If you’re not a fan of emptying the black tank on your RV, consider buying a composting toilet. Although you have to empty a composting toilet as well, it’s not as messy and smelly.
The main difference between composting toilets and systems that utilize water is that in the composting toilet, urine and solid waste are collected separately, so the results aren’t as offensive.
The best part? You can find a good composting toilet for about $950 (Amazon link).
In today’s article, I will explain why and how to empty a composting toilet, where to do it, and so on, so let’s begin.
Do You Have To Empty A Composting Toilet?
The short answer is yes, you have to empty a composting toilet. However, don’t fret! It’s less messy and smelly than other systems that utilize water. The composting toilet doesn’t utilize water. It collects urine and solid waste separately. And if disposed of properly, it isn’t considered hazardous.
How Often Do You Empty Composting Toilets?
How often you empty a composting toilet depends on the number of people that use it as a full-time toilet. It also depends on the performance criteria.
Usually, it needs to be emptied after every 3 months because, by this time, the composting chamber is probably full of human feces. Other factors should be considered as well.
Composting toilets are made for 1-4 people full-time. If 2 people utilize the composting toilet full-time, they will need to empty it every 3 weeks. More people utilizing the toilet will shorten the time.
Other key factors are the type of the composting toilet and the size of your composting chamber.
Where To Responsibly Empty A Composting Toilet
You can empty a composting toilet without endangering the lives of others, but you will have to be very careful and follow a few steps.
For instance, you can empty a composting toilet at a dumping station. It’s a great place for the safe disposal of pee gathered in the toilet’s urine bottle.
These dumping stations will handle the urine in a waste treatment plant and have very strict regulations for handling sewage sludge.
My advice is that you think about the spot you want to dump the urine very carefully.
Is it a location you would normally urinate? If yes, then it’s likely suitable.
Other options for dumping your composting toilet include remote areas and public toilets (Link). They make excellent places to dump urine.
Before you dump your composting bag in remote places, take a closer look at the environment and determine if it will benefit that area. Avoid paved surfaces such as parking lots and similar places.
Instead, choose a spot that’s in the wilderness and spread the liquid waste over a broad natural area to reduce concentration on one site. Never empty your toilet near water bodies. Or waterways. Make sure you have at least 200 feet distance between the nearest water body and your dumping place.
When dumping the solid composting materials, you have to be extremely cautious. The pile isn’t usually fully composed and requires extra time out in the open for further decomposition. You can either empty it into a trash can found in a campground or public park. You can also do it in a trash receptacle.
Last but certainly not least, make sure you put the solid waste in a compostable bag before you toss it in the trash can. If you have a garden, you can bury the solid waste in the soil.
If you have a larger amount, make deeper holes and use smaller amounts in each hole to ensure a faster decomposition.
How Do You Empty A Composting Toilet?
Composting toilets come in different models. So, the way you empty a composting toilet depends on the model you buy.
However, don’t worry! Composting toilets come with guidelines you should follow when emptying, so make sure to check that, before you check the following general guidelines.
Basic Safety Guidelines For Emptying A Composting Toilet
- Always wear gloves and a dust mask when emptying a composting toilet.
- Make sure to wash your hands and clothes thoroughly after emptying a composting toilet.
- If burying compost in the garden or someplace else, make sure it’s buried at least 4 inches deep.
- Compost can be quite heavy, so utilize a trolley or ask for help if needed.
- Never utilize compost from composting toilets on vegetables or food plants (it’s acceptable for nut trees and fruit).
Now that you know the basic safety guidelines for emptying a composting toilet, let’s learn more about different models of composting toilets and how to empty each model properly.
A Self-Contained Composting Toilet
The self-contained composting toilet makes a great choice for small homes, caravans, and mobile home models.
And if you own a model of composting toilet made for a smaller space or even a boat, it usually has what’s called a “Bio-bag”. (Affiliate Link) It’s a small sack inside the toilet that can easily be disposed of. You can dispose of your Bio-bag in general waste bins or general waste facilities.
Are There Composting Toilet For Bigger Homes, Holiday Homes, And Sheds?
Composting toilets made for bigger homes, holiday homes, and sheds come in different types including batch composting and continuous composting.
If you opt for a batch process toilet, the emptying process isn’t hard. Just open the top, remove the seat panel and remove the container. Then, replace it with a clean one.
I highly suggest conditioning (leaving the chamber covered outside in the sun) for a couple of months before applying it to your soil.
If you buy a continuous cycle toilet, there’s usually a tray in the bottom of the toilet that you can easily remove to empty. Compost made of human waste shrinks quite a lot. So, you will only need to empty the tray every couple of months depending on the usage of the composting toilet.
When you have removed the tray from the toilet, you will be left with a top soil-like material that you can utilize either in your garden or place into a worm farm.
Emptying a split system composting toilet depends on the style and size of your model. For instance, it’s very easy to empty a model with a hatch that leads to the composting chamber and utilize a shovel and wheelbarrow to remove the compost from the system.
Other models contain a finishing tray at the bottom of the system that keeps completed compost that’s separated from fresh waste. You can empty the tray into a container or wheelbarrow. Or you can take it straight to the spot you’re going to be utilizing your compost.
What Are The Pros And Cons Of Composting Toilets?
Although composting toilets cost much more than conventional toilets, the long-term benefits outweigh the initial expense.
A composting toilet can save you a lot of money and decrease environmental impact over time.
Now, let’s summarize the main pros and cons of composting toilets.
- You won’t need to empty a black tank ever again!
- You will forget the smelly odor of a black tank, since you wont be using one.
- You will use less water without a water-operated toilet, therefore your fresh-water supply will last longer.
- Composting toilets are less bulky and heavy. On the contrary, they are portable and lightweight, so lightweight that you can even place one outside or inside a small tent.
- The emptying process isn’t hard, hazardous and offensive. Furthermore, you are less likely needed to empty solid waste frequently- maybe every 3-5 weeks- than you would a black tank.
- They are available in different sizes, styles and models.
- Some men may not like the sitting regimen. Furthermore, if you have bad knees, you may want to install a grab bar near the composting toilet.
- You will have to empty the urine bottle more frequently than a black tank. Therefore I suggest having a few extra bottles. They don’t leak due to the screw-on tops, so you don’t have to worry about anything.
- The composting material and solid waste get dumped into a compostable trash bag or 13-gallon plastic trash bag. So, you will need to keep plenty, of the proper size.
- Finding places to responsibly empty a composting toilet isn’t hard. However, it’s still something you wouldn’t have to do with a conventional toilet, so keep that in mind.
Emptying a composting toilet isn’t rocket science! It’s actually super easy. The best part about it is that you don’t have to do it frequently (every 3 months). If more people utilize the toilet, then you will have to empty it more often, so keep that in mind.
Finding a place to empty your composting toilet is also easy. You can dump the solid waste in a dumping station and your urine waste in remote places or public toilets.
Overall, composting toilets (Affiliate Link) make a great long-term investment with many benefits and a few downsides.