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My Compost Toilet Journey 2015

Kildwick Waterless Composting Toilets My Compost Toilet Journey 2015

A story about a very early (2015) Kildwick customer (we were then known as Low-Impact Loos, Li-Loo)…


In 2008 I was sat in a 3-bedroomed house in Poole with all mod cons, a full home network that even included the garage and a naughty teenage Daughter.

A flippant, frustration-fuelled, comment during one of many arguments found me shouting ‘I’m going sell this house and live on a boat!!” at her…

In 2009 we were living on a boat!

We were lucky enough to buy a boat that was empty, a blank canvas, and proceeded to fashion it into a small floating cottage, complete with porcelain bowled, cassette lavatory.

Kildwick Waterless Composting Toilets My Compost Toilet Journey 2015  It looked like a normal loo; that, at the time, was important for us – we knew no different. As the years rolled on I became weary of the twice-weekly journey to the Elsan point (a hole in the ground with a hosepipe over) that took our waste into the national sewer grid.

It was irritating in a number of ways… the cassette STANK for starters! Then there was the physical exertion of carrying a 17lt container full of slopping human matter (about 20KG) from the boat to a CAR… I’d always do the emptying under the cover of darkness. There was something gut-wrenchingly embarrassing being seen carrying a box full of poop, sloshing around in a liquor of urine.

The cassette would always need changing at awkward hours and having guests made it necessary to ensure you had at least two cassettes because a night on the beer and wine filled those cassettes in a flash.

It had to go! After 5 years I started to investigate the possibility of changing my posh porcelain for a box with a bucket in it. Yes, pee in a bottle and shit in a bucket! Never in a million years would I have dreamt of doing such a thing, in my narrow-minded house-dwelling days. The years had softened my outlook on life and I became simpler by the day. I’d come to the pinnacle point in my life metamorphoses.

I had ‘bumped’ into a man called Colin Ives on Facebook; he too lives on a boat with his Family and are very ‘green’ by most people’s standards. There were umpteen conversations online about ‘pumpout’ v ’cassette’ where Colin would throw ‘how about compost’ into the ensuing arguments. His comments stood out for me and last year we discussed, in-depth, the possibility of him building a bespoke loo, just for me. I’d found other manufacturers of compost ‘boxes’ but none were interested in bespoke measurements. My ‘space’ was fairly shallow in depth and I could not waiver from the measurements I had. Ideas and needs were discussed, CAD drawings presented and an order placed.

This summer it arrived, boxed up. It felt like Christmas! I’d already sourced a new home for my defunct porcelain crapper (no shortage of wanters!) and the lucky winner even disassembled it and made safe the electrics & water before plodding off into the summer afternoon with his treasure.

I unpacked my new loo; it was perfect but needed glitter! It’s now known as my ‘Glitter Shitter’ and is a source of comedy and open-mouthed disbelief to my friends living in houses.

The wee is separated from the poop which means there’s no smell. The wee is emptied at the base of trees around my mooring (a perfect and natural fertiliser) and I am currently looking into a plausible way of composting the solids; until then, I bag it and send it to landfill, just like nappies are. Not ideal but small steps in the right direction are being taken…

I can honestly say, it’s the best, most simplistic loo I have ever had. Going backward is the way forward! If we all lived a little more simply, the planet would last a little bit longer.

 Author: Owner of Towpath Townie

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