Composting Toilets- Getting Past the Eww
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Composting toilets are a great option for an off grid home or those that are simply looking to use less water. A lot of people are under the assumption that they smell, are messy, and generally unclean when compared to flush toilets.This is simply not the case for the most part and to help dispel those ideas I will cover them briefly below.
If used correctly they can be even more hygienic than flush toilets. When you flush a toilet if you don't shut the lid you get a plume of water that gets sprayed into the room. The fine mist will be filled with tiny bits of what business you just did in the toilet. This mist has been know to reach up to 15 feet away and can get all over your toothbrushes. With a composting toilet that is not really a issue since there is not water or flushing.
If we are being honest with ourselves what bathroom doesn't smell occasionally. Nearly all composting toilets are equipped with a vent and a small fan that takes any smell quickly outside. Now obviously your leavings are still down in the bottom of the toilet and they can potentially smell if they are not composting correctly. The toilets tend to be made in such a way to remove any guess work from the process and make it easy to compost your leavings quickly and safely.
Depending on the size of your system you will eventually have to clean it out of the finished product. Most toilets make this clean out very simple and done in such a way that you never have to touch the compost from when you pull it out to when you dispose of it. While this does usually mean more work than cleaning a flush toilet you will probably do it less often so it evens itself out fairly quickly.
Composting toilets come in all shapes, sizes and costs and they are comparably priced or cheaper than septic systems that you would find in homes not on a city sewer system. An average septics system will cost anywhere from 1500-4000 dollars while a good composting toilet for 2-3 people is around 1000 dollars. Now if you have a large family you would perhaps want to invest in a bigger unit to compensate for the higher use.
Hopefully this very brief coverage about composting toilets has eased any issues you may have had when considering your personal hygiene in a off grid home. For more articles like this check out the pages of the Green Living Library.