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Compost Toilets: Build Your Own

Posted: Wed Feb 18, 2009 8:19 am
by MrDirtyBoots
Many people are put off by the concept of Composting Toilets. The reality is that a basic, home made Composting Toilet is beneficial in so many ways and not really much of a chore at all.

What is so difficult about emptying a bucket covered in sawdust once every week or so?

I have now been using a home built Compost Toilet for about four years now. It took a few hours to build, was extremely cheap, and takes up minimal space.

How To Build A Compost Toilet

At its most basic you are simply looking to build a box with a removable lid that has a toilet seat attached and a hole in it. Inside you will have a bin roughly the same height as a conventional Toilet.

A home made Compost Toilet can be any size you wish. Large or small it is totally up to you. Use your imagination and build something that will suit the environment in which you wish to use it. I built a fairly small one that takes up minimal space.

All you need to do is get a bin that has a removeable lid. Build an open topped box around it that is fractionally higher than the bin. Place a piece of board on the top and cut a hole in it just a little bigger than the internal size of the Toilet Seat.

You then simply attach the seat and you are good to go (literally)!

It can be painted, varnished or tiled. It can be made to look very neat and clean indeed.

Using a Compost Toilet is then simply a matter of sprinkling sawdust after use. There are no bad smells and it is as comfortable as a conventional Toilet.

When emptying you simply make a hole in your Compost Heap, empty the contents and give the bin a clean out. If you have a Compost Heap that is working efficiently any dangerous bacteria will be rendered harmless in a few months. If you have any doubts about this leave it for longer until you feel happy that it is safe to spread on your soil.

Why You Should Use A Composting Toilet

Part of becoming more self sufficient is to save money and help the planet. A Compost Toilet helps to do both.

Not flushing away countless litres of drinking quality water every day will dramatically cut your water bill if you are on a meter. If you are not, then youare still taking a massive burden off the sewage treatment plants that are already at bursting point.

One of the main benefits though, is that of improving your soil. You are buying in food to eat and then giving away a fantastic source of nutrients for your soil. In reality you should be composting anything that will help improve the land. The nutrients in your waste are not to be overlooked. Urine is a fantastic source of Nitrogen and will do nothing but speed up the rate at which your Compost pile will activate.

Why not spend a few pound on a sheet of plywood, a bin, a Toilet Seat and a few screws and stop wasting such a valuable resource?

Re: Compost Toilets: Build Your Own

Posted: Wed Feb 18, 2009 12:51 pm
by Odsox
Sounds like the "bucket and chuckit" system all us country dwellers had years ago, although you say there are "bad smells" with your version, I seem to remember they honked a bit especially in summer.
I agree that it is criminal to flush all that treated drinking water though (but not something I do).

Re: Compost Toilets: Build Your Own

Posted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 4:47 pm
by Sadoldhippy
Thanks for this post. I was looking to find an alternative to the WC and this is informative and encouraging.
Have fun

Re: Compost Toilets: Build Your Own

Posted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 8:22 pm
by Sky
This was what we used when we were building our house lol.

It just is a hole in the ground though so the contents would have to be dug out every now and again.

Only the kids use it now when they're out playing and too far away from the house.

We never did get around to putting permanent walls round it cos it's in the middle of the pine trees but we intended to.


Re: Compost Toilets: Build Your Own

Posted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 10:52 pm
by Annpan
I am planning on building one at the back of my garden for when our building work is getting done.... we already happily wazz in a bucket while up there, so I don't see the big difference in pooping in one too... and it would be much more civilised to have a toilet seat rather than just hovering.

Re: Compost Toilets: Build Your Own

Posted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 9:48 am
by contadino
This is the compost toilet system we're opting for. All the convenience (sorry) of a normal loo, but no electricity and only minimal (1pt) water usage.

Re: Compost Toilets: Build Your Own

Posted: Wed Apr 01, 2009 8:04 pm
by Andy Hamilton
Going through each of these articles one by one and putting them up in the ishers tipssection. I have used Mr Dirty boots text and Sky's picture!

Re: Compost Toilets: Build Your Own

Posted: Wed Apr 22, 2009 10:35 pm
by Rohen
I should take a photo of the one we have down our allotments and then post it here

Re: Compost Toilets: Build Your Own

Posted: Wed Sep 15, 2010 6:07 pm
by giggles
plannin ta build one meself... was thinkin of a raised platform with 2 chambers underneath... approx 1 metre in height side by side n have two holes cut in the bench above... one covered one with a seat n when one chamber is full just sealing off that chamber and put the seat over the second chamber

by the time the second chamber is full the first chamber should be rotted down n ready for fertilising...

so wha do ye think?

Re: Compost Toilets: Build Your Own

Posted: Wed Sep 15, 2010 7:00 pm
by grahamhobbs
Giggles this is the way to do it if you want to avoid emptying buckets every week.

Anyone got any good ideas for the tube or chute from the seat to the chambers underneath. A length of large (15"?) diameter salt glazed pipe would seem ideal, but probably impossible to come by. Any other ideas?

Re: Compost Toilets: Build Your Own

Posted: Wed Sep 15, 2010 7:11 pm
by Thomzo
I'm watching this thread with interest. I have a large summerhouse at the far end of my garden. In the longer term, I'm thinking of using it as a studio/classroom and it'd be great to have a loo up there. If I could have the seat indoors and the chambers outdoors, it would reduce any smells.

Where do you get the sawdust from?


Re: Compost Toilets: Build Your Own

Posted: Wed Sep 15, 2010 8:46 pm
by giggles
check this site out... might be of interest ta ye ... r-chambers

Re: Compost Toilets: Build Your Own

Posted: Thu Sep 16, 2010 9:36 am
by boboff
Thomzo wrote:Where do you get the sawdust from?


Ummm.. Trees?

Re: Compost Toilets: Build Your Own

Posted: Thu Nov 07, 2013 3:33 pm
by diggernotdreamer
how would it work if everyone had a compost toilet, I often wonder this, I know a man I fondly call Dr Poo, he is like a humanure guru,he thinks it is the way forward, but I just can't see how it would work say on a housing estate, has anyone thought this one through

Re: Compost Toilets: Build Your Own

Posted: Sat Nov 09, 2013 6:27 pm
by Skippy
Dry toilets worked , at least up to a point, in towns in the past and night soil men would take it away. Near me is an area that was used to dump the waste, brought from the Black Country by canal . It was known and still is as muckley corner .