ECHOcommunity Conversations

Compost toilets

A few years back ECHO had a demonstration toilet where the solids were gathered in one part and the urine went to another collection. It relied on a two part ‘throne’, so to speak.

We have done that style for many years with great success. We even use them indoors. I wish I had drawings, etc. That is on my to-do list to create planning details but probably not till late July.

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Please keep me in the loop on this thread. I have built one of these “Dry Latrines” in Nicaragua. They had a special “throne” that was concrete with a direct drop for solids and a “cup” cast into the front for the liquid deposit. A cup of ash was dropped on top of the solids and a cup of water was poured down the cup after each use to keep things smelling fresh. There used to be plans available from the Mennonite Central Committee for building a Dry composting Latrine.

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ECHOcommunity has a number of resources dealing with composting toilets and other aspects of human waste management. Human Waste |

Thanks to all who are contributing to the conversation. Are others dealing with the challenges/opportunities? What are your failures as well as successes? We all learn when these are shared.

I have built two different ones based on this method - RandomThoughts on Triloboats, sailboats & Kung Fu: Composting toilets edited using buckets, so it’s cheap to build. I’ll try to put them in a blog sometime so that they’re easy to share. The first one I made was in Zimbabwe, and the mistake I made was to build a frame which was perfect for snakes and spiders to hang out in! The next one is in use still in New Zealand, inside a house, and it works well, no smell, empty the ‘solids’ bucket once a week only (for one person). I found that woodchips (even slightly damp/degraded) worked better than fine sawdust to prevent smells.

Very interesting Beth_G. Congratulations. I will be happy to share your experiment in my locality. With the problem of water, this is a good alternative. Also can this be latter use for composting or for biogas production.

I’m sorry I haven’t taken the time to check out the composting toilet plans referred to so I hope this isn’t redundant. However I haven’t seen mention of a hummus toilet on this conversation yet. I am using the simple humus toilet here in southern Mexico. I think Hundertwasser was the original designer. No water; using moist humus/compost/leaf and soil mixture, etc. to cover after every deposit and allow to fully compost for a few months and then can be reused in the toilet again. No smell. No flies. No water. This link gives a very simple explanation by Thomas Lauterbach: The Simple Humus Toilet - YouTube. Thoughts?

Bonjour chers tous!
Pouvez- vous m’aider a avoir un guide simple en français pour m’aidé à construire ma toilette composte ?

Thanks Andrew for posting that video. I am going to try a simplified version of his technique by just using a bucket in my room to see how that works. We have a full size composting toilet on campus that can service about 30 adults and it functions perfectly. However, I am going to test using a bucket in my room to see if it works well enough for use when someone can’t get to the outside composting toilet because of weather or health. It could also be a very low cost way for a poor family to have a composting toilet.

One tangential note. He said is necessary to be sure to cover the toilet paper as well as the poop. We don’t do that and have zero problems but in a bucket maybe different. Will test and see.