Different Types of Self-Contained and Split System Composting Toilets

One eco-friendly alternative to regular flush toilets is the composting toilet. They work with the process of composting to break down waste and turn them into fertilizer.

These toilets are typically placed in houses with space beneath them or a separate area for composting. They can also be ideal for places with no consistent water source, or you would like to save on water consumption.

This toilet has electric and non-electric varieties. They can come with chambers, so you may empty or switch them out when full. You can opt for a bigger composting system or additional chambers if you expect many people to use the toilet.

Due to rising demand, composting toilets are now considerably more accessible. Mid-range variants may cost between $900 and $1,400, and fully automated ones can easily cost more. But even then, some more expensive versions do not have more to offer compared to less costly counterparts.

The capacity of your storage tank is crucial to consider when choosing a composting toilet. You must balance the tank capacity with the number of regular users. Most units will provide you with parameters, such as the number of uses and the load capacity for each composting container. Consider your projected usage to ensure you obtain the most beneficial compostable toilet for the money. In addition, it helps to think about how much time you’re willing to devote to its upkeep and how essential general usability is to you.

The toilet size and weight will also be crucial if you’re shopping for a composting toilet, depending on where you will be placing it. It is especially crucial if you plan to install it on your RV, boat, or container homes. Fortunately, several composting toilets are made to fit into small places. And if the size isn’t so much your concern and you prefer bigger sizes for heavier loads, you can go for good capacity self-contained units or modular split systems.

Self-contained systems

A self-contained composting toilet has no other additional attachments. It is a complete unit consisting of the seat, the chamber, and its other components, such as vent pipes. They take up less room and don’t need chemicals to decompose the waste. It is ideal for low-set houses, trailers, vacation homes, or residences. Think tiny homes.

There are two types that differ in where the liquid waste is headed.
Before purchasing, remember to examine how the waste cans separate and reattach to your toilet. You may do better for a type that will let you remove your urine container independently because pee has to be emptied frequently. And there is also one with a drain that discharges your pee outside your home.

What are the different types of self-contained toilets?
Small places that are mobile and non-fixed are ideal for the model with the urine container. It features an inner container that allows solids to fall through and a urine-separating bowl with a baffle at the opening. It prevents fluids from spilling out, like when traveling.

The easily removable and emptied container makes it possible to install on almost all corners and sides in tiny dwellings. One should consider positioning it on the floor next to a wall, and for further stability, you should fix it to the wall, the floor, or both. No protrusions from the back or side mean you can install it in restrictive spaces, flush against the wall behind with no gap. Although it can fit even in most small areas, it feels like a traditional toilet and has a seat and lid of the same size.

The key to effective and straightforward management is the separation of liquids and solids. The solid waste container must be emptied once per week if the toilet is used in a two-person permanent residence. You also must clean the urine container 2-3 times a week. It has a vent pipe that removes odors and you may install it neatly disguised vent pipes that route down, behind the unit, or to either side. When combined with the built-in fan and effective ventilation system, you can be confident that it will be completely odor-free.

This toilet is urine-diverting. Except for its internal pee diversion system, both self-contained toilet types look the same. This one particularly suits installations with limited space, such as permanent residences, campervans, tiny houses, and trailers. It has visible tubing behind the toilet that routes and releases the toilet air and urine outside through a hose to a tiny pit, external container, or drain.

Similarly, you must empty the tank for solid waste once every week if two individuals use the toilet in a permanent residence.

Split Systems

A toilet unit, a chute, and a composting chamber are the components that make up a split system. These kinds of toilets are typically placed in houses with adequate space beneath them for a composting chamber. The toilet unit is built above the composting chamber, right underneath the home, and a chute links the two parts.

What are the different types of split systems?
Simply put, a chamber collects waste in batches underneath the toilet unit. At least two composting chambers are included with batch systems. One should be filled, then set aside outside to continue composting while the second chamber is put to use under the toilet unit. A lid for each chamber serves as a seal to stop odor from escaping from it. The chamber’s contents should be fully composted before replacing the one for toilet use. After removing the compost, you can use it in your soil and reuse the chamber.

The capacity of this modular batch system is almost limitless. Purchase a second chamber and alternate the chambers more frequently as usage increases. As your family expands or you eventually make your space more extensive, you can also increase the capacity of your composting chambers. The modular batch system gets you to increase its capacity without having to purchase an entirely new toilet.

These systems require maintenance very comparable to that of a self-contained unit. For example, you may take out a container or bin that resembles a bucket and put another spare chamber in its place. The time needed to completely decompose a chamber’s contents is typically 5 to 6 weeks. The container is subsequently emptied by placing it on the soil. It takes the place of the other chamber, and you go over the steps again.

Cylindrical chamber unit sizes range from 630mm wide and 450mm tall to 760mm wide and 700mm tall. Compost chambers can hold contents from 1-2 to 3-6 people, with daily usage of 20 to 110.

The underfloor area needed by continuous systems, which we will cover later, is much larger. Only an underfloor clearance between 450mm and 750mm is necessary for the batch system. It makes it easier to map out, especially if you plan to install more toilets.

Unlike the batch system, this does the composting process in one sizable tank. When decomposing, up to 80% of the organic material’s volume will be lost. You can do it through constant maintenance by taking out the bottom front area of the tank. So while fresh material is regularly added to the top through the toilet unit, the compost pile in the middle is also constantly getting smaller. This composting process is effectively done with a sloping architecture of the tank’s surface.

It is ideal for small to medium-sized public facilities or where two or more toilets are installed. In addition, it can work well for off-grid living, vacation homes, tiny homes, and bigger families with several toilets.
The dimensions of the unit are more than 1000mm on all sides. The capacity of compost tanks ranges from 5-7 persons to 27–28 people, with daily usage from 20–110.

Given their size, a compost tank must have less than 1350mm of underfloor clearance. It also needs, at most, a depth of about 550 mm, and at least 1850mm of underfloor clearance, with the front part not more than 720 mm.

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