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7 Things to Know About a Composting Toilet

Composting toilets are all the rage among RVers and van lifers. Are you ready to join the trend? There’s lots to know about composting toilets, but you’ll quickly realize how convenient and easy to use these toilets are. 

Keep reading to learn all about composting toilets and their benefits. And we’ll look at seven things you’ll want to know about it. 

Let’s get started! 

What Is a Composting Toilet? 

A composting toilet decomposes and evaporates waste without using chemicals. It has a urine compartment and a drum for waste. A common compost material used in the waste drum is coconut coir.

The natural process removes the need for a black tank in an RV. You simply throw away the composted waste in a trash bag. The toilet has a separate urine container, which you will need to depose separately. 

What Are the Benefits of a Composting Toilet?

There are numerous benefits of a composting toilet, including reducing the need for traditional plumbing. The toilet doesn’t require the connection of any plumbing. It also decreases water waste and its impact on the environment. And the compost can also be used to fertilize plants. In addition, a compost toilet is ideal for RVs or if you live in an area without plumbing.

A composting toilet also reduces the need to find a dump station when traveling or boondocking in your RV. And, of course, it eliminates having to mess with a sewer hose and black tank smell. In addition, you’ll save water, especially when dry camping. 

What Are the Drawbacks of a Composting Toilet?

There are some drawbacks to composting toilets. For example, they tend to be larger than traditional toilets, so they don’t necessarily save on space. Another disadvantage is having to empty the urine container. 

Pro Tip: Composting toilets have a dirty little secret! Find out more about The Nasty Truth of RV Composting Toilets.

Woman getting toilet paper while sitting on the toilet
A composting toilet can be a game changer for your RV bathroom.

7 Things to Know About a Composting Toilet

Do you still have questions about composting toilets? There’s lots to know about composting toilets so we’ve pulled together seven frequently asked questions that can help determine if it’s the correct type of toilet for you. 

1. How Much Space Do You Need for a Composting Toilet?

A 30-inch by 30-inch space is enough room to fit a composting toilet. The best thing is that the toilets are often portable, so you can move them when needed. As a result, they’re an excellent option for camper vans, RVs, or cabins without traditional plumbing.

2. Do Compost Toilets Smell?

Contrary to the rumors, compost toilets rarely smell. There’s very little odor except for some wood or mulch smell. If you maintain the toilet properly, there will be virtually no odor. We recommend the Nature’s Head Self-Contained Composting Toilet, which is nearly odorless.

Girl plugging nose from stinky toilet
When used correctly, a compostable toilet should not stink!

3. Do All Composting Toilets Need to Be Vented?

Venting a composting toilet is advised, as it reduces odor. For example, the Nature’s Head toilet comes with an inside vent flange and a cable for a 12V fan hookup. However, you would need to install the outside vent on your own.

4. Can You Compost Used Toilet Paper?

Yes, you can compost used toilet paper. However, it can take between two weeks to two months to decompose, depending on the type of toilet paper you use. You can even put toilet paper cardboard rolls into the compost. Scott Tissue or Green Forest are good examples of composting toilet paper.

Keep In Mind: Not all toilet paper is created equal! Uncover what toilet paper you should use in your RV.

5. How Do You Keep a Compost Toilet Clean?

You should clean a compost toilet regularly and a deep clean every two to three months. Use a bowl cleaner specifically designed for composting toilets to clean it. Chemicals such as bleach can kill aerobic bacteria to break down waste. We recommend a product like Sun-Mar Compost Quick.

Person scrubbing toilet
When cleaning your composting toilet, make sure to only use compost approved cleaning products.

6. What Happens to Urine in a Composting Toilet?

Depending on the model, the urine in composting toilets goes into a separate compartment or the waste pile. For example, the Nature’s Head Composting Toilet has a specific container for the urine and another for the waste and compost. Again, the goal is to reduce the amount of moisture in the compost.

7. How Do You Empty Composting Toilet?

The emptying of a compost toilet depends on the model. But in general, you put the compost into a trash bag and throw it away. If there’s a separate urine container, you’ll need to empty it whenever it’s full. Fortunately, you only need to empty the compost section every two to four weeks, depending on usage. 

Is a Composting Toilet Worth It?

A composting toilet is worth it. We highly recommend installing one in your RV or camper van. They seriously reduce visits to the dump station or having to deal with disgusting sewer tanks. A composting toilet can save you time, water, and the need to hunt down a dump station. 

Are you ready to replace your traditional toilet with a composting model? We recommend checking out the Nature’s Head Composting Toilet. They’re easy to install and use. And they get stellar reviews from full-time RVers and van lifers. 

Do you have a composting toilet? What’s your experience with it? Tell us in the comments!

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