DIY Composting Toilets: 3 Tips for Success

While 87 percent of homeowners who are making changes to their bathrooms are upgrading their showers, there’s another renovation that can be better for both your home and the environment: adding a composting toilet.

Using a composting toilet is a great way to turn waste into a useful resource. These toilets can be used in houses, in tiny houses and in outdoor settings. So if you’re interested in making your own composting toilet, read on for some helpful tips.

Get the Right Supplies

There are several different ways to make a composting toilet, but there are a few general supplies you’ll need, no matter what kind of design your toilet will have.

You should have two big buckets for the waste to go in, a toilet seat (and hardware to install it) and material to make a base. Two-by-four pieces of wood are a great option for a budget-friendly base—use four pieces of wood as legs and put a piece of plywood across the top to complete the structure. Make sure you screw everything in place to avoid it collapsing. 

You can also use other sustainable materials, such as the wood that comes from hardwood trees, to create your toilet. But no matter what kind of material you use for your base, be sure to cut a hole in the top that’s wide enough to fit the toilet seat. Once your base is complete, screw your toilet seat in place and your structure will be ready to go!

Choose Effective Composting Materials

Once you have your base, you’ll need the right materials to put inside the toilet. You should start with sawdust—this material is fine, absorbent and can help to absorb some of the smell. Along with sawdust, consider adding pine needles, wood shavings and other fine materials.

On top of that, you might want to add in some coffee grounds, which can help significantly reduce smells and keep everything fresh. You may even want to get some composting worms to help break down your waste faster.

Overall, you want to ensure that you have the right amount of moisture. If liquids aren’t getting absorbed, just add more sawdust, as this will help hold the compost together. 

Use Your Toilet Correctly

So how exactly do you use a composting toilet? Well, pretty much the same way you’d use a normal toilet, minus the flushing.

Before you use your toilet, start with a base layer of sawdust to cover the bottom of the bucket. And then after every use, cover the waste with more sawdust, pine needles, wood shavings or coffee grounds. Then, once the bucket is full, it can be emptied into your normal composting bin.

The waste compost should cure for a few months, if not a year. And it’s important to know the internal temperature the compost should reach before being used on edible items, so you’ll need to do some research on that topic. 

Otherwise, simply replace your buckets as needed and keep the toilet seat clean, as you would in a normal bathroom.

A Generational Shift

With Millennials accounting for 34 percent of homebuyers in 2017, more people who care about the environment are starting to buy houses. A composting toilet can be a great selling point, or something for you and your own family to use. So keep these tips above in mind to ensure that you end up with the best composting toilet possible! 

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