How Does a Composting Toilet Work?

When most people think of a toilet, a porcelain bowl filled with water which can be flushed is the first thing that comes into their mind. In many parts of the western world, any other type of toilet is something which most people are not familiar. You may not be sure what a composting toilet is, but it can also be known as a dry toilet, a waterless toilet or a biological toilet. One of the key differences in the way composting toilets work is that they don't use water. The type of toilet that most are familiar with connects to a sewage system or to a septic tank. For a composting toilet, this is not the case. A composting toilet is its own system. A composting toilet doesn't attach to sewage lines, doesn't connect to septic tanks and saves the average consumer thousands of gallons of water every year.



You might be wondering where sewage goes when it doesn't go into a bowl of water in order to be flushed through a system attached to sewage lines or a septic tank. The idea of a composting toilet is a strange one for many people accustomed to flushing their sewage away. While some may have their doubts, the fact is that a composting toilet is an addition to a home which is safe, sanitary, cost-effective and environmentally friendly. A composting toilet breaks down wastes into a material called humus which is very much like soil. A composting toilet uses no water, but it doesn't use any chemicals either. Naturally existing bacteria and fungi are the means by which a composting toilet turns disgusting, unsanitary waste into something which isn't too different from ordinary dirt. A composting toilet consists of the toilet itself, a composting reactor, ventilation, drainage and an opening used to remove the humus.


For some composting toilets, the toilet bowl and all of the other portions of the system are built into a single, small unit. Other composting toilets are comprised of a toilet bowl in one area and a composting reactor in another area. If you are interested in adding a composting toilet to your home, a number of options are available. Some don't mind a single unit which they can install themselves, but others prefer a product which leaves the composting reactor in a more remote area. Having composting toilets manufactured to specific technical specifications for a particular site is another option. If you are too accustomed to a flush toilet to switch completely to a dry one, composting toilets which use a low amount of water are available.


Mya Lopez-Sanchez began writing professionally in 2008 and her work appears on LIVESTRONG and eHow. Lopez-Sanchez's professional expertise includes making sales, building relationships and technical support. She graduated from Rockhurst University with a Bachelor of Science in business administration.