Composting Toilet

A composting toilet has been one of the best off the grid mods we've made. A composting toilet doesn’t use any water, its environmentally friendly and we don’t have to worry about a stinkin’ black tank! Sound too good to be true? Click on any of the posts below for more information.

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111 Comments

  • Mike

    June 2, 2016 Reply

    Great videos, I learned a lot and am looking to get a Natures Head Toilet for my house. I heard your comments about men sitting down to pee and recalled an article I read a few weeks ago. Medical research reported in Sweden’s Folket newspaper said that sitting might mean reduced prostate cancer risk and be better for you in the bedroom. So all you manly men out there - sit down, live longer and have more fun.

  • Geoff

    May 10, 2016 Reply

    Jason and Nikki,
    I've enjoyed several of your programs. I am a structural engineer working in residential construction. I work with several "green" builders and designers. We have installed solar swamp coolers, wind generators and LED lights..... but no composting toilets. If you were to settle down in a home, would you trade out for composting toilets? To me it sounds practical.... you have the experience. What would you do?

    • Nikki Wynn

      May 10, 2016 Reply

      I most certainly would as the household versions are even better! There are so many that have great urine tanks that combine with water at an outside hose for water the grass and all kinds of nifty ideas.

  • Michael

    May 7, 2016 Reply

    I withdraw question on toilet removal. Sorry, I found a video explaInning it. Very simple. Thanks again

  • Michael Tubens

    May 7, 2016 Reply

    Hi, my wife and I are trying to order a landmark 5th wheel with the composting toilet. We never considered this until we saw your video. Which are awesome. My question is, do you remove the whole toilet to empty it, from the brackets? If you do, Does it slide out on rails or will you need to unscrew and re screw it back on every time? We are preparing to fulltime as well. Retiring early. Army life has been tough. We're done. Thanks for the great videos.

  • Jeff

    May 5, 2016 Reply

    One old Long-Hair's take on holding tanks & similar,
    I've often heard some "experts", (from the root-words "Ex, a has-been', and 'spurt, a drip under pressure") expound on "never draining Grey-water tanks onto the ground", and have found that this can be very misleading.
    I can't find where they're getting their info, or if their holding-tank set-up is correct, or "other", but here's one example of why you SHOULD be OK with draining excess Grey-water wherever you have to, and it'd not be a problem (AFTER you've checked to ensure you know exactly what is going into your Grey-tank & where it's coming from!):
    FIRST RULE OF THUMB: I ONLY USE BIO-DEGRADING CHEMICALS, NEVER FORMALDEHYDE &/OR SIMILAR, so with that being said:
    In my 1989/1990 National RV, the Fresh-water tank holds a maximum of 70 gallons; (when they were still in business, National said to "only fill it to 60 unless you have no idea when you'll be able to get more fresh water", such as when extended Boondocking, as more weight = more fuel usage in a "gas-burner" like mine), while both the Grey- and Black-water holding tanks are made to hold 40-gallons each, (gotta watch those levels!);
    The ONLY thing that goes into my Black-water holding-tank is dropped directly from the toilet above it, + some extra water from the lav sink, (and a small amount of bio-friendly deodorizer, or just "Rid-X" septic-tank enzyme powder), & I've never had any problems with odors or anything similar.
    The ONLY thing that goes into my Grey tank is from the galley sink and a straight-drop from the shower floor-drain.
    Since I go with foods that the "leftovers" and "trimmings" of, tend to be snapped up by any local wildlife before one can blink, that part isn't a problem; why put another critter's "dinner" in your holding tank?
    That means that the ONLY thing in my Grey tank is about 99.8% water, a few drops of biodegradable suds, and "earth" or "dirt" that gets washed off of food prepared in the galley sink or of me.
    (I used to do a lot of "rough-in"-camping, where the rule is: "Pack out what you brought in, and if you see something that someone else left, pick IT up & pack IT out, too"),..
    So, if I drain a little bit from my "getting-too-full" Grey-tank, even while in my own driveway, it's just putting back all but a tiny bit of what went into it, where it came from.
    (I DO prefer using a sub-micron filter when filling the fresh-water tank, to keep that part of the system lasting longer.)
    I would NOT advise most people to drain their Black-tanks anywhere other than an approved Sanitary Waste Dump-Station, since they're at every Interstate Rest-Stop I've ever been to, (and many Truck-Stops which have some extra space for RVers), although since I live "out in the boonies" to begin with, I CAN just run 30 or 40-feet of drainage hose to the acreage that's below & behind the house & dump everything back there, since most "agricultural areas" are "overpowering" during certain times of the year to begin with, but again, I do NOT recommend anyone else doing that; I have a "unique situation" in that regard.
    For those of you who are old enough to remember the serious droughts which California suffered some decades ago, back when you could turn on any "Tee-Vee Nooz" station, and you'd likely see an example of "How to save water and your lawn at the same time";
    An otherwise-clean 60-gallon plastic trash barrel (or two) was/were on the receiving end of the home's clothes-washer drain hose, and once a barrel was full, a garden-hose was draped over the edge & went to the bottom, and laid out so it was easy to start to siphon out the grey water from the 60-gallon barrel that had been filled by the clothes-washer; then a lawn-sprinkler connected to the other end of the garden-hose was moved to wherever it was needed, which was a great way to recycle the water, save the lawn from dying off, and still not waste any water by using "potable"-water to only spray on the lawn.
    In my own experience:
    After I'd returned from a 5-week outing in the summer of 2007, and when I arrived home, I realized I'd just hooked up the RV to shore-power, fresh-water, leveled it, etc., but had completely forgotten to stop at the local "RV Park", (which is tiny, but DOES have a Sanitary Dump Station with a Washout-hose), so I ran the drain-hose from the RV to the "south forty" of the property and emptied the black-tank, then the grey-tank, and noticed that even I did't smell any objectionable odors.
    I asked my neighbors the next day if they had smelled anything, and all said "Nope, not a thing."
    I know that some RV's are not "plumbed" the same way mine is, but for the majority which are, check to see where the grey-tank gets filled from, and if it's only sinks & shower, there should be nothing wrong with draining off a little bit whenever & wherever necessary, especially if you're Boondocking, or in most other places, without raising the ire of anyone else, (including Mother Nature).
    If you're in an RV Park, or near others in a semi-populated area, even "out in the boonies", always ask anyone else who may be "downwind" of you first! They may already know of a place designated for just that purpose.
    (If you're really boondocking a lot, & find your tanks are at the "Empty Me Or Else" stage, if you're located where your drain hose can reach existing vegetation that no wildlife in the area wants to eat, and you're also much lower than any streams or other clear water where wildlife may get their drinking water from, you may be OK to "unload some excess" from BOTH tanks, but always remember that water CAN and DOES flow uphill, and always avoid the chemicals that use formaldehyde & such, in favor of strictly bio-degradable ones.
    I treat my Black-tank like a miniature 'septic tank', & I just have to be sure that I only use a very small amount of "Rid-X" or similar, along with a gallon or two of clean water, after it's been dumped out, to avoid anything failing to liquify & damaging the seals on my tank-drain valves.
    One last tip: I always carry basic tools, spare drain-valves & related hardware in the RV, so when I had my Black-tank handle open and kept coming out until it was completely in my hand while the tank drained into a Sanitary Waste Dump Station, I only had to empty the Grey tank, then I replaced both valves, rinsed out the tanks with the complimentary Wash-Out Hose there, (a big "Thank You!" to the Pilot/Flying-J truckstop at LaSalle on I-80), & picked up a new pair of valves & stainless hardware at the next opportunity.
    While on the road, whether it's a fan-belt or a drain-valve, it's great to have the spare-parts you need & the tools to use them, right when you need them!
    Have a happy 2016!

  • Wanda mabe

    May 5, 2016 Reply

    Have door handle on 5th wheel will not stay on.wall not thick enough to hold handle,even if make new hole in wall,nothing in wall to hold it

    • Nikki Wynn

      May 5, 2016 Reply

      I am not sure what you are saying here or if you are trying to ask a question. Maybe try again?

  • Joe

    May 3, 2016 Reply

    Hi, new to RVing: thanks for the great info! We're already sold on the composting toilet mod. Would it be a bad i.e. smelly idea to modify the urine container so it continuously drains to the greywater tank? Just for added convenience of not emptying the urine tank often?
    THANKS!

    • Nikki Wynn

      May 3, 2016 Reply

      We have heard of other doing this and considered it ourselves. I don't think it is a bad idea at all and if you can figure out a simple way to do it...please do come back and let us know!

  • Chris

    April 19, 2016 Reply

    Dumb question... your video was great and it spoke about keeping solids away from liquids in the composting toilet... obviously, I've never used one but am interested... when going #2, you still go #1, so how do you separate the two in that instance?

    • Chris

      April 19, 2016 Reply

      Ahhh... I think I see the setup now... hence the suggestion for males to sit down!

    • Nikki Wynn

      April 19, 2016 Reply

      Not a dumb question...its one people ask all the time. The toilet is designed with the human anatomy in mind so all is lined up appropriately and goes where it should. You'll find its all really very simple...so simple it makes you think you must be missing something. ;) Traditional toilets, plumbing, sewage systems and all that are way more complicated.

  • Susan

    March 12, 2016 Reply

    As a nurse, I know that urine stinks if it sits for even a few hours.
    So doesn't the urine stink?

    Is there water or another dilutant in the water tank?
    Thanks for your time. I especially liked your " how not to install a composting toilet".

  • Dave

    March 10, 2016 Reply

    How do you handle the top half which is connected to the vent and power when you are dumping the composting tank?
    dave

  • Stacey

    February 29, 2016 Reply

    Where did you guys get the idea to use the sewer plug and board to cover the old toilet space? It sounds so easy, yet I've postponed buying a composting toilet while I've tried to sort out this install hiccup. I've been wracking my brain for the last number of months trying to figure out how I would do exactly this where our existing toilet sits. I have watched video after video, and been to tons of install blog posts, but no one has shown the plug and covering board to mount the toilet. Genius! THANK YOU!!

    Now, seriously, was this in the install notes? I feel like an idiot for not figuring this one out months ago.

  • Rhonda

    February 17, 2016 Reply

    Since the urine is diverted any way why not hook it up to just go into the black/gray tanks?

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