They’re odour-free, easy to maintain and come with a slew of green benefits: composting or dry toilets.
Pioneers of self-sufficient living as well as many tiny homeowners and the vanlife community are already accustomed to this idea that might be alien to some: they ditched flushing toilets (or chemical toilets for mobile homes) in favour of composting toilets. Time for us to investigate this sustainable trend and to check out the main reasons why a composting toilet may be well worth considering.
1. WATERLESS OPERATION: SAVE DRINKING WATER
Dry toilets, as the name suggests, operate without water. Its first operation principle is collection. A source separation toilet allows for the liquids and solids to be collected each in a respective container.
Flush toilets in our homes, however, operate using actual drinking water. Statistically speaking, an average of 30% of total water used in a home goes does go down the pipes. It’s the same water that’s in our taps!
Drinking water is a precious resource, and it becomes more and more scarce as time goes by. Come to think of it, flushing your toilet with perfectly drinkable H2O is an act of insanely wasteful luxury in a world where millions of people don’t have access to clean water.
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2. RE-USE? THE CIRCLE OF WASTE
While conventional toilets deploy the “outta sight, outta mind“ style, composting toilets are a little more thought-provoking. But still neither scary, nor smelly.
Composting toilets are in fact just as comfortable and easy to use as any flush toilet.
A composting toilet’s second operation principle is the re-use of bodily waste. Compost is a valuable fertilizer. While it does take some effort to set up a proper composting unit in the comfort of your home, it’s well worth it. Important fact: the use of home-made fertilizers may vary depending on where you live, so make sure to check that.
3. BE PART OF THE SOLUTION: MICROPLASTICS
They are everywhere in our food chain and in our waterways: microplastics. Microplastics are one of the most pressing problems we’re facing these days. Found everywhere by now, water or beer, honey or fish, even in human tissues, these micro particles or micro fibres have many sources, among which the industry, broken down synthetic fabric and single-use plastics, particles from skincare and detergents. Troublesome: microplastics find a way to enter the sewage systems and are nearly impossible to filter out.
Composting toilets as well as the use of plastic-free detergents and biodegradable liner bags can help reducing and slowing down the distribution of microplastics via blackwater.
4. IDEAL FOR OFF-GRID HOMES
Another pro is the grid-independence of a composting toilet: no pipes, no water, and no energy are needed. This feature makes dry toilets the number one choice for owners of rural or mobile homes and allotments.
Did you know that approximately 60% of the global CO2 emissions are attributed to the world’s hunger for energy? Our energy consumption is a massive climate change driver.
Only composting toilets that include their own composting unit need power supply. Ecology-savvy owners of self-sustaining or self-sufficient homes will usually use green energy to operate those.
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5. SAY NO TO WATER POISONING
Brace yourself: on a global scale, up to 80% of all blackwater or wastewater goes into the environment untreated. (Blackwater is water contaminated with faeces.) „Untreated“ means that any sort of germs, medicinal residues, residues from oral contraceptives – anything – goes straight into rivers and oceans.
But even when sewage systems are set up and operating, extreme weather such as floods caused by the climate change worldwide can easily compromise any modern city’s wastewater system. A composting toilet unit is independent of the sewage system.
What are your thoughts on composting toilets?