For the last year or so, I have been very aware of the gallons of water that are flushed down the toilet as sewage.  Water being one of our most precious and life giving resources, and the many people in the world who do not have ready access to clean water, makes me wonder why we ever thought such waste was a good idea.

I’m all about modern convenience, but I can also tell you the concept of a compost toilet has come a long way baby.  I considered my options for my tiny house.  Granted RV toilets use very little water, but you have to empty that black water fairly often, and that requires taking it somewhere unless you are able to hook it into a septic tank.  I know some minimalists who simply use a bag and a bucket….NOT!

Enter, Nature’s Head toilet.  I did some research, and unfortunately, I didn’t find much online except one youtube video which made interesting claims about the solid waste portion smelling just like soil.  Here are some things you need to know, but I caution you, if you are likely to fall into the TMI category, you might want to click to something else, because I shall give details.

The Nature’s Head toilet has a fan which uses electricity (there is a battery operated option included) to keep the air circulated.  There is also a vent hose that vents outside the bottom of the trailer.  Nature’s Head uses two separate compartments.  There is a solid compartment, and a liquid compartment.  You will find that you typically have to empty the liquid compartment every couple of days.  I have learned the hard way, that if it looks like it’s getting full, you need to empty it now.  Being a closed container, it does not smell like your toilet would smell if you used it and forgot to flush, leaving the contents to smell really rank.  Even emptying the container is not that unpleasant of a task.

Now for the solid waste compartment.  I expected to not have to empty that for about 4 months.  In a short 2 months, I found that it was time for that great adventure.  I purchased a composter which is located nearby outside.  I simple unhooked the toilet, slipped the top portion off, covered the bottom portion with a kitchen garbage bag, and carried it to the composter.  I opened the lid, and poured in the contents.  Now the material will continue the composting process outside, and for the record, I don’t smell anything near the composter that is unpleasant.

I read that you DO NOT clean the solid waste compartment, but rather, just add more sphagnum organic peat moss and reattach the top part.  I took this opportunity to hose off the top part really well, and wiped off the edges before I put the toilet back together.  In all, the process took me about 20 minutes, and that was my first experience ever.

Using the toilet.  There is what I call a trap door for the solid waste.  Most of the time, that trap stays closed, and the liquids are diverted into the closed liquid container.  The toilet comes with a spritzer bottle which you simply add a little vinegar with water and spritz after each use.  It seems to work really well, as my toilet never smells like a urinal.  When I have other business to do, I simply open the trap door.  When I am through, there is a knob at the bottom of the toilet which stirs up the solid waste compartment.  I usually give it one or two spins after each use.

You do not want your solid waste to be too dry (a problem I have yet to have).  It is suggested some wet coffee grounds can be added. Likewise, you don’t want too much moisture either.  I found myself adding more peat moss to help that problem.  When you start or start again, you simply fill the solid waste compartment level to the beater bar which stirs the mixture.

I have chosen to use RV toilet paper, which is designed to decompose more rapidly than other types of paper. I suppose single ply would work well also. Most of the paper is put in a small garbage bag beside the toilet. The rest, goes in the solid waste container. I’m still learning my way around that aspect. I will probably settle for some cheaper toilet paper, which ultimately costs less, and decomposes equally well.

Organic Sphagnum Peat Moss

Organic Sphagnum Peat Moss

 

The mechanics of the toilet

The mechanics of the toilet

 

Sealed liquid compartment

Sealed liquid compartment

 

The toilet bowl with the diverter closed.

The toilet bowl with the diverter closed.

 

The toilet with the diverter open.

The toilet with the diverter open.

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4 Comments

  1. Tina Frazier

    August 5, 2016 at 2:43 pm

    Your adventure is in one word, remarkable! I envy your courage in trying something new! Please continue to post pictures and blog! God bless!

    1. d4deli@me.com

      August 5, 2016 at 4:02 pm

      Tina, I am glad you enjoy following me. I’m not sure that living in a tiny house takes courage, or returning home to Oregon for that matter. But change is often scary, so perhaps that takes some courage. I’m enjoying the tiny house adventure. For the most part, this fits my lifestyle so well. It’s almost like camping, with all the luxury included. I’ll look for more comments from you along the way.

  2. Brad Jamieson

    August 5, 2016 at 5:10 pm

    Thanks for sharing the information on Nature’s Head. It looks like a great advancement from what we had when we were campers and had a 32’ Holiday Rambler which relied on water to dispose of sewage. I was very impressed with the Nature’s Head technology. We used Scott Tissue single ply toilet paper in the trailer and it worked just fine. We also used it at home on Long Island where we had a cesspool. In the 25 years we lived there we never had a problem, we never had an incidence where we had to have the cesspool pumped out which many of our neighbors did. I also used to put a pound of yeast in the toilet once a year. This kep’t the cesspool percolating.

    How will you use the composted material? Sounds like an application for a garden.

    1. d4deli@me.com

      August 5, 2016 at 5:23 pm

      Brad, compost from human waste is actually not recommended on vegetable gardens. It would be fine on any other non-edible garden. I have heard a story of some elderly women who used their toilet compost on their marijuana grow, and apparently, it worked really well for them. (I wouldn’t know.) Most of all, I like the idea of taking human waste and turning it back into perfectly good soil, instead of wasting our precious water resources. I expect that when the material in the composter has become good soil material, I will simply spread it arounds trees, etc. Thanks for the heads up (no pun intended) on the single ply Scott tissue.

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