The Two Composting Toilet Theories – How To Choose

There are two camps when it comes to composting toilets: the all-in-one and urine diverting. Both have their places. Lets look at each to help you better choose which one is right for you!

All-in-One Bucket Method

All solid and liquid materials go in one container.  Simpler to build, and mixing solids and liquids is helpful for making compost.  This is the best method if you’re going to be making compost. Ideal for homesteaders and off-grid residences where you have some land to house your compost bins.  This is the most environmentally friendly and sustainable choice, since nothing is wasted or landfilled, and beneficial nutrients are added back to the soil where they can be used again.

Urine Diverting Method

Solids go in a bucket, liquids go in a separate container.  Helps to minimize smell issues while extending the amount of time between emptying the bucket.  This is the best method if you’re not going to be making compost, you’re just looking for a good solution for off-grid use.  Works well for nomads who don’t have property to house compost bins -- van/RV/bus conversion for full timing. Typically, urine is emptied in a public toilet or on the ground (where appropriate), and solids are bagged and put in the trash.  Not as environmentally friendly as composting your waste, but certainly better than a chemical toilet, and is more convenient for long-term off-grid use than having to empty a black tank.

For both methods, keep bucket contents sufficiently covered with proper materials, and you shouldn’t have any problems with smell or flies.  An exhaust fan can provide added assurance that you won’t have any problems with smells inside your home.

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