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Comparing Compost Toilets and Other Things

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Posted on : 9:18 AM | By : Nic | In : , ,

I am a Reddit reader, and one of my favorite 'subreddits' is IAmA, in which you can post and read about interesting things people do or have done and ask them anything. The other day there was one that was particularly interesting: I haven't slept in a house in 3 months. I live and work fulltime in an RV with my wife and two small kids. AMA Reddit can be quite addictive.

Two topics were of interest to me... the first one was that the man wasn't going to homeschool his kids because he was homeschooled and felt that he had been socially disadvantaged. Let's not get me started on that, lol. I understand what he's saying as I think I had a similar experience, but there's no reason kids need to live in a vacuum. I went over my homeschool records for the past week and found that they spent no less than 12 hours away from home, and 10 of those hours directly interacting with other kids, only one of her own age. I think last week may have been outside a bit more than usual but not only did they spend time with others, they are becoming immune to age segregation, that terrible malady when a child can't or won't associate with anyone that is not the exact same age as themselves.

Anyway, there's not really any excuse for not getting out there besides shyness on my own part, and there's plenty of that. But since my motto is do the thing you are afraid of, being shy isn't an option for me. Anyway, I could go into all the physiological effects of being shy and how to conquer it but I won't today.

What I really wanted to talk about is toilets. I asked the guy above in the RV what kind of load (har har) they are putting on their toilet, and how it's working since a typical RV isn't made to handle someone there full time. Our personal goal is to make our bus have the capability to function off grid, and to this end we really would like to have a composting toilet. Unfortunately the composting toilets made for RVs (such as the Sun Mar) do not have the capacity we need. They wouldn't even handle us for a weekend.

So I've been looking at a very unique composting toilet called a Nature's Head. Unlike the others it separates solids from liquids, which allows the solids to compost faster, gives it more capacity and reduces smells (and flies which can be a problem if you overload a composting toilet). The thing to know about any of these toilets is that it takes more maintenance to keep your toilet happy than it does for a regular toilet. You can't just flush it away and forget. With this one it has a big jug for urine and you do have to dump that periodically. I am wondering if I will have the guts to carry around my jug of urine, lol.

Being more responsible for our personal waste is very important because honestly we shouldn't be able to just flush and forget. But with three kids it might be a careful balancing act between how many times they need to go and an impending stinky disaster.

Comments (3)

We have been using a Nature's Head toilet full-time for three months now. We need to empty the liquid waste every three to four days. This is easily done at a rest stop, campground, or RV dump station.

The solid waste looks like it will be every six weeks or so, depending on how often we use other facilities when available. The compost that came out the one and only time we have removed it so far just looked liked very rich peat moss with small bits of TP in it. The only smell was just kind of an earthy one.

We are very happy with the product, and yes it is a little more work than a regular toilet, but I find it way less objectionable than emptying the black tank would be.

You can read more about our experience on our website:

http://www.ecodiscoverytour.com/theflyingcloud/thecompostingtoilet.html

And our blog:

http://ecodiscoverytour.blogspot.com/2009/07/pee-like-girl.html

John

Hey John thanks so much for the invaluable info. We really wanted someone to tell us if it was any good. Your sites are awesome!

Thanks Nic!

Glad I found your site as well. Let me know if you decide you might want a Nature's Head before you purchase.

Best,

JB