains of Colorado. They are frozen over half the year. IMO they are one of those green fads that really are more hassle than practical. They would work in the desert however.
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Old 09-14-2012, 09:02 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by purman View Post
I always found it interesting that the forest service and national parks use them. 10,000 ft on mt rainier and in the mountains of Colorado. They are frozen over half the year. IMO they are one of those green fads that really are more hassle than practical. They would work in the desert however.
Corps of Engineers tried them for a while at some of their lake projects in Texas. I asked them about it back when New Orleans District was looking into the possibility of installing composting toilets at some of our natural resource sites in the Atchafalaya Basin. The guys I talked to in Fort Worth District strongly advised us not to install them.

And that was for permanent installation. I can only imagine that the hassles of portable installation in a trailer would be as bad, or worse.
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Old 09-14-2012, 10:22 AM   #7
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We installed a composting toilet (Nature's Head) when we took out our old toilet and black tank to fix the rear end separation. It uses a tiny bit of electricity for the fan, so it is very low impact. We don't notice any smell.

The Nature's Head toilets separate out the liquid from the solid. We have a pee container that we empty into whatever facilities are nearby, the toilets at campgrounds or the porta-potties at Burning Man. We try to use outside facilities for solid waste, so the composter is really only dealing with toilet paper. It requires occasional moistening but breaks it down to dark loam in the base of the toilet.

This has worked very well for our needs for two years. But we have alternate facilities wherever we go, generally, and don't use our trailer for camping during the winter.

It is ideal if there is a stretch of time when it is not being used for solid waste in order to let the solids compost before removing them for disposal. When they are composted, they smell like dirt. Without that time, they recommend transferring the solids to a compost bin to finish composting before disposing in the trash (more sanitary than diapers).
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