Home Forums Permaculture Discussion Forum composting toilets anyone?

This topic contains 7 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  trisha 17 hours, 14 minutes ago.

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    One day, we’d like to add another bathroom (and second toilet) to our home. I was wondering if anyone here has a composting toilet. I’ve read about them a bit but have never actually seen/used/smelled one–except outdoor ones in national parks in the US–and that won’t quite be suitable for my home ;)

    I was wanting to put it inside–not only be able to access by the outside. I’m not going to trudge through snow and cold wind in the winter to get there, I know myself. I also saw a model where you empty the compost drawer inside your bathroom–but it seems useful to be able to put it on an outside wall perhaps with outdoor access to the composted final product. . .The only thing is that this would be our north wall, so puting an opening there would maybe make our bathroom cold in the winter! Heh, unless all that humanure could be used to create a heat source–I’m only kind of kidding by that as long as it’s functional, I don’t care about the heat source.

    If anyone has one that looks kind of elegant. . . The composting toilet might be a very tough sell to my husband who likes to have a nice throne. Also, I definitely don’t want to degrade the sales value of my house just in case we ever would like to move.

    We happen to live in France, but I’m not particular about whether the info is local to us or not. Anyone who has direct experience, I would love to know about it.



    Hi Trisha,
    I was looking into this exact thing a while ago. Some of the composting toilets can look very modern and easily acceptable in a house, but they can also be very expensive (ones I was looking at were at least $1600 Australian, up to and easily more than $3500). You also need room below the floor at the rear of the building for most the compost bins; other examples simply have a container below the pedestal.
    Here are some available in Australia, which probably have equivalents where you are:




    I didn’t look further than a glance at all these, but I know from the system my sister set up that composting can be very simple, and if done with a fan (which can be solar) and appropriate vent tube with air intake, it can be virtually odourless.
    I imagine it can also be odourful if carelessly maintained… But the compost out of it doesn’t resemble the original material very much at all, which is wonderful.
    Hope this helps a little,




    This site has one for about 875 dollars.

    Or you can use Google on how to make one, there is Youtube vidoes showing you how to make them.



    Jennifer and Douglas, those are all sites (and techniques) I hadn’t seen yet.

    I admit that it’s tempting to have the more complex model that sends the materials to a tank to decompose and where you only have to empty it maybe once a year or so. The vent system sounds good too for controling odors, although obviously the electricty is an issue perhaps to be dealt with by solar. . .but I can see the price tag rising and I can’t do the installation on my own I think. Still, though. In terms of comfort, I think it would be worth a few thousand euros to me–if, in fact that’s the whole cost after the solar fan, composting tank etc.

    I’ve seen models in France where they literally cost 35 euros to construct with buckets and boards etc–but then you must empty it at a rate of one bucket per person per week and maintain your own compost bins. You can also buy slightly nicer-looking models for 375 euros–but it’s the same issue where you must empty it all–Sounds like a bit of a chore, but the low-tech method is still tempting because I can handle it myself–no plumber, electrician etc. Besides, we already have one flush toilet for emergencies. . .

    Maybe it’s just a question of working it out at first–we went to all wood heating a couple of years ago and at first we were working way too hard to deal with wood and the fires etc. But now we know what we’re doing and it’s no big deal. . .



    I don’t have one yet,but here is an example of one I want,it is the best I have seen.Check out paul wheaton’s channel on YouTube and look for his video
    ‘a tour of 4 outhouses’and check out the last one.
    Even though this is an example of an outhouse I believe it could be made in house.
    Sorry,I have not figured out to post hyperlinks on an iPad yet.

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 1 day ago by  Brent.



    Hello Trisha,

    I’ve done a decent amount of research and reading on composting toilets and I believe what you’re actually looking for is a ‘Humanure’ system- easy, odorless, and eco-friendly. Check out the following link that will provide you with a free online copy of the “Humanure Handbook” explaining the science behind all of it including composting toilets.


    Let me know how it works out for you and be careful to pay attention to local/municipal bylaws prior to implementing.

    Best regards,



    Tyrone, thanks–that looks really complete–with a little humor included.
    It will take time to read through it all. As for local laws, strangely I’ve learned that in France the rule is basically–as long as it’s not a nuisance and the neighbors don’t complain. But laws have a way of changing around here with European codes. So I’ll be wary.

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