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My friend's cabin needs a composting toilet. What's the best off-the shelf unit?

asked Nov 26 '12 at 16:27

Kevin%20Kelly's gravatar image

Kevin Kelly
196


answered Nov 26 '12 at 17:17

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caostaff
1

Caostaff, do you have experience with either/both of these? Why are they superior?

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answered Nov 26 '12 at 20:01

Kevin%20Kelly's gravatar image

Kevin Kelly
196

After using composting toilets on a few sailboats and one in a relatives cabin. I would say they are all prone to smells, breakage and disappointment. EXCEPT for the five gallon sawdust bucket described in the Humanure Handbook. Nothing to go wrong I've never had a smell issue either in the toilet or the compost pile. It requires a little bit of ongoing effort, but in my opinion this is 'positive' maintenance as opposed to negative maintenance when any other toilet breaks down. As an added bonus it can be built into an attractive box to match the style and material of your space and looks far better than almost any toilet on the market including water closets.

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answered Nov 27 '12 at 10:20

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atomicsmith
1

After using composting toilets on a few sailboats and one in a relatives cabin. I would say they are all prone to smells, breakage and disappointment. EXCEPT for the five gallon sawdust bucket described in the Humanure Handbook. Nothing to go wrong I've never had a smell issue either in the toilet or the compost pile. It requires a little bit of ongoing effort, but in my opinion this is 'positive' maintenance as opposed to negative maintenance when any other toilet breaks down. As an added bonus it can be built into an attractive box to match the style and material of your space and looks far better than almost any toilet on the market including water closets.

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answered Nov 27 '12 at 10:20

atomicsmith's gravatar image

atomicsmith
1

http://www.fastcoexist.com/1680926/the-gates-funded-toilet-of-the-future

Can you wait a year?

Caltech’s solar toilet team now has $1.6 million in funding from the Gates Foundation; they expect to have a prototype ready to ship to Africa--with a price tag of approximately $2,200--by December 2013.

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answered Nov 27 '12 at 18:28

frigoa's gravatar image

frigoa
1

I have experience with the sun-mar central flush units. They work well as long as you don't over use them - eg stay within the rated capacity.

Because the composting unit is outside, and the vent stack goes to the roof, smells are kept to a minimum.

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answered Nov 27 '12 at 21:17

Plotman's gravatar image

Plotman
1

Plotman, is there a particular model of SUn-mar that you recommend?

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answered Nov 29 '12 at 08:38

Kevin%20Kelly's gravatar image

Kevin Kelly
196

I do, actually. I grew up with a Carousel toilet in the house. It works well, as two years pass between insertion and shoveling it out. The urine drainage helps prevent odors, as well as a scoop of sawdust with every use and the occasional insertion of beneficial bacteria. We had a 12V fan, as well. We used it as our primary toilet for over 15 years, before my parents decided to get an indoor flush toilet because my father no longer wanted to clean it. It never broke down, never had any issues.

I had friends with a homemade, single-chamber toilet of the same essential design (toilet on the floor above, stack vent, urine drainage), and that worked well. However, it required more frequent cleaning.

Something else to think about: an outhouse. I know people have an automatic yuck reaction, but they don't have to be yucky. Ours had heating, lighting, a beautiful window, a fan, a handy bucket of lime, and easy-to-clean linoleum floors.

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answered Dec 03 '12 at 07:55

caostaff's gravatar image

caostaff
1

I have to second the sawdust toilet recommended in the Humanure Handbook. I have used one for 10 years now without problems (there really is nothing to have a problem with). A couple of suggestions: use wood pellets if you find sawdust hard to come across they quickly turn to sawdust; Don't manage your humanure piles just leave them...for years. They will take care of themselves. You can find instructions for a sawdust toilet online easily. It is embarrassingly simple and much more hygienic (even though most peole's reaction, including mine, is, "Ewwww.").

I originally envied a neighbour who had shelled out for one of the big production composting toilets. In two years it broke (an important mechanical part of the 'tumbler' was poorly designed and failed) He was left with a couple hundred pounds of incompletely composted humanure in his house. To say that he was unhappy is an understatement. He has used a sawdust toilet since then.

The sawdust toilet also provides a perfect emergency toilet (for hurricanes, power outages, etc) Just keep a 5 gallon bucket, 2 lids, and a bag of wood pellets in a closet. cut a salad plate sized hole in one of the lids for use as a 'seat' and put the other over it to 'close the lid'. Just make sure to dispose of the humanure responsibly.

In short unless local regulations require a production toilet (increasingly they do not) a sawdust toilet is the way to go. Good luck.

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answered Feb 19 '13 at 16:16

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chickadee
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Asked: Nov 26 '12 at 16:27

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Last updated: Feb 19 '13 at 16:16

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