This is a quick and dirty FAQ page just to get things started. There are so many questions people ask about composting toilets and the Kildwick approach that it becomes hard to remember when you make a list!
- Do compost loos smell?
- Not really !
- The bad smell we are used to from pump-out and cassette loos is from the mix of wee and poo. A compost loo separates the two and neither really smell. Sprinkle some wood-shavings on the ‘pile’ and there is little smell – perhaps a slight musty wood smell
- Is a fan necessary
- Not strictly but is can help to remove any residual smell and has the potential to dehydrate the solids under the right environmental and use conditions
- Where can I dispose of the urine?
- You have choices! You can tip it over the embankment (other side of towpath) which is ok if you don’t pour in the same place every time. You can pour it down a normal loo if you have access to one. You can dilute it (10:1) and fertilise your garden if you have one.
- Where can I dispose of the poo!?
- Again, you have choices! Ideally you can set aside before adding it to a compost pile. You can dispose of it in a normal refuse container if appropriately double-bagged. You can dry it and burn it in your stove. You can turn it into briquettes, dry them out and burn later.
- How easy is it to build a DIY composter?
- Very easy if you have reasonable DIY skills and tools .
- How big are compost toilets?
- Some can be quite large (Separett Villa, for example) and others (Koodle) a better size. If you go DIY, your options to shrink are more limited unless to have access to professional technology.
- I have a pump-out tank. Can I use still use it for urine?
- No reason why not – you’ll have the advantage of being able to ‘self pump-out’ at an elsan point as you’re only pumping urine. You may, however, be better removing the tank and using the space for something better (space is a premium on boats after all)
- How long does a compost loo system last between empties
- It all depends. A system with a 23L solids bucket without mixing or fan to dehydrate will last over a month/person full time (two people, two weeks etc). The urine container will depend on its size, how much you drink, perspire etc but expect to empty it every two or three days (easy job!). Clearly if you ‘go’ at work etc the facilities will last a lot longer and even have a chance to begin composting in-situ. Adding in a fan and a bucket ‘agitator’ should increase the time between solids empties.