Off-the-shelf Composting Toilet - Deliberate Life Bus

Off-the-shelf Composting Toilet - Deliberate Life Bus

What sort of space do you have?

We have a 40' Thomas School Bus. We converted it to an RV/Tiny House and traveled full time in it for 3 years, and are now living in it on our homestead in Northern Vermont. 

What kind of composting toilet do you have?

Initially we had a Nature's Head composting toilet and later switched to the Separette Villa composting toilet. Both are urine diverting style toilets but the Separette has a stronger exhaust fan and doesn't require "churning" like the Nature's Head does.

Why did you choose a composting toilet?

Mainly to avoid the black tank. We didn't want to take up storage space under our bus with a black tank, nor did we want to deal with sewage sludge. A diverter style composting toilet allows you to handle the solids separately from the liquids, reducing smell. We knew we wanted to be able to boondock as long as possible so we didn't want to waste our freshwater flushing a toilet. Also, it just seemed simpler to set up since we were building everything from scratch. RVs come with a toilet already plumbed, and since we were building an RV out of a school bus, we wanted something easy to "plug and play". Now that we are living stationary and can manage a compost pile, I'd never want to waste fresh water in a toilet again.

What is your routine for managing your toilet?

Do your business. Put the paper TP in the solids bin (cloth TP used for urine goes in the laundry basket). Once every 2 weeks (family of 4) I take the solids bin to the compost pile, dig a hole with my dedicated long-handled garden tool, dump the bin (along with all the food scraps we have been collecting in a rubbermaid bin under our bus), and cover with lots of hay. 

For the liquids, we have them plumbed into a small tank under the bus. We drain this into a 5 gallon bucket to dump on the compost pile or empty it via our grey water system.

What do you like most about having a composting toilet?

When traveling we would have said the only thing we really liked about it was not wasting fresh water. Also, having the freedom to empty in more places and not pay for a black tank dump. Now that we are stationary, by far my favorite thing is that I no longer WASTE nutrients! Everything that we produce goes to feed microbes who, in turn, produce nutrients that go to feed plants that in turn, feeds us!

Is there anything that you would change about your toilet?

I'd have to say that the ability to clean both the Nature's Head and Separette toilets leave something to be desired. Both have cracks and crevices and tubes that you just cant get to and are therefore perpetually disgusting. The nastiest thing I've ever done is snaking the urine drain line that was clogged. 


The Deliberate Life Bus family live on a small mountain homestead in VT. Their skoolie has been their home for 3 years and continues to serve as they slowly build a small house on their land.

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