In Australia, we can handle a lot of heat. Even though many tourists are sweltering, all true Aussies know it isn’t officially summer until thongs are a requirement to cross the road, the seat belt that’s been in the sun stings like an angry wasp and your ice cream melts faster than you can eat it.
Coming into the summer months there are several different maintenance jobs that start to pop up around the house and if you own a composting toilet there are some things you will want to keep in mind when the weather heats up and the mercury starts to rise.
If you’ve had a composting toilet for any period of time, it’s likely you’ve had a few vinegar flies (also called fruit flies, barflies or if you want to get really technical Drosophila melanogaster) buzzing their way around your toilet – well technically your composting pile.
If you’ve found some vinegar flies buzzing around your composting toilet, it’s a good idea to deal with them sooner rather than later as they breed very quickly and the females can lay up to 400 eggs which will hatch 12-15 hours later. So if left for several days, fruit flies can become a considerable problem.
Australia… the driest continent on the planet where over 80% of country has an annual rainfall of less than 600 mm (24 in). When looking at other continents, only Antarctica receives less rainfall than we do here in the land down under. If we live in a country that’s so dry, it only makes sense that as a society and a country that we try to mininise our impact on our drinkable water supplies as much as possible.
Many times the big process for reducing the environmental impact on our drinking water supplies falls in the hands of industry and councils around Australia. One of the easiest ways to reduce our use of the precious commodity that is drinking water in Australia is to make sure we only use it when we need it. Many households around Australia are educated about taking shorter showers, using water-friendly taps, dishwashers and showerheads and a wide range of other water saving techniques along with local councils setting in motion water restrictions when water levels get too low.
There’s also many other ways councils and organisations can help to reduce their impact when it comes to water usage and we think helping local councils around Australia understand the benefit of implementing waterless public toilets is one of the ways we here at Ecoflo might be able to make a positive impact when it comes to promoting the benefits of composting toilets to those around Australia.
If you’ve been thinking about installing a composting toilet lately, it’s likely you’ve thought to yourself “I wonder if it’s against the law to install a composting toilet?”. Well, we’ve tried to answer all your questions and more below.
Before we get into the legalities of installing composting toilets we wanted to cover an important aspect of composting toilet design and that is if they meet Australian standards.
Composting toilets, when maintained properly shouldn’t be giving off any aromas or smells. When you walk into your bathroom there’s no reason you should be smelling waste or anything that seems a little ‘off’ as if your composting toilet is maintained properly, the waste should be somewhat dry and any smell from the composting pile should be headed out your exhaust fan and into the atmosphere.
If you’re thinking about purchasing a composting toilet, no doubt you have a lot of questions about the different models, how they work, if they smell and if they really are good for the environment.
If you’re anything like us here at the Ecoflo office you’re big on lists. When we need to figure out something we love putting together a list of pros and cons about a new product or way of doing something. This helps us to figure out the best way to move forward and if the item or idea we’re looking at has more benefits than potential issues.
There are many reasons people look into purchasing a composting toilet. Some people don’t have access to a suitable water facility – others are in remote areas and traditional town electricity and plumbing aren’t that easy to come by. Other families want to reduce their dependence on private, state or government-run facilities like power and water by getting off the grid.
Whatever the reason you’re looking at installing a composting toilet there’s always going to be an underlying reason that many people ascribe to. The fact that composting toilets are one of the (if not the) most environmentally-friendly toilet systems is something that many people are drawn to.
If you have a composting toilet and own a dog, you’ve probably wondered at some stage if it’s safe to put dog poo in your composting toilet and we’re here to answer that question once and for all.
Can you put dog poo in a composting toilet?
The answer to that question is that you can, but there are some considerations you need to take into account.
When it comes to bathrooms, every home, building, project space or areas where people gather needs one. They’re often seen as one of those necessity buildings that are a ‘must have’ therefore only need to be utilitarian, sparse and useful.
This being the case they’re sometimes added almost as a second thought to a project and therefore added after many major elements of a project has been considered. Many companies are looking for a modular, prefabricated bathroom building that can be put almost anywhere, built quickly and doesn’t cost a fortune to install.
With these requirements in mind Ecoflo has developed a range of prefabricated toilet blocks that will suit a wide range of situations. Campgrounds and Caravan Parks, Road Stops, Parks, Churches, Businesses, Mining Sites or pretty much anywhere where an outdoor building is needed for an amenities block.
Everyone knows that composting toilets are better for the environment, use less water and help to keep waste out of our waterways and oceans, and many of our customers feel a sense of pride and dare we say excitement when they install their composting toilet for the first time and start using it.
Many of our customers spend a huge amount of time researching composting toilets, the pros and cons and if it’s the right solution for their house, business or site. There’s a huge amount of thought and consideration that goes into making sure you get the right model and size for your requirements, but what about when your first batch of Humanure is ready to be extracted from your composting toilet? What happens then?
As we sell lots of different models of composting toilets here at Ecoflo – we would even go so far as to say we have Australia’s largest range, there are many different ways of getting the compost out of your waterless toilet. This article isn’t going to focus on how to get the compost out of your unit, but on the safety precautions you should take when handling Humanure.
We all know that summer storm season in Australia can get pretty hectic. Cyclones storms, floods, high winds and power outages are commonplace all around Australia for many months during the summer. Losing power is frustrating at the best of times – but if you’ve got a composting toilet, there’s a few things you should know.
If you live in a colder climate in Australia, and you keep a compost pile or compost bin in your backyard you know that sometimes it’s hard to keep all the microbes and proper elements in balance to ensure your composting pile works all year round.
You may be thinking that maintaining a composting toilet in a cold climate is difficult or near impossible if your property gets frost, snow or very cold temperatures and we’re here to tell you that composting toilets definitely work in cold climates.
You may need to slightly change the way you maintain your composting toilet when it gets really cold but there’s certainly things you can do to make sure your composting toilet is working to its maximum output, year in, year out – no matter what the mercury says outside.
You may have just recently moved into a home that has a little less room than you’re used to or perhaps you’ve decided that simplifying your life and moving into a tiny home is a way to declutter your life. Perhaps you just have an extra tiny bathroom.
Whatever the reason you’re looking for a small toilet for a small bathroom, we’ve got you covered. We have a range of compact composting toilets for small bathrooms that will suit a range of different sizes and styles.
Let’s review our range of small composting toilets.
One of the questions we get asked all the time in the Ecoflo office when talking to customers about composting toilets is “so, how do you actually empty one of these things?”. And like many of our answers in the articles on this blog, this answer is going to be ‘it depends’.
Have you ever wondered how a self contained composting toilet actually works? Well, this is the article for you. In this article we outline all the different parts of a self contained toilet and how they all work together to make usable compost from human waste.
Self contained toilets are different to split systems in that they are one complete stand alone unit. Split systems have two main components to them – the pedestal and the chamber. Self contained units are all-in-one so are perfect for houses built on concrete slabs or homes where underfloor space isn’t available (like tiny homes or boats / mobile homes).
Now that we know what a self contained composting toilet is, it’s worth breaking down the different models of toilets into categories so we can better understand the differences.
When looking for a new toilet system there are several boxes that need to be ticked. For example, you may be concerned about water consumption so you might be looking for a system that uses little to no water. This is particularly true if you live in a remote area or a place where water isn’t readily available.
The other box that often needs to be ticked but isn’t talked about all that much is having a toilet system that doesn’t smell. Sometimes people are embarrassed to ask about composting toilets and if they smell or not. Well we’re going to be looking over composting toilets, their waterless nature and the fact that if used correctly are completely odourless.
There’s a few great things about having a composting toilet. Firstly, they save you a huge amount of water every year and they’re much better for the environment. The other great benefit is that after a few weeks or months (depending on usage) you get a rich top-soil like humus product that you can use in a variety of different ways.
It’s important to note that you can’t use this compost on anything and everything so it’s wise to know where and how you can use the waste from a composting toilet. Below are some of the ways you can use compost from a waterless toilet.
The Green Apple Splatters, The Hershey Squirts, Bubble Guts, Code Brown, The Runs, Montezuma's Revenge, Mudd Butt, Organic Brown Lava, The Trots and my personal favourite – The Arsequake. No matter what you call it, we’ve all had it at one time or another and we’ve all had to deal with the after effects (which are never pretty).
Now if you have a flush toilet in your home, you press the button and all evidence of your regrettable 3am lamb kebab or dodgy-looking food wagon seafood pie is flushed away. With a composting toilet you have to deal with things a little differently and we’re here to let you know how.
Composting toilets – like anything in your home, will need a little maintenance every now and then. One of the great things about having a composting toilet in your home is that you save a lot of water year after year, and you get a great humus-like product to use out in your garden after a period of time. Now in saying this, you won’t get out of having to clean your composting toilet from time to time (it will be a very rich person that invents a toilet that never needs cleaning!).
They say good things come in small packages and that’s definitely the case when it comes to tiny homes. If you’ve missed the latest craze to sweep across Australia and the world, tiny homes aren’t just about reducing your living space, it’s about creating a less cluttered, more organised and simple lifestyle to free up your space, your mind and your home so you can enjoy the simpler things in life.
Now, tiny home living isn’t for everyone and it certainly does have its challenges, but for those Australians that have tried it and liked it, there’s not many that would go back to their old way of living.
How much water does a toilet use?
The average water saving toilet uses approximately 3 litres of water for a half flush (source). Now that stat on it’s own doesn’t give you much food for thought. Let’s put that into perspective, shall we? An average plastic bucket holds approx 9 litres. If you only flushed your toilet once a day, how many buckets do you think that would be?
It’s 121 buckets. If you filled 121 buckets and put them in an average Australian lounge room that would fill more than half that space – from one toilet, only flushed once per day.
It happens to us, so why can’t it happen to bacteria? The grey dreariness that often makes us want to go into hibernation mode (if only work, life, etc. would let us) also slows down the metabolic rate of aerobic bacteria.
The air temperature around the compost in a self-contained composting toilet remains at room temperature since the compost chamber sits inside the pedestal within a bathroom. However, a split-system toilet with a pedestal in the bathroom and compost chamber outside is exposed to the elements and can experience slow composting during colder periods.
I remember as a kid one of my best friends at school lived on some property that grew pineapples and pawpaws. I often used to spend weekends at their house and we would explore all around the property, finding all sorts of interesting things to do and creating boy mischief along the way.
One of the strongest memories from their house was the outhouse – a separate building that housed their toilet. As I kid I remember thinking this was different, strange and interesting all at the same time. In winter, it wasn’t very fun creeping out to the toilet in the middle of the night with a torch, a beanie and a chatter between my teeth.
If you’re thinking about installing a composting toilet you’re probably wondering to yourself “is this the right choice?” and “is it worth it?” and also probably “will our visitors think we’re weirdos”?
We understand these concerns and trust us when we say almost all our customers have them at some stage in their journey towards installing a composting toilet in their home. It’s perfectly natural to have questions and concerns about something that’s not ‘mainstream’ (although humans have been utilising excrement for fertilizer for hundreds, if not thousands of years) so we thought we would put together a great big list of reasons why we love composting toilets – and you should too!
An increasing number of people are taking household water-saving measures further than shorter showers and sprinkler bans.
Composting no-flush toilets are being installed inside new homes and users are raving about their success.
Up to 60% of wastewater produced by a home is greywater (laundry, bathroom and kitchen). This water has the potential to be reused in the garden. With a waterless toilet installed in a home, you can effectively recycle ~90% of your household wastewater.
All Ecoflo systems are odour and chemical free as well as being completely waterless. Ecoflo composting toilets provide a hygienic method of recycling human waste. By separately managing your toilet (aka black water) and other wastewater (i.e. greywater), you avoid the need to waste and pollute potable water. Here’s how our solution to onsite wastewater management works.
Ecoflo is proud to sell Who Gives A Crap toilet paper. It’s forest friendly and they donate 50% of their profits to help build toilets for those in need.
Two UQ architecture alumni are laying the foundations for sustainable, affordable housing in Australia through their start-up business, the Tiny House Company.
Despite their small stature, these tiny houses still manage to feel open, airy and inviting, thanks to elegant design and storage options.
A recent Queensland ruling offers some hope to the continued Tiny House movement in Australia, but for now it needs to be understood in the context of this particular tiny house in the Brisbane City Council local government area.
Dreaming of owning your own home but convinced you can’t afford it? This week Adam, Jason and Pete team up for one of our biggest makes ever, literally building a home from scratch for under $50,000 – using a shipping container!
Stuart from Ecoflo and Neville from Bokashi NZ, our local distributor, exhibited our line of Nature Loo composting toilets for the first time at this year's Wellington expo. Based on the reaction we received from visitors it was clear that this was also the first time many people have had the chance to see a composting toilet that wasn't a bucket AND didn't cost buckets of cash either.