When Nature Calls, Compost It!


When I talk to people about tiny homes there is one question that I always get.  What about going to the bathroom?  People know that most tiny houses are portable and cannot always be hooked up to plumbing, so they want to know, where does it go?  I know some of you are picturing Cousin Eddie emptying out the sewer tank from his RV right now as you read this, but it’s not that bad.  

If your tiny house is to be mobile and not fixed to an existing sewer source, you will want to purchase a composting toilet for your home.  For the purpose of this post, I am going to discuss the Nature’s Head Composting Toilet as this is the one I know most about.  As anything we discuss on this blog, do your research and find out what product is best for your needs.

First, let’s discuss what you’re wanting to ask me right now.  Will a composting toilet stink up my house?  The answer is no.  What?  This particular brand of composting toilet has two chambers for waste.  One for liquid waste, and the other for solid.  Because the liquid waste doesn’t mix with the solid waste, the solid waste stays dry and does not stink as bad.  In addition, the toilet has a 12v fan that constantly aerates the solid waste to dry it out.  Once finished with your business, you use the hand crank on the side to mix the solid waste with peat moss that you put in the tank before its first use.

To make sure the liquid waste does not stink, you will have to empty that chamber every couple of days.  I have read that it helps reduce odor if you add a cup of white vinegar to the chamber after you empty it.  Also, it has been suggested to add a spoonful of sugar to the chamber once a day to help in fighting odor.

Ok, now the other question you are thinking right now.  What about emptying the solid chamber, how bad is that?  It’s actually quite easy.  This particular composting toilet is rated for 90 uses before you must empty the solids chamber.  This will depend upon how many people are using the toilet of course.  When you do empty the chamber, the waste will look like dirt and not smell.

Use a trash bag to empty the solid waste, and throw it in the dumpster.  If you use a biodegradable trash bag, the bag and contents will degrade with no waste filling up the landfill.  

Another option is to empty your waste into a compost tumbler with food scraps, paper, dried leaves, peat moss, etc.   If you chose this option, make sure you turn your compost tumbler once a day to assure proper breakdown.  Once broken down enough, you can use the compost on your lawn or flower bed. 

For liquid waste, flush it down a toilet at a rest stop or campground.  Another option is to dilute it with water and use it on your lawn to add nitrogen.

As you can see, the one thing that most people question when it comes to tiny homes is really not that big of a deal.  My advice is to start looking at the many options of compost toilets that are out there and see which one fits your needs the best.  

Until next time, live tiny!

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