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’.
How you empty a composting toilet will depend on the model you have
If you’ve taken the time to browse through our website, you will see there are many different makes and models of composting toilets available and the way you empty your composting toilet will ultimately depend on the model you choose. As a general rule there are guidelines you should follow when emptying any type of composting toilet, so before we get into the specifics of emptying a composting toilet, let’s go over the general guidelines you should follow.
General guidelines to emptying a composting toilet
- Always wear a dust mask when dealing with composting toilet compost
- Always wear latex, rubber or protective gloves when dealing with composting toilet compost
- Make sure to wash hands and clothes thoroughly after emptying
- Compost can be heavy so use a trolley or get assistance if needed
- If burying compost make sure it’s at least buried 10cm deep
- Don’t use compost from composting toilets on food plants or vegetables (fruit and nut trees are acceptable)
Now that we’ve got the general safety guidelines out of the way, let’s look at how to empty a composting toilet.
How to empty a self-contained composting toilet
Tiny home, caravan and mobile home models
If you have a model designed for a smaller home, motorhome, boat or caravan usually these types of models will have what’s called a Biobag. This is a small bag inside the composting toilet that can be disposed of either in a general waste facility or general waste bins.
Models for homes, holiday homes and sheds
These types of toilets come in two different types – batch composting and continuous composting. If you are using a batch process composting toilet, emptying it is a simple case of opening the top of the composting toilet, removing the seat panel and taking out the container and replacing it with a new one. Usually we recommend conditioning the composting (leaving it covered out in an open area) for at least 2 months before using it in your gardens.
If you have a continuous cycle composting toilet there is typically a tray in the bottom of the composting toilet that you can pull out to empty. Compost made from human waste loses much of it’s bulk so you will only need to empty the tray every couple of months depending on the usage of the toilet. When you have pulled the tray out of the composting toilet, you will be left with a top soil like product and can use the compost either in your gardens or put it into a worm farm.
How to empty a split system composting toilet
Depending on the style and size of your split system composting toilet there are a few different ways to empty the toilet. For example, it’s easy to empty our Clivus Multrum range. It’s a case of opening up the hatch that leads to the composting chamber and using a shovel and wheelbarrow to get your compost out of the system.
Take a look at the video below to get a better idea of how they’re emptied.
With systems like the Sun-Mar Centrex range, there is a finishing tray at the bottom of the system that holds completed compost that’s separate from fresh waste. It’s a simple case of emptying the tray into a container or wheelbarrow or taking the tray directly to the area you’re going to be using your compost.
It’s really very easy to empty a composting toilet
So as you can probably tell, emptying a composting toilet isn’t that big a deal at all really. It’s quite easy and you’re only having to deal with a compost product that has a texture and makeup very similar to topsoil.
If you’ve shoveled dirt in your garden, you can empty a composting toilet!