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F*** composting toilets!  RSS feed

 
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After 6 years homesteading I am finally coming around to realize that it is OK not to do it all. We just got a new well installed and the composting toilet is going to be the first thing to go!! We have done it pretty much by the book and still have issues with flies, hamster cage smell, and messiness (try keeping wood shavings from being thrown around the bathroom by a 2 year old, hah!). We already have a septic tank, we just switched to conserve water because our old well only gave 1/2 gal per min. I'm sure there are changes we could continue to try to make this work, but it is just not worth it to us. It doesn't make sense anymore to purchase wood shavings when we now have a functioning well. Also, I am having doubts that compost toilets really save that much water, or maybe I am just overly thorough/paranoid when I wash ours out? Anyway, we are over it. Time to focus on other things like building the cob greenhouse so we can grow bananas and avocados

Anyone else give up on pooping in a bucket? Or on anything else for that matter, and not feel guilty about it?
 
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I hear you!

Shortly after buying this property in 1998, the septic tank gave up. After much searching we found it -- it was made of cedar logs. I have no idea how long it had been here, but the house was built in 1855 and plumbing may have been added in the 1940s?? Anyway, current regulations would have meant bringing in tons of dirt to bring the ground level up, installing a whole system, and drilling a new well (it's an old dug well, but gives plenty of water) as it would have been too close to the septic tank. I didn't happen to have the many thousands of dollars required for all that, so I installed a non-electric, whole-house commercial composting toilet and patted myself on the back for being so environmentally-friendly.

I've definitely had enough! It works sort-of okay, but it's a pain to look after. It stinks when the air pressure changes, often in the warmer months. I had a solar powered fan and replaced it twice -- they don't last at all! I also get loads of what I call shit flies, tiny flies that woosh up when you lift the toilet seat. I'm also tired of having a cellar full of stuff to feed the big bin, turning the bin, and emptying the bin. I'm getting up there in years & can't imagine doing this when I'm 80. Unfortunately I'll never have the dollars for a new system and well, so I'm stuck with it.

BTW, I sometimes just use a bucket just to take a break. It's easier.
 
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I have a beach shack in the marshes on the Texas coast. I opted for an incinerating toilet. It does require electricity. I'll know in a couple of weeks if it was a good decision.  It wasn't cheap, but it's 75% cheaper than a septic system. The water table is ruffly 12" below ground so digging an outhouse is not an option.

You basically put an oversized paper coffee filter in the commode. Do your business. Hit a lever that drops it in a compartment down below. Hit another button and a fan turns on that sucks air into the commode and discharges it out a 4" pipe out of your house similar to a dryer vent. A heating element turns it into ashes.  They state each "Use" creates a tablespoon of ash.

It's freestanding. Just plug it Into a 110v outlet (20 amp) and run the vent pipe. Pretty straight forward.
 
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Anyone else give up on pooping in a bucket? Or on anything else for that matter, and not feel guilty about it?



We gave ours up but not willingly...we moved to an old house in a little rural town with a flush toilet and haven't figured out how to discretely set up a sawdust bucket again...maybe in one of the outbuildings and use occasionally.  We did find a place for the pee bucket indoors and I empty daily on outside plantings and compost unselfconsciously (I thought before we moved that neighbors would notice what I was doing).

No need to suffer...just do what works for you and yours...none of us need to feel guilty about our lifestyle choices
 
Sid Smith
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Jane Weeks wrote:
BTW, I sometimes just use a bucket just to take a break. It's easier.



I thought about doing something similar to this guy's rotating-drum style system, maybe something like this would work for you? Its much less labor intensive than a commercial system or buckets -

 
Sid Smith
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wayne fajkus wrote:incinerating toilet



Sounds awesome, I hope it works out and continues to be clean and efficient! With only a tbs of ash it sounds like it will be years before you even need to dispose of the waste. Does it cost a lot of money in electricity to power the incinerator?
 
Sid Smith
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Judith Browning wrote:We gave ours up but not willingly...we moved to an old house in a little rural town with a flush toilet and haven't figured out how to discretely set up a sawdust bucket again...maybe in one of the outbuilding



I stayed at an airbnb cob house in LA last year that had a sawdust bucket and compost bin right in their yard, not 3 feet from the neighbors. They didnt have any smell or anything and I dont think the neighbors knew about it at all! Makes me wonder what we are doing wrong here.

Maybe something like what the guy did in the video I linked above would work for you too, if you have room in your yard for a bunch of 50 gallon barrels.
 
Jane Weeks
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Thanks,Sid, but that's not for me. I actually find the buckets simple and easy. The only problem is taking them outside in the wintertime. That and the fact that most people who visit me wouldn't be happy using buckets. I just use a bucket occasionally when I'm fed up with the fancy system.
 
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Sid Smith wrote:It doesn't make sense anymore to purchase wood shavings when we now have a functioning well.



This actually brings up a question I've had reading about composting toilets. Where do people get their high carbon material from? I see a lot about sawdust, but if you aren't building much I can't see generating enough on your own land. Now I'm a city girl, so maybe I'm underestimating the amount of wood cutting...
 
Judith Browning
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Sid Smith wrote:

Judith Browning wrote:We gave ours up but not willingly...we moved to an old house in a little rural town with a flush toilet and haven't figured out how to discretely set up a sawdust bucket again...maybe in one of the outbuilding



I stayed at an airbnb cob house in LA last year that had a sawdust bucket and compost bin right in their yard, not 3 feet from the neighbors. They didnt have any smell or anything and I dont think the neighbors knew about it at all! Makes me wonder what we are doing wrong here.

Maybe something like what the guy did in the video I linked above would work for you too, if you have room in your yard for a bunch of 50 gallon barrels.



We've considered the half buried two barrel system, but just stuck with a five gallon bucket.  One of ours was in the house and virtually no smell. The other in the old outhouse.  I wonder if your wood shavings didn't block the odor as well as sawdust would?  Somewhere here there is a discussion about sawdust and how bandsaw sawdust is even better than regular mill sawdust, it's a bit finer....also being just slightly damp, not perfectly dry, can form a better barrier to smell.

We live in an area that does a lot of logging and milling so free sawdust has always been here for the hauling.
 
Sid Smith
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Thyri Gullinvargr wrote:

Sid Smith wrote:It doesn't make sense anymore to purchase wood shavings when we now have a functioning well.



This actually brings up a question I've had reading about composting toilets. Where do people get their high carbon material from? I see a lot about sawdust, but if you aren't building much I can't see generating enough on your own land. Now I'm a city girl, so maybe I'm underestimating the amount of wood cutting...



We purchase triple-screen shavings like what you would get for a chicken coop or rabbit cage or something like that. It is like $6 for a 7.5 cubic foot bag, I think that they can be delivered by truckload as well. At first we tried just using dirt, but it was too heavy and created too much dust. Then we tried free sawdust from a logging place, but it was too splintery and dirty and still too much dust. Even the triple screened stuff creates a ton of dust. The shavings don't seem to be dense or heavy enough to snuff-out the smell completely, too, and I think that is why we still have flies.
 
Sid Smith
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Judith Browning wrote: I wonder if your wood shavings didn't block the odor as well as sawdust would?  Somewhere here there is a discussion about sawdust and how bandsaw sawdust is even better than regular mill sawdust, it's a bit finer....also being just slightly damp, not perfectly dry, can form a better barrier to smell



Yeah that makes sense. We did try sawdust briefly but it was very dirty with a lot of big chunks of wood in it, so it didnt work too well. We live in CA where all of the pine trees are dying so there is some free stuff around from where they are being cut up, but mostly big chunky stuff. I probably would have to drive pretty far to find the nice stuff you are talking about but yeah, it makes sense why that would work a lot better than the shavings.
 
Judith Browning
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Sid Smith wrote:

Judith Browning wrote: I wonder if your wood shavings didn't block the odor as well as sawdust would?  Somewhere here there is a discussion about sawdust and how bandsaw sawdust is even better than regular mill sawdust, it's a bit finer....also being just slightly damp, not perfectly dry, can form a better barrier to smell



Yeah that makes sense. We did try sawdust briefly but it was very dirty with a lot of big chunks of wood in it, so it didnt work too well. We live in CA where all of the pine trees are dying so there is some free stuff around from where they are being cut up, but mostly big chunky stuff. I probably would have to drive pretty far to find the nice stuff you are talking about but yeah, it makes sense why that would work a lot better than the shavings.



For some reason the mills here have pretty clean sawdust...all piled separately from the bark and mostly oak and pine.  Our son has a bandsaw mill but cuts a lot of walnut and cedar so we didn't use his sawdust even though it was so nice and fine.....
 
Sid Smith
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Judith Browning wrote:
For some reason the mills here have pretty clean sawdust...all piled separately from the bark and mostly oak and pine.  Our son has a bandsaw mill but cuts a lot of walnut and cedar so we didn't use his sawdust even though it was so nice and fine.....



What makes the walnut and cedar less good to use?
 
Judith Browning
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Sid Smith wrote:

Judith Browning wrote:
For some reason the mills here have pretty clean sawdust...all piled separately from the bark and mostly oak and pine.  Our son has a bandsaw mill but cuts a lot of walnut and cedar so we didn't use his sawdust even though it was so nice and fine.....



What makes the walnut and cedar less good to use?



Walnut because of it's allelopathic properties. We weren't using the finished compost on the garden but didn't want to affect the area in the woods where we left the composted material.  Cedar we thought just wouldn't compost well because of the longevity of the wood itself (that's true of walnut also) I think I read some things as well but couldn't tell you where at the moment.  I live with a woodworker so we might overthink somethings. 
 
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what about using urine diversion to reduce the amount of needed carbon?

i made a toilet for the garden hut from an old chair, a bucket gut in half for the diverter (it has some holes in the low end and a small plastic-funnel glued below the holes. i used strips of plastic and a soldering iron to fuse the funnel to the bucket), a 5l canister and a bucket with lid. the bucket has some big holes near the top, covered with fly-mesh/screen. i use some shredded newspapers as cover but that s more for optics,
 
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GSAP Micro-Flush Toilet. Designed for 3rd world countries. Easy, and cheap to build, and ZERO smell, and free compost when your done. This is a time lapse of the build I was involved in.

pplication of GSAP Microflush toilets:  a sustainable developm ent approach to rural  and peri-urban sanitation

 
Sid Smith
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Judith Browning wrote:

Sid Smith wrote:

Judith Browning wrote:
For some reason the mills here have pretty clean sawdust...all piled separately from the bark and mostly oak and pine.  Our son has a bandsaw mill but cuts a lot of walnut and cedar so we didn't use his sawdust even though it was so nice and fine.....



What makes the walnut and cedar less good to use?



Walnut because of it's allelopathic properties. We weren't using the finished compost on the garden but didn't want to affect the area in the woods where we left the composted material.  Cedar we thought just wouldn't compost well because of the longevity of the wood itself (that's true of walnut also) I think I read some things as well but couldn't tell you where at the moment.  I live with a woodworker so we might overthink somethings. 



Ah yeah, that all makes sense. Thanks for explaining!
 
Sid Smith
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Tobias Ber wrote:what about using urine diversion to reduce the amount of needed carbon?

i made a toilet for the garden hut from an old chair, a bucket gut in half for the diverter (it has some holes in the low end and a small plastic-funnel glued below the holes. i used strips of plastic and a soldering iron to fuse the funnel to the bucket), a 5l canister and a bucket with lid. the bucket has some big holes near the top, covered with fly-mesh/screen. i use some shredded newspapers as cover but that s more for optics,



Cool, sounds like a good system. We try to go pee outside most of the time when we are out there but never put together any sort of legit potty system outside. Might try that!
 
Sid Smith
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Justyn Mavis wrote:




GSAP Micro-Flush Toilet. Designed for 3rd world countries. Easy, and cheap to build, and ZERO smell, and free compost when your done. This is a time lapse of the build I was involved in.

pplication of GSAP Microflush toilets:  a sustainable developm ent approach to rural  and peri-urban sanitation



How cool! I had not heard of these. Looks awesome. Am I understanding this correctly, it seems kind of like a mini self contained septic?
 
Tobias Ber
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here s a good video on that kind of system:

 
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I've only been around two composting toilets in my life, and neither one was a picnic.  I'm not really sure why septic systems are frowned on by ecologically-minded folks.  A good one takes human waste and liquefies it, then disperses it through a leach field for plants to utilize.  Having repaired just over a dozen and installed five new ones, I can't really see many drawbacks. I have heard the argument that the human waste is wasted by going into the tank, but if the tank works properly, it will come out through the finger system and plant roots can reach it!  So it gets re-used. The waste and toilet paper is digested by bacteria, midges and a host of other organisms and seeps out as nutrient dense water on the other side underneath the topsoil.  I've had some pumped out that haven't had anything removed in the prior 10 years and they were clean as a whistle, for a septic tank that is.  I think of it as a liquid composter.

If done properly, they almost never need pumped out and advances in leach field products are making root clogged finger systems a thing of the past.  I know there are people reading this that have had failed septic systems and can't believe that they don't need pumped out, so let me qualify that.  I said "done properly" and properly means two things: Having a grey water line and being cautious of the cleaning agents you use on your toilets.  I also realize some municipalities do not allow grey water lines, which is a crime unto itself, but that's another topic.

The bacteria and organisms are breaking down the waste and toilet paper and if detergents and cleaners are constantly being dumped into the system, they suffer die offs.  That's why you want a separate grey water line for the draining of your sinks and washing machines.  The grey water line has it's own leaching finger system away from the septic tank and finger system.   By using natural cleaners like vinegar, etc., you don't kill the organisms in the tank.  And those organisms do a great job.  If the septic tank is live and active, you could probably get rid of a body in one.  Not that I've put a body in one.

The greenest grass in my yard is over the gray water line and the finger system of my septic.

So I say, don't beat yourself up over it, septics ain't that bad, in my opinion.
 
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" I'm not really sure why septic systems are frowned on by ecologically-minded folks." COST.
 
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Marcus Billings wrote:I'm not really sure why septic systems are frowned on by ecologically-minded folks.  A good one takes human waste and liquefies it, then disperses it through a leach field for plants to utilize. 
.... and seeps out as nutrient dense water on the other side underneath the topsoil. 


You certainly have practical experience and I don't so I could be wrong, but my understanding is that septic tanks and leach fields are required to be too deep for plant roots to reach, because roots would clog them. So the nutrients don't go back up into the plants, they soak down and eventually into the water table or nearby water bodies, though it may take years for it to happen. In many areas it has already happened and water bodies are polluted by excess nutrients. Certainly the ocean waters around Cape Cod are already polluted by excess nutrients from domestic septic tanks (there's almost no agriculture to blame).
 
Marcus Billings
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Rebecca Norman wrote:

Marcus Billings wrote:I'm not really sure why septic systems are frowned on by ecologically-minded folks.  A good one takes human waste and liquefies it, then disperses it through a leach field for plants to utilize. 
.... and seeps out as nutrient dense water on the other side underneath the topsoil. 


You certainly have practical experience and I don't so I could be wrong, but my understanding is that septic tanks and leach fields are required to be too deep for plant roots to reach, because roots would clog them. So the nutrients don't go back up into the plants, they soak down and eventually into the water table or nearby water bodies, though it may take years for it to happen. In many areas it has already happened and water bodies are polluted by excess nutrients. Certainly the ocean waters around Cape Cod are already polluted by excess nutrients from domestic septic tanks (there's almost no agriculture to blame).



Hi Rebecca,
What you have said is absolutely true in some areas.  These codes are based on old logic that basically says "put the effluent as far down as possible and let the bedrock, etc. take care of the filtration to the water table", which, as you've pointed out, doesn't work long term.  It does depend on the rules for a given county or municipality, but most places are coming around and instead of insisting on 3'-4' leach fields, shallower finger systems are becoming more common.  If the finger system has correct grade, I think 12" to 18" is perfect. (and yes, I've built and replaced my own, so I don't always go by the book, and you may feel that you need to adhere to local codes, just letting you know what works for me)  Even today, building codes and septic parts manufacturers speak in terms of all the liquid draining out, away from the septic and tank and then DOWN, DOWN, DOWN.  The idea of plants using the waste of the septic is not something you will hear traditional builders, officials are septic tank installers discuss.  My main focus of the original reply was to let the poster know that septic in general, aren't always an unfriendly ecological choice. 

And yes, in the past, when perforated drain tubing was the material of choice, you could get blockages from roots because you had small 1/2" holes on opposite sides of the pipes that really didn't drain that well to begin with.  Now, the most common thing to use for the leach field is a "leaching chamber" or "diffuser"  which is essentially a plastic half-pipe 24"-36" wide, about 5' long with multiple slits in the side, with the rounded side up.  These are linked end to end and since the entire width is closed from the top, roots coming from the surface are directed to the sides.  The entire width on the underneath side is open, so there really isn't anything to clog. The system creates a little cave that the liquid flows into and slowing seeps out.  That being said, I don't plant trees or bushes known for substantial root systems directly over the diffusers, just in case. Most of the food plants that I put in, like blackberries, I plant just to the side of the diffusers.

 
 
Marcus Billings
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William Lee wrote:" I'm not really sure why septic systems are frowned on by ecologically-minded folks." COST.



Hi William,

Although I do agree that there is some connection in  certain situations between ecology and cost, in my experience, energy return on investment is a much more important factor than cost by itself.  Just plain "cost" doesn't determine if something is ecologically sound or not.  Cheap doesn't always equate to "green", "sustainable", or "permaculture" for that matter.  If I pay a higher than average price for a specific cultivar of persimmon tree, I do it knowing that the traits I desire come with the plant and will benefit me in the future.

Yes, initially a complete septic system installed by someone other than yourself can be more money than you spend on a new chicken coop or farm implement, or a lot of things, but time IS money, and by that measure, if you value your time at all, a composting toilet over the long term will consume a lot of yours and will probably be an economic dead-heat if not loser.  I say this knowing that some people fertilize with the compost and that you would realize productivity from the produce that this fertilizer was used on, but in the two experiences I've had with composting toilets, the owners were on the move regularly and the compost was not used for this purpose very often if at all.  Just saying.  (This is without considering old septics that can be renovated.)  In my opinion, the benefits of a septic system more than outweigh the money that I have to save initially to have one installed. Personally, I'd rather get up, flush and get back to planting berry bushes that my septic will be feeding than practice the alchemy required for composting toilets, but hey, that's just me.

The water that goes into the toilet after the installation is a slightly different story and there are a lot of variables in water use that determine overall costs for a project.  I don't pay for water, so I am at an advantage in that regard.

 
Marcus Billings
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Works at a residential alternative high school in the Himalayas SECMOL.org . "Back home" is Cape Cod, E Coast USA.

By the way Rebecca, I think your day job is awesome!
 
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We had a pit with trees around it and regular flush toilets no smell. the drain we have now stinks when a hard rain comes the sewer fills with water pushing air from pipe into my home.
 
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Marcus Billings wrote:

William Lee wrote:" I'm not really sure why septic systems are frowned on by ecologically-minded folks." COST.



Hi William,

Although I do agree that there is some connection in  certain situations between ecology and cost, in my experience, energy return on investment is a much more important factor than cost by itself.  Just plain "cost" doesn't determine if something is ecologically sound or not.  Cheap doesn't always equate to "green", "sustainable", or "permaculture" for that matter.  If I pay a higher than average price for a specific cultivar of persimmon tree, I do it knowing that the traits I desire come with the plant and will benefit me in the future.

Yes, initially a complete septic system installed by someone other than yourself can be more money than you spend on a new chicken coop or farm implement, or a lot of things, but time IS money, and by that measure, if you value your time at all, a composting toilet over the long term will consume a lot of yours and will probably be an economic dead-heat if not loser.  I say this knowing that some people fertilize with the compost and that you would realize productivity from the produce that this fertilizer was used on, but in the two experiences I've had with composting toilets, the owners were on the move regularly and the compost was not used for this purpose very often if at all.  Just saying.  (This is without considering old septics that can be renovated.)  In my opinion, the benefits of a septic system more than outweigh the money that I have to save initially to have one installed. Personally, I'd rather get up, flush and get back to planting berry bushes that my septic will be feeding than practice the alchemy required for composting toilets, but hey, that's just me.

The water that goes into the toilet after the installation is a slightly different story and there are a lot of variables in water use that determine overall costs for a project.  I don't pay for water, so I am at an advantage in that regard.



Your posts have made me feel much, much better!! I am pretty sure we have the shallow finger-type of septic tank you described. We've had a toilet back in for about a week now and woooohooo I am so happy about it. It is wonderful!!
 
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The irony of it is that the people that have the least to gain from a composting toilet are people in rural areas, where they are easiest to implement.  I agree with William that there is very little to nothing to be gained by people with septic systems switching to composting toilets.  People using the city sewer and water are the ones contributing to the problem, and they would have more issues implementing a composting toilet.
 
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I have to say I'm rather surprised by this thread. I live in the suburbs in California, and I have always had problems with regular toilets. I was looking forward to trying a composting toilet because it would be free of the problems of regular toilets, like always running, seals not holding, requiring multiple flushes to empty everything, etc. It would be great to use the toilet and have no worries, but I've never found that to be the case. It sounds like both have their issues. Which I guess isn't surprising.
 
Todd Parr
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Stacy Witscher wrote:I have to say I'm rather surprised by this thread. I live in the suburbs in California, and I have always had problems with regular toilets. I was looking forward to trying a composting toilet because it would be free of the problems of regular toilets, like always running, seals not holding, requiring multiple flushes to empty everything, etc. It would be great to use the toilet and have no worries, but I've never found that to be the case. It sounds like both have their issues. Which I guess isn't surprising.



I think you will find that the maintenance of a regular toilet is much less.  I have a bucket system that I built after reading the Humanure Handbook, so I have used both.  Simply getting carbon material, storing it, carrying it, composting it, and cleaning the buckets is far more work than putting in a toilet kit once every couple years.  Don't get me wrong, there are benefits to the composting toilet, over even a septic system.  After using one for a while, the sound of a toilet flushing is a little jarring.  With a bucket system, there isn't really much of anything that can go wrong, in regards to catastrophic "oh no, the house is flooded with sewage" type issues, there is less to worry about in those regards.  The really great thing about a bucket toilet is that it is inexpensive enough that you can easily try one for a year or more and decide if it is worth making the switch completely and permanently.
 
Stacy Witscher
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Yeah, I think that my household has had an unusual amount of trouble with toilets, but there are 7 living here right now. It just seems never ending. But me, I would rather haul buckets than rip apart another toilet, or pay another huge water bill or deal with a leaking seal.
 
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We have a traditional septic tank and drainfield and the grass was always thick and green over it. Six years ago I tilled the drainfield area and we now grow an excellent crop of corn there,  no rotation. The corn also draws water from the ground so water used to flush is also somewhat recaptured. We also use urine we collect in one gallon milk jugs urinating outside using a funnel. Have used 36 gallons of urine so far this year mixed with water at 8 parts water to one part urine and surface applied using a sump pump mixed in a 55 gallon barrel and long garden hoses. No additional ferts used for corn, okra and mellons. Using urine for 25 years now.
 
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I'm really on the fence about mine and am VERY curious about those shallow septic systems...

I've been using a bucket toilet for 4 years, which includes potty training my youngest. I love all the compost, and since I own my land and won't be moving anywhere I really love having that. However, it IS messy when you have young kids, guests are kinda weird about it, and I am so totally over emptying buckets (especially like mentioned above, when it's winter and freezing outside). No matter what I do, my chickens seem to always find a way into the current bin and scratch around in the fresh stuff and that kinda grosses me out and then I don't want to eat their eggs because of possible fecal contamination. It also sucks when the bucket is full and you HAVE to go empty them and do all the rigamarole but the weather is bad otherwise. Like today I woke up and I knew I needed to do it but I didn't get around to it until 10am at which point it was already over 90 degrees out... bad planning, yes, but I guess I'm kinda over having to plan that out.

Having said that, my kids actually prefer our toilet to flush toilets. I don't remember this, but they are all afraid of overflowing toilets and they like that we never have to deal with that. Plus the cost can't be beat!

Also, the fact is I'm a single mother so I have to not only earn a living and run my online business, raise my three kids, but also finish building my home / develop my homestead and I'm about 80% come to the conclusion that when the time is right, I'm going to put in a septic. I have a well, so it isn't like it would cost extra to use more water, and I may end up also doing an outhouse so that at least in the summertime we won't need to always use the flush toilets. It seems like there should be SOME option that I could do that will take the waste out of my home but still be able to use it. Now that I think about it, I'm surprised no one has invented something! But maybe the shallow septic will do that.

 
Bethany Dutch
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OH! And one more thing I NEVER would have thought about before I did this...

If anyone leaves the toilet lid up and you happen to have a dog in the house, you may end up with a nasty gross mess on your hands. We weren't in the habit of worry about the lid before we did this and sometimes my kids STILL leave the lid up. Dogs loooove poop 😡
 
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My experience with composting toilets is that bigger is better. The bucket system works alright for one person or a couple but takes a lot of dedication. The best toilets I've ever used are ones where an entire years worth of poo is deposited in one container, then left for at least another year with a separate container is filled. Then the first container is cleared out and year 3 poo goes there. The very best composter I ever used had 4 containers so the piles were only removed after nearly 3 years sitting and were totally clean by then. I have used rice hulls, saw dust, stove ash, and peat and combinations of those all with good success. I always have added EM-1 sporadically which seems to help.  I just have a big aversion to pooping into potable water though so that's my biggest hangup, we have always just dumped our humanure out in the woods (when we weren't just pooping in a big hole in the ground, hillbilly septic) although I knew an old man who would cover his piles with inoculated oak logs and grow SHITakes on top. In any case, don't beat yourself up for not doing it all, no one does, but I do have to say, I think we can do better than pooping in drinking water.
 
Todd Parr
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stephen lowe wrote:... I think we can do better than pooping in drinking water.



I agree 100% IF you are on a city system and pumping waste to a giant chemical-laden processing plant, but what difference does it make if you are rural and have a well and a septic system?  Nothing involved, be it the waste or the water, leaves my land.  The only thing "wasted" is the amount of electricity it takes to pump the water, and unless you have all the carbon you need available, I doubt that is worse than the gas to get carbon material moved to my land.
 
stephen lowe
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Todd Parr wrote:

stephen lowe wrote:... I think we can do better than pooping in drinking water.



I agree 100% IF you are on a city system and pumping waste to a giant chemical-laden processing plant, but what difference does it make if you are rural and have a well and a septic system?  Nothing involved, be it the waste or the water, leaves my land.  The only thing "wasted" is the amount of electricity it takes to pump the water, and unless you have all the carbon you need available, I doubt that is worse than the gas to get carbon material moved to my land.



I can certainly see that perspective, to me it's more about restoring the respect for water as sacred. Instead of adding poop to it and making both substances less useful we can keep them separate and both can remain viable resources. Also, depending on where you live rurally water may be more or less scarce. But again, to me it is more about returning to a worldview where water is given it's rightful place as the source of life, not just the disposer of waste.
 
Bethany Dutch
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Todd Parr wrote:

stephen lowe wrote:... I think we can do better than pooping in drinking water.



I agree 100% IF you are on a city system and pumping waste to a giant chemical-laden processing plant, but what difference does it make if you are rural and have a well and a septic system?  Nothing involved, be it the waste or the water, leaves my land.  The only thing "wasted" is the amount of electricity it takes to pump the water, and unless you have all the carbon you need available, I doubt that is worse than the gas to get carbon material moved to my land.



I agree with this also. And granted if drinking water was rare, it might be different. But the truth is, my well fills up. If I use the water, it fills up again. I suspect that the "footprint" of the amount of electricity to pump enough water for a flush toilet in my system is probably quite a bit less than it takes for me to go buy bales of sawdust for $.80 a cubic foot (because my truck is broken and I can't get it delivered).

The water is going to come either way. If I don't use it, I don't use it, but using it doesn't create a shortage.
 
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