Off-the-shelf Composting Toilet - The Roaming Wrens

Off-the-shelf Composting Toilet - The Roaming Wrens

What sort of space do you have?

We built a 20’ tiny house in 2015 and traveled around the US and Canada for about six months. We’ve settled down in Oregon and have lived off-grid for the last five years. 

What kind of composting toilet do you have?

We have used the Nature’s head toilet the entire time we’ve lived in our home. It has a diverter to separate the solids and liquids into separate containers.  

Why did you choose a composting toilet?

It was honestly the only option that made sense for our lifestyle and house design. We knew we wanted to eventually live off-grid and we also didn’t want to be tied to septic hook-ups while we were traveling. The benefit of being able to save nearly 13k gallons of water each year was too good to pass up. We have a 50-gallon water tank on board and didn’t want to flush any of this precious resource down the drain. With our composting toilet, we can make that 50-gallons stretch 7-10 days.  

What is your routine for managing your toilet?

The Nature's head (usually) diverts the liquids and solids to separate containers. We empty the solids into a designated compost pile about once per month and we pour the liquids onto the fruit trees every 2-3 days. Urine is extremely high in phosphorous and a wonderful fertilizer!

What do you like most about having a composting toilet?

I love the intention that comes along with using a composting toilet. The traditional toilet/sewage system is incredibly wasteful and energy-intensive but, with a composting toilet, we turn our ‘waste’ into a valuable resource. 

Is there anything that you would change about your toilet?

The flap/diverter doesn’t always do its job and the older the toilet gets, the more urine continues to find its way into our solids bin, which has created some nasty experiences. I think the big cause of this is how difficult it is to clean the Nature's Head. The inner workings of the diverter are impossible to clean without unscrewing the entire assembly and breaking the caulked seal, which you then have to re-caulk to put it all back together.  A handle on the solids bin would be really nice. There’s about a quarter-inch lip that I have to hold onto to carry it and it can be pretty heavy. There also isn’t a cover for the solids bin, so while you’re carrying it by the tips of your fingers, it’s kind of right in your face. 

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