Ultimate Guide to Composting Toilets: Facts, Benefits, and Types (2024)


Did you hear about the toilet that didn’t use water and rewarded you with garden-ready compost? Nope, it’s not a punchline—it’s the magic of composting toilets!

In a time where every drop of water is precious, and eco-conscious choices can make a big difference, composting toilets are paving the way. Imagine a toilet that not only conserves water but transforms your waste into valuable compost. Sounds like a win-win, right?

But it’s not just about being green. These toilets pack a bunch of surprising benefits that might have you giving a side-eye to your traditional porcelain throne. Money savings, adaptability, and yes, even odorless operation are all on the table.

So, if you’re curious about these earth-loving lavatories, stick around! In this article, we’ll explore what composting toilets are, dive into some fascinating facts, unveil their key benefits, and break down the different types available. Ready to get flushed with knowledge? Let’s go!

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What are Composting Toilets?

image of a composting toilet

Ever wondered about an innovative way to reduce your environmental footprint? Enter composting toilets—truly a game-changer in the world of eco-friendliness.

Opting for one of these means you can say goodbye to high water bills since they don’t need water or energy to do their job. 

What they do instead is amazing: they turn human waste into rich soil boosters, perfect for enhancing your garden and creating thriving landscapes. And if you lean toward anaerobic models, you’re in for a treat. They can even filter and repurpose greywater for your home’s green spaces. Beyond just being money-savers, they’re a brilliant solution for places without regular sewer or septic connections.

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Types of Composting Toilets

Here I will give you the detailed version of the two main types of composting toilets. 

Central Composting Toilets and Self-Contained Composting Toilets. 

Central Composting Toilets: The Power Plant of Eco Toilets

image of a central composting toilet

Do you know how power plants send electricity to light up our homes? 

Well, central composting toilets work in a sort of similar fashion. They send all the waste to one big composting party happening somewhere, often outside the house or tucked away in the basement. So, when you do your business, it gets whisked away to this central location, getting turned into compost.

These champs are like the bigger siblings in the composting toilet family. Do you have a big family or perhaps a shared space? This is the toilet for you!

Let’s look at the pros and cons:


  • Larger Capacity: Think of it as the spacious SUV of composting toilets.
  • Less Emptying: Less work and more play, who’s complaining?
  • Multiple Users: Big families or communal settings? No problem!
  • Efficiency: They’re like the ninjas of waste decomposition.
  • Versatility: Got a multi-level home? One system can connect to several toilets.


  • Size: They do need a bit more room to stretch out.
  • Higher End Price: The price tag is a bit steeper than the self-contained buddies.
  • Installation: They need a tad more TLC when setting up.

Self-contained Composting Toilets: The Swiss Army Knife of Toilets


Meet the all-in-one superstar of the composting world. They’re compact, no-fuss, and super handy. Imagine having everything you need in one neat package, from the toilet seat to the compost bin.

You might spot these in tiny homes, RVs, or maybe at a cool outdoor adventure setup. They’re perfect for those who want a simple solution without digging up their backyard.

Advantages and Disadvantages? Here we go:


  • All-in-One Design: Like a Swiss army knife but for toilets.
  • Budget-Friendly: Your wallet will give you a thumbs up!
  • Flexibility: Fancy an indoor or outdoor setup? Your choice.
  • Low Maintenance: Empty it once in a while, and you’re golden.
  • Diverse Power Options: Got electricity? Great! None? That works too.


  • Limited Capacity: They’re compact, so they fill up a bit quicker.
  • Power Dependency: If you’re in a blackout, some models might give you the silent treatment.
  • Odor Issues: Keep it clean, or it might get a little stinky.

Key Differences Between Central and Self-contained Systems 

Now, when you’re choosing between the two, think about your needs. Do you need a powerhouse or a compact companion? Knowing their unique strengths can guide you to the perfect choice!

Key Benefits of Composting Toilets

Every time I look into composting toilets, I find myself more impressed. These toilets are so much more than just a trendy eco-choice. Let’s break down some of the amazing benefits I’ve discovered.

Water Conservation – Saving Water One Flush at a Time

Did you know a traditional toilet can guzzle up to 5 gallons of water with every flush? That’s like flushing away a whole water cooler jug! Composting toilets, on the other hand, are the superheroes in this story. They don’t need even a drop. Imagine all the water you save over a year! Our dear Earth would give you a high five for that choice.


Here’s where it gets even cooler. Not only do these toilets skip the water, but they also bypass the nasty chemicals we often use to treat waste. Instead, they gift us with compost. It’s like turning trash into treasure, making our gardens bloom and our planet smile.


Okay, let’s talk numbers (but not the boring kind). Switching to a composting toilet means you’re cutting down on water bills. And guess what? No more expenses on sewage systems either. Over time, those savings add up! It’s like getting a bonus every month for being kind to the environment.

Portability and Versatility 

This is where it shines for all you adventurers out there. Whether you’ve got a trendy loft in the heart of the city or a cozy cabin nestled in the forest, there’s a composting toilet ready to be your best pal. They’re adaptable and easy to install, and some can even be packed up for those spontaneous road trips!

Pivotal Facts of Composting Toilets to Keep You Ahead

Composting toilets have rapidly evolved, offering a blend of sophistication and eco-friendliness to modern sanitation. 

Let’s explore the nuanced world of composting toilets this year.

  1. Odor-Free Operation 

Maintaining your composting toilet rightly means an odor-free bathroom. No need for air fresheners with these around.

  1. Resourceful Friend in Emergencies 

Rely on your composting toilet during power outages or water disruptions. Its trustworthiness in emergencies is commendable.

  1. The Perfect Fit for Your Style 

Today’s composting toilets cater to diverse design tastes. Whether you’re into contemporary or rustic vibes, there’s a design for you.

  1. Fresh and Clean with Regular Cleanup

A little regular attention keeps your composting toilet fresh, ensuring a continually positive user experience.

  1. Customizable Options

Tailor your toilet to your preferences. Pick from varied sizes, designs, and functions for a unique experience.

  1. Low Energy Consumption

These units require minimal electricity, easing your utility bills and furthering your eco-friendly journey.

  1. No Flush Noise – A Silent Night

Say goodbye to the noise of flushing. With composting toilets, tranquility is just another perk.

Composting Process Within the Toilet

Composting toilets revolutionize waste management by transforming human waste into a valuable resource. They separate liquid from solid waste, with solids being composted into useful garden compost. These systems handle toilet paper too, incorporating it into the composting process.

How does a compost toilet work?

There are various models suited for different lifestyles, including compact options for smaller or mobile living spaces like RVs. The compact design is especially beneficial for those with space constraints or off-grid setups.

Among the notable brands, Nature’s Head composting toilets are designed for efficient waste composting. It’s important to remember that properly managed toilet waste becomes beneficial, contributing sustainably to the environment.

How to Choose the Right Composting Toilet for You

The world of composting toilets is vast and diverse. With so many models and types available, choosing the right one for you might feel daunting. However, by considering several key factors, you can make a well-informed decision that suits your specific needs.

Factors to Consider

1. Space Availability

Measure the space where you plan to install the toilet. Ensure there’s enough room for not just the toilet, but also for any ventilation or additional components it might require. Some composting toilets are compact and perfect for tight spaces, like in RVs or boats, while others might be bulkier and better suited for stationary homes.

2. Number of Users

Different toilets have different capacities. If it’s just for a single person or a couple, you might be okay with a smaller model. However, for a family or multiple users, you’d need something with a larger capacity.

3. Budget 

Composting toilets come in a range of prices. Set a budget for yourself and then explore the options that fit within it. Remember, sometimes it’s worth investing a bit more for a high-quality product that will last longer and require less maintenance.

4. Maintenance Willingness 

Some models might require more frequent emptying or other forms of maintenance. Assess your willingness and capability to handle these tasks. If you prefer a more hands-off approach, some models cater to that as well.

image of table of composting toilets pros and cons

Common Misconceptions and Myths About Composting Toilets

They’re Smelly!

  • Reality: When maintained properly, composting toilets are odor-free. The decomposition process, when working correctly, doesn’t produce foul smells. Proper ventilation and cleaning of the toilet seat also help ensure an odorless operation.

It’s Unhygienic!

  • Reality: Composting toilets are designed to be hygienic. The composting process effectively breaks down waste into harmless compost, which is safe to handle.

Maintenance is a Nightmare!

  • Reality: While it’s true that composting toilets require maintenance, it’s not as difficult as some might believe. Regularly emptying the compartment and ensuring proper aeration are some of the basic steps.

They’re Not as Efficient as Regular Toilets!

  • Reality: Composting toilets conserve water and turn waste into valuable compost. In many ways, they can be more efficient than traditional flush toilets, especially in areas without access to water or sewer systems.

Wrapping Up

Sustainable sanitation is no longer just a trend – it’s a necessity. As we’ve explored, composting toilets offer an eco-friendly alternative to traditional methods, conserving water and turning waste into valuable compost. 

The benefits are clear, from environmental to economic. Isn’t it time you considered making the switch? We encourage you to revisit the facts and benefits discussed and weigh them against the current impact of your sanitation choices.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How much can I expect to spend on a composting toilet?

Prices vary widely based on features and capacity, but you can find models ranging from $100 to over $2000.

How often do I need to empty the composting chamber?

This depends on the number of users and the toilet’s capacity. On average, for a family of four, every 2-4 weeks.

Can I install a composting toilet in my apartment?

Yes, there are compact models designed for urban settings. However, ensure you have proper ventilation.

Is it safe to use the compost in my garden?

Compost from human waste should be used on ornamental plants, not edible ones unless it has been treated to kill pathogens.

Do composting toilets require electricity?

Some do for fans or heaters, but there are also non-electric models available.

Are there any legal restrictions on using composting toilets?

Regulations vary by region. Always check local guidelines before installation.

How do composting toilets handle urine?

Many separate urine from solid waste also known as a urine-diverting system. Urine can be diluted and used as fertilizer or diverted to a greywater system.

Won’t it attract pests or flies?

When maintained properly, composting toilets are designed to be pest-free. Proper covering material and ventilation are key.

Remember, every home and situation is unique. Before making a purchase, consider consulting with an expert or manufacturer for personalized guidance.

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