Are you reluctant to choose whether composting toilet vs regular toilet and you might want to cut down the water consumption by using a water-saving toilet? The best composting toilet is probably in your purchasing list, but you might be unsure about buying one as well.
In order to help you with this decision, we decided to compare and contrast composting toilet vs regular toilet to point out their difference for you.
What are Composting Toilets?
Composting toilets are toilets that after collecting your waste, they will compost it into soil-absorbable substance, not using a plumbing system to gather everything into a sewage grid or a dirty system. You just have to take out the dry compost from the toilet several times a year.
Types of composting toilets
There are many sizes, gadgets, and extensions that you can choose to add to your composting toilet, but generally, they are classified into two main categories – Split System and Self Contained (also known as all-in-one).
These composting toilets have two sections: the ‘pedestal’ above the floor and the ‘tank’ below. You will deal with your business on the pedestal which is like a seat, and all the waste will be stored in the tank, ready to go through the composting process.
Places that have accessible space underground like homes, national parks, clubhouses, outhouses, sports club, etc. are suitable for installing split systems toilets. They usually have a larger containing ability and therefore, are built in bathrooms where many people will be using.
# Self-Contained Systems
This type of toilet is an all in one system that, different from the split one, has joined pedestal and tank in one system. For homes that are not spacious or do not have an underground area for a container, self-contained system toilets are recommended. They are popular in tiny or small houses, RVs, and motorhomes, caravans, boats, or single-story homes built on concrete slab.
Depending on their complexity, commercial composting toilets cost approximately from $1,500 to $8,000. There are a lot of designs available online, and homeowners can as well build their own composting toilet systems. If recycled materials are involved, apart from the time it takes to construct and install, little or no money is needed for installation.
Traditional toilets, despite ranging from $100 to $2000 only, will cost you extra monthly water bills. The cost is different by region and season, but in Pittsburgh, the average amount paid by residents is %50 per month.
Installing a normal flush toilet can be either super easy or really challenging, depending on your skills. On the other hand, a composting toilet will be easier for you to install, especially if you’re about to have a self-contained one.
Most composting toilets are placed above the waste chambers, directly connected. Waste is then, mixed with sawdust, wood chips, or other dry components to absorb moisture and reach the ideal carbon-nitrogen ratio.
With time and the right combination of ventilation, drainage, temperature, and aeration, waste breaks down and remarkably reduces in volume. Human waste, in its fully composted form, can be used for gardening or merged with an outdoor compost mass.
The only difference between using a regular toilet and a composting toilet is that you don’t have to flush using the latter.
The mechanism of composting toilets is like the composting system of home gardens. The decomposition will be accelerated and turn your waste into productive, manageable material. The final result is dry and odorless, very much alike compared to commercial fertilizer in stores.
This product can be buried in the ground or near the roots of non-edible plants in your garden, depending on your state’s laws of course. If you are keen on gardening, with this toilet you can add some more fertilizer to your kitchen scraps.
Read further: How to Use a Composting Toilet the Right Way!
Maintenance and Cleaning
Regular flush toilets may require less maintenance – you might have to spend little extra time turning handles, pulling out drums, or curing compost piles monthly if you use composting toilets. However, eventually, those exertions will pay off by providing you a useful product and cutting down on the amount of water used every year.
Sawdust can be added either after each excrement disposal or at the end of each day, especially in an institutional setting. As with any other toilet, the toilet exterior needs to be wiped down.
Composting waste has to be well-managed, which means the moisture and temperature should be monitored, mix when needed, and empty full waste chambers. For the majority of central systems, usually, the waste needs emptying for the first time after two years after installation, and once every year after that first time. Of course smaller, or self-contained, systems will need to be emptied more frequently.
Because blackwater waste is processed directly, some composting toilet owners decide to handle all the wastewater themselves and build in a greywater system. Greywater is frequently used again for flushing, but if composting toilets are the only available, greywater can otherwise be used as irrigation for non-edible plants or for watering constructed wetlands.
Composting Toilet vs Regular Toilet: The Pros and Cons
In order to make it easier for you, we will summarize the pros and cons of composting toilets below. We hope this summary can give you brief but precise information for your decision:
- Conserve water
- Lower monthly water bills
- Reduce wastewater collecting system size requirements, or even eliminate a septic system
- Generate nutritious fertilizer
- It requires an upfront cost for a ready-made toilet
- Require direct contact with human waste
- Require owner’s commitment to the proper maintenance of the toilet and the compost
- Pose potential problems with insects, odor, or poor composting
What Should You Go For? Composting Toilet or Regular Toilet
Above is everything you need to know about the differences between composting toilet vs regular toilet. We hope that after this article you can make up your mind. Although composting toilets are a little more demanding regarding the cost and the maintenance, we believe that it isn’t just about buying a toilet – it’s also about your lifestyle where you can mitigate the effects on the environment and become a part of the self-sufficiency and sustainability movement.