Every time we Falmouthers flush a toilet we use about two gallons of water to carry away just a fraction of that volume in human waste. On average, each American uses 7,665 gallons of clean, potable water each year simply flushing the toilet. So we pollute a lot of clean water with a small amount of waste. In conventional sewer systems, this waste is collected, moved long distances, treated at great expense, and released, often still polluted with some amount of nutrients and other contaminants. And discharging all that collected water is a problem — who wants leaching pits in their neighborhood or discharge pipes to their river or bay? Composting toilets, also sometimes known as waterless, dry or biological toilets, by contrast, collect only waste and use no water. They capture human waste in a container and convert it into compostable material.
How Do They Work?
Modern composting toilets, which look similar to conventional low‐flush toilets, rely on aerobic (oxygen‐dependent) bacteria and fungi to convert the wastes into compost. Vents and fans increase air flow, and rotors, either hand‐crank or automatic, aerate wastes at least once a week. A proper balance between solids and liquids in the waste storage bin (reactor) is critical—if it’s too wet, oxygen can’t reach the compost and it becomes anaerobic and smells. In addition, the bin ideally needs to be at a temperature of 60 to 65 degrees F; below 55 degrees F, composting slows down almost to a halt. Read More…
COMPOSTING TOILETS AT A GLANCE
What Are Composting Toilets and Why Do We Care?