A composting toilet is a special system that takes human wastes and converts it into usable soil and organic compost. This process takes place by naturally breaking down the organic matter into the natural essential minerals. This is done by the micro and macro organisms working through the different stages of oxidation as well as the breakdown of anaerobic pockets. Composting toilets may be central units or self-contained composting toilets.
Central unit composting toilets flush the waste material to a remote composting unit located below the toilet, while self-contained composting toilets complete the composting cycle right on the same location. Central units that flush can flush upward or horizontally. The composting cycle can be completed by electricity with fans exhausting air to increase the microbial activity. The use of a rotating drum inside the composting toilet is often used as a way to speed up the aerobic breakdown of the waste.
With all the efforts of the world towards helping the environment, commercial compost toilet systems are beginning to compete with the traditional flushing toilets, especially in public facilities that are used frequently. These composting toilets have been found to be not only resilient but also advantageous to the environment because there are no pollutants being discharged. Large businesses that have begun using composting toilets are pleased with the results and state if the bathroom is kept clean with properly working fans, no one can tell the difference between these and conventional flushing toilets.
Composting toilets, regardless of what kind they are, all need to have some of the end product removed occasionally. If the composting toilet is a full-size one, it may not need to have the solids removed for many years provided the volume of the tank is at least three times what is put in the toilet in a year. The reason for this is because the liquid decreases in volume over time, for example; only about 2% or less of the original amount is still there after 5 years. After this time, it becomes a mineralized soil and is done decomposing. Smaller composting toilets, however, will need to have the solid waste removed a couple times each year.
Composting toilets are, surprisingly enough, becoming used more often in homes because they prefer the odor-free process provided by the efficient compost toilet over the conventional flush toilets which use large amounts of water and, in turn, drain large amounts of sewage. Composting toilets, which are odorless as well as waterless, are preferred in areas known for drought. Homeowners in these situations are able to stay in their homes during drought. They are also recommended in public facilities in areas of limited water supply. Composting toilets are also being tested for certification to ANSI/NSF-41 Standards.