Composting Toilet: What is it and Why you need one

Composting Toilet: What is it and Why you need one

Welcome to Everything You Didn’t Know You Wanted To Know About Composting Toilets guide.

If you’ve watched our videos on YouTube or elsewhere and are just looking for the WYNNS Natures Head Discount, here it is:

Larry, the owner of Nature’s Head, has offered up a special WYNNS discount (will be applied at checkout).  This link ensures your price is cheaper than ordering from Amazon plus, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you’re supporting a small business directly.



Toilets get used every single day, multiple times a day.  So, it’s kinda important to make sure that one, they work and two, it’s a pleasant experience.

We’ve been traveling full-time for 10 years (Van, RV & Sailboat) and we’ve had a lot of experience with different types of toilets (saltwater & freshwater).

Our biggest takeaway…BLACK TANKS STINK!  Especially if you flush with saltwater. I don’t mean a slightly unpleasant smell, I mean clear a room kinda funk.

The only thing worse than a black tank is a clogged toilet with a full black tank.  If you’ve ever had to rebuild a pump, macerator, or unclog a hose then you know exactly what kind of a smelly pain in the arse we’re talking about.

We’ve been using our composting toilet since June 2013, and we think anyone with a boat, van, RV, or tiny house should consider one.  Here is why.


  1. No water used, no plumbing needed
  2. NO MORE BLACK TANK (no more smell, no pump-outs, saves weight & space)
  3. Durable construction that has stood the test of time (3 RV’s and now 4 years on a sailboat)
  4. Simple to use, no filters or liners needed
  5. Easy to assemble/disassemble
  6. Completely self-contained and portable
  7. U.S Coast Guard Approved Type III marine head (meets all “No Discharge” regulations)

Watch this video series to see our Composting Toilet in action and get answers to the all-important questions.  What is it, how does it work, does it smell, how often do you dump it, where do you dump it…

For those who prefer to read vs watch, this is for you…


A dry composting toilet uses no water, so there is no plumbing involved, no chemicals needed, no flushing, it’s completely natural.  The toilet is like a mini-ecosystem that separates the liquids (the pee) and the solids (the poo) so the solids can convert into humus (not hummus, the dip made from chickpeas).  Returning humus to the earth has an ecological benefit no different than adding animal manure purchased from a landscaping store. The toilet has a trap door that leads into the lower tank (aka compost area) and the liquids are directed to the front tank.  This keeps the two from mixing so you don’t get the chemical reaction that creates the sewage smell (ya know that smell that seems to linger in the bathroom for 30 minutes after someone has left their deposit).


The compost dumping schedule depends on how many times you go #2 in a day, how much toilet paper you use after going, and how many people are in your home. For us, we dump the solids every 3 weeks or so (sooner is better than later, don’t overfill the compost bin or the handle gets hard to turn). You can empty the solids tank in a composting bin to be used for fertilizing ornamental plants (some campgrounds/marinas have compost piles if you ask), if a compost pile isn’t available you can bury the solids (just like back country camping) or simply put the solids into a composting bag and throw it into the trash (it will continue to compost in the bag and isn’t considered a biohazard).  Boaters may empty their solids overboard if they are the proper distance offshore.  Always check local laws and regulations.

The liquids can be diluted and sprinkled on the ground, poured down a sewer or for boaters emptied overboard. The typical dump schedule for us (2 people with full-time use) is every 3-4 days for the liquid tank.


Still to this day, we haven’t another toilet we think is a better solution than Natures Head.  There are several other options out there (especially for homes) but for the quality build, size of our bathroom and simplicity of use, we like Natures Head.


It saves a lot of water, space and energy.  This is a HUGE deal when you have limited water.  No more using your freshwater for flushing!  The American Water Works Association Research Foundation finds that over 30 percent of household water used is just for flushing toilets.

We have all been taught the flush-and-forget system:  We don’t see where it goes and we don’t have to deal with it (you know “out of sight, out of mind”).  Wastewater treatment is extremely energy-intensive and unnecessary.  The world as a whole shouldn’t continue using perfectly good drinking water to flush away our waste.


Yes, you read it right, it smells less than a regular toilet and the smell is way less offensive while ‘going’.  When the solids and liquids are separate they don’t create that typical sewage smell that lingers on for hours.  Inside the solids tank is peat moss or coconut COIR (we use coco COIR because it’s more sustainable and the bricks are small and lightweight too store), it smells like dirt and is reminiscent of walking into your favorite gardening store. There’s also a fan inside the tank that directs the air, along with the smells outside, while keeping the moisture down inside the solid tank.


If you are anything like us, this should be reason enough to switch your toilet!  Having to haul out that long hose, put on your rubber gloves, hold your breath, open the hatch and watch as the giant black snake gurgles and wiggles with sludge then slowly but surely comes to a halt; no thank you!   Emptying a bucket of what looks and smells like dirt is way…way better!  Plus, you don’t have to worry about your black tank filling up before you are ready to move along (pun intended).

More Storage, Less Weight

You can remove that black tank and free up space or even replace it with a second fresh tank.  If you’re an RV’er, you can very quickly and easily combine your grey and black tank for more used water storage.


We’ve been using animal poo (like cow patties) for a long time as manure for gardens because of the benefits…so why not use ours!?!  There is an entire book dedicated to the subject called The Humanure Handbook: A Guide to Composting Human Manure.  And let’s not forget the liquids!  Ammonia in pee has tons of great nitrogen (the stuff in fertilizers) and can be used for landscapes, fuel, and fiber.  Its liquid gold, or at least according to this book, Liquid Gold: The Lore and Logic of Using Urine to Grow Plants. Both of these books make for great bathroom reading material 🙂


Because there is no plumbing, only one vent hose to run outside, and one tiny fan, there isn’t much to install.  Just make sure you watch Jason’s How Not To Install a Composting Toilet before you get started.


So, are you ready to give up your flush toilet yet?  It’s a crazy subject and a big change in how you think about going.  Hey, it took us over two years to initiallyy make the plunge so if you aren’t there yet, it’s ok.

Larry, the owner of Nature’s Head, has offered up a special WYNNS discount (will be applied at checkout).  This link ensures your price is cheaper than ordering from Amazon plus, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you’re supporting a small business directly.


A big advantage of ordering direct, vs Amazon or elsewhere online, is to make sure you get the options you need for your specific installation. Do you need the spider handle? Do you need a solar fan? Do you need spare parts?  The team at Natures Head can help guide you based on your space/needs.


Disclaimer:  While we do earn a few pennies if you purchase through our affiliate link for Natures Head, we are not paid or sponsored by Natures Head and all of our opinions are our own.