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Do composting toilets work in cold climates?

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.  

How to ensure your composting toilet works in cold weather

First, let’s talk a little about what we mean when we say ‘cold weather’. Here in Australia, we don’t get ‘as’ cold like they do in other parts of the world (Alaska, Russia, Finland or Canada, for example) and for the most part our country’s temperature doesn’t typically drop below zero very often. The lowest minimum temperature on record in Australia was − 23 °C (- 9.4 °F), recorded on 29 June 1994 at Charlotte Pass (Kosciusko Chalet) in New South Wales.

Now in saying that, low, prolonged temperatures can affect the composting pile in your composting toilet so it’s wise to ensure you know what to do if you find yourself in a cold snap and are worried about your composting toilet. 

Keeping your composting toilet warm

How you do this will depend on the type of composting toilet you have. If you have a self-contained composting toilet (all-in-one system) and you have it installed in your home, there is really no need to use heating pads or insulation as the temperatures in your home should be well and truly warm enough to keep your composting pile working nicely throughout the winter.

If you have your composting toilet installed in a shed, holiday home or outside (not that you would want to use this one in the dead of winter!) and the temperature drops below 15 degrees on a regular basis, don't despair, as the microorganisms will simply wait until the temperature warms up and then kick in.

For those toilets with a heavier usage during these cooler months, you may want to consider the options available, see our winter composting tips.

Composting toilet for cold climates

If you’re looking for a composting toilet that has been designed specifically with cold climates in mind, we have just introduced the new model of the Clivus Multrum High Profile(CM HP) which has been designed to incorporate the heating pad right into the system. This can either be run from a solar system or plug right into the wall running 240 volts.

As you can see if you live in a cold climate, you can still run a composting toilet effectively, no matter what the weather’s doing.

For more information about our composting toilet range, or heating pads for composting toilets, please call us on 1300 138 182 or contact us.

In the spirit of reconciliation, Ecoflo Wastewater Management acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of this Country. We pay our respects to their Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today. 




Ecoflo was the first company in Australia to sell composting toilets certified to the rigorous quality testing of Australian Standards. If you want to be certain your composting toilet has adequate capacity and is safe, you need a waterless composting toilet certified to the tough performance criteria of AS/NZS 1546.2:2008.

Shop our range of certified toilets here