Wondering which toilet option is best for your tiny home? Given you’ve got limited space, you want to make sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck.
Tiny homes have grown considerably in popularity over the past decade. You only need to plug in a few related terms into Google Trends, and you can see that ‘tiny homes’ really started capturing the public’s imagination around 2014 with steady growth in interest ever since!
It’s little wonder that in today’s fast-paced, highly connected world, people are looking for options to simplify their lives and declutter not only their homes but their minds and way of life. Tiny homes are so much more than living in a smaller house on wheels. It’s a way of life and a way to live that helps you appreciate simplicity and innovation.
Even though tiny homes are smaller in size, they pack a punch when it comes to innovation and intelligent space. The kitchen, bedrooms and even the humble toilet need to be thought out, so they’re used in the best way possible with, hopefully, the most negligible impact on their surroundings.
With this in mind, we’ve put together the ultimate guide to toilets for tiny homes so you can ensure your potty isn’t grotty and nothing goes funny with your dunny.
What types of toilets can you use in a tiny home?
This depends on a few different factors. We list some of these below:-
- Do you have access to town water?
- Will you be moving your tiny home?
If you have access to town water and don’t plan on ever moving your tiny home, it’s possible you can plumb in a flushing toilet. If you plan on living off the grid, moving your tiny home from time to time or don’t plan on connecting your tiny home to utilities, then a composting toilet is one of the best options for your tiny home.
So, what exactly are composting toilets?
Composting toilets are a way of self managing human waste to turn it into a usable, humus-like top-soil that can be used on gardens and lawns. It uses aerobic composting and anaerobic composting to break down human waste into something usable.
How many different types of composting toilets can be used in tiny homes?
Roughly speaking composting toilets can be broken down into two different types, which can be used in tiny homes:
1. Self contained composting toilets
A self contained composting toilet has all the components needed to compost human waste integrated into the one unit. They have a chamber that sits inside the pedestal and typically have a mixing mechanism that helps to aerate the compost pile.
2. Split unit composting toilets
A split system composting toilet separates the chamber and the pedestal by a chute. The chamber where the waste goes is usually installed under the house or in a basement then a chute is installed from the chamber, through the floor and connected to the pedestal that sits in the bathroom.
Safety tips when handling compost
When dealing with a composted material from your toilet, you will need to consider a few things, the main one being your personal safety when it comes to the safe handling of humanure.
Below are good general rules about how to handle the byproducts of your composting toilet safely and what you can and can’t use it on.
Handling composting toilet wastes
The first thing we need to talk about is safe handling practices. There are some simple rules you will want to follow when handling the compost from a composting toilet:
- Wear a long-sleeved shirt
- Wear rubber or latex gloves
- Wear closed in shoes or gumboots (not thongs)
- Wear a mask (everyone should now have several of these thanks to COVID!)
- Wash your hands after handling
- Wash your clothes after handling
If you’re after some more in-depth info about handling humanure, take a look at our article Safety when handling humanure | 'How to' hints and tips.
Where can and can't you put composted material?
Once you’ve used your composting toilet for some time, you’re going to have a byproduct that’s very much like topsoil. This can be used in a variety of different ways:
- Add it to an existing compost pile
- Spread it around fruit or nut trees
- Spread it over lawns
- Spread it around non-edible gardens
It’s essential to note there are some plant types you should not use humanure on. These include:
- Do not use on edible plants
- Do not use on Herbs
- Do not use on Vegetables
- Do not use on edible flowers or plants used for seeds (sunflower, pumpkins, sesame, chia, etc.)
As you can see, there are a few things to think about when installing a composting toilet in your tiny home, but at the end of the day, it’s like anything in life. Once you’ve done it a few times, you get used to different ways of doing things.