Compost Toilets are Simple

The compost toilet is used to collect the toilet material, and it’s the simplest part of the system. The toilet must have receptacles that are sturdy, waterproof, and durable. If you’re emptying the receptacles by hand, they must be small enough to be handled by one or two people. One person can handle five gallons of capacity, two people can handle fifteen gallons. If you’re alone and five gallons is too much, empty the receptacle when it’s half full; don’t wait until it’s too full to handle. All urine, fecal material, and toilet paper go into the loo, as does anything else that would normally go into a flush toilet. You can vomit in the toilet.

Three Elements of a Compost Toilet System

Compost Toilets in Africa


Always keep the toilet contents covered. If you’re using an adequate amount of appropriate cover material, your loo will be odor-free, as will your compost bin. If your nose picks up bad odors, or your eyes see flies, you’re not keeping the compost covered correctly. You need a nose that works and eyeballs that work to be able to manage a compost toilet system. A brain that works helps, too. A compost toilet is “the thinking person’s toilet.” Add more cover material if you smell anything. Make sure it’s fine enough and has residual moisture when covering your toilet contents. If it’s light and fluffy and dry like bagged wood shavings, it will not be as effective an odor blocker in your toilet, and you will need to use more of it, filling your loo receptacle too rapidly. Wet it down, and let it rot, even for years if needed; then use it for covering the toilet contents.

Cover Material is Needed

Good cover materials for an outdoor compost pile include weeds, straw, hay, leaves, grass, and other materials that can be bulky, dry, or green, but not woody, such as tree branches. Adequately covering compost with a clean organic material is the simple secret to odor prevention. It also keeps flies and other vermin off the compost. Adequate cover material insulates the pile, absorbs rainfall, and prevents dehydration. Dehydration will cause the compost microorganisms to stop working.

Compost kills human disease organisms (pathogens). This is well-established science, and very important. This is what makes composting such a valuable endeavor, especially the composting of humanure and other organic materials that are potential carriers of pathogens.

Compost Toilets in Tanzania

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