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 take a simple principle of a composting toilet like the fact they reduce water consumption in a household by up to 30,000 litres a year, this fact alone does a lot to helping the environment and creating a better future for our children and our planet.
Considering that Australians have some of the highest water consumption of any country on the planet (341,000 litres per person per year, whilst the global average was found to be 57,000 litres) all of us should be doing as much as we can to preserve this precious commodity.
Let’s take a further look into why composting toilets are good for the environment and break down the good, the bad and the potentially offensive.
Composting toilets use less water
As mentioned above, Australians are some of the biggest water wasters on the planet. This alone should give us pause for thought on how we can save water in the driest continent on earth! The act of installing a composting toilet can help families save upwards of 30,000 litres of perfectly good drinking water per year. Even more for larger families or households.
Composting toilets use only a small amount of power
Now you may be thinking to yourself “traditional flush toilets don’t use any power” and technically you’d be correct, however when you think about this a little deeper, you start to realise that the amount of power, chemicals and resources needed to actually process the waste that gets so conveniently flushed away starts to add up.
Many of us using flush toilet systems do what we need to do, press the button (half flush hopefully) and don’t give the waste we produce any further thought. It would be nice to think that our waste gets magically washed away and we don’t need to think about it any further however, to be an aware citizen, we need to think about the personal impact we have by pressing that flush button on the top of our toilets.
Let’s take the Luggage Point Sewage Treatment Plant in Brisbane as an example. If you take a look at the size of the plant, you will start to get an appreciation of just how much work it is to power and process a city’s waste. When you start looking at the bigger picture, you start to realise when you add all these together there’s a lot of treatment plants required (over 131 in Queensland alone in fact!).
Whilst composting toilets do use a small amount of power to run their exhaust fans (this helps to evaporate liquids) this can be offset by installing a solar system for your composting toilet.
Composting Toilets Compared to Septic Systems
There are many benefits to installing a composting toilet system over a septic system. For example it’s unlikely your composting toilet system is going to crack or fracture if there’s any ground movement or change in the makeup of your soil. Likewise if there are floodwaters in your area or the water table rises, your composting toilet isn’t going to pop out of the ground because of hydrostatic pressure like a septic tank can.
The other benefit of a composting toilet over a septic tank is that it’s unlikely roots will ever get into your composting toilet and block it, likewise the deterioration of parts is much slower (the environment and effluent in a septic tank is incredibly corrosive). The added bonus on a composting toilet is that rather than pumping out the waste (that then needs to go and be treated anyway) you actually get a usable product (a top-soil like humus) by installing a composting toilet!
One of the surprising ‘side effects’ of purchasing a composting toilet that we’ve seen here at the Ecoflo office in our customers is the change in attitude they have towards their personal responsibility to the planet and the environment around them. Many customers tell us that installing a composting toilet was a conduit to being more aware of their impact on the environment and has led them to lead less wasteful lives, more eco-friendly lifestyles.
The current problems with our environment is definitely a huge problem to try and solve, but if everybody did a few small things every day (recycle, save water, compost scraps, etc) and perhaps a large thing every now and then (purchase a composting toilet, install solar, etc) the world will quickly change for the better.