Composting toilet for the garden: This is how an organic toilet works

Without chemistry
Composting toilet for the garden: This must be considered before use

Purchasing a composting toilet makes sense for the need in the garden

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In your (small) garden at home, no waste water may be discharged into the ground. Accordingly, the installation of a water-powered toilet is not possible. If you still want to relieve yourself in the garden, you are doubly well advised to use a composting toilet.

In contrast to a classic outhouse, the composting toilet has a decisive advantage: the excretions collected in it (i.e. faeces and urine) are processed into nutrient-rich humus and – strange as it may sound – returned to the natural nutrient cycle. In other words, our legacies can be used as plant fertilizer. This makes a composting toilet an economically and ecologically sensible alternative to a chemical toilet. This article summarizes how this works in practice and what you need to consider before using it.

How to properly use a composting toilet

Unlike a chemical toilet, the human remains are collected in a container that bark mulch or eco chips is filled. The litter primarily serves to bind odors by binding liquids. But how exactly does composting work – and how is the bio-toilet cleaned afterwards? We explain it to you.

1. Functionality

The principle of a composting toilet is easily explained: First, the excretions are collected in the collection container underneath or in a compostable trash bags collected and covered with litter – then disposed of in the garden compost (including toilet paper). Pre-composting begins during storage in the bio-toilet, but it still takes at least two years before you can reuse the finished compost in the kitchen garden. You can also add organic waste from the garden to the compost heap to speed up the process. Water, on the other hand, is more of a hindrance, so the collection point should be protected from rain. Be it through a cover (make sure there is sufficient oxygen exchange) or a shelter.

2. Cleaning

Another question deals with cleaning a composting toilet. In contrast to a conventional toilet, there is no running water, so neither a classic toilet brush nor an aggressive cleaning agent is recommended for cleaning. In fact, you can only clean the surface of the seat, for example with a clean cloth and some washing-up liquid – or you can use one disinfectant spray to combat and eliminate possible bacteria on the toilet seat.

Tip: Incidentally, any mobile camping toilet convert to a composting toilet.

3. Legal

Pathogens that are harmful to health can be found in human excretions such as faeces and urine. For this reason – according to the World Health Organization (WHO) – it is essential that you let the natural fertilizer that you “grow” on your compost rest for at least 24 months – only then can it become hygienically clean. However, by pasteurizing (i.e. heating to at least 70 degrees, for example in an oven) you can reduce the long-lasting process to two hours. From a legal point of view, the only important thing for you to know is that the exploitation of a composting toilet does not pose any problems in the home (small) garden. However, you may not use compost made from human excrement for commercial or agricultural yards. That is forbidden.

The leftovers become compost

If you are still wondering how human excrement can be turned into natural fertilizer: With the help of numerous microorganisms such as worms, bacteria, algae and fungi, the residues are decomposed and processed into fine compost.

Important to know: Alternatively, the leftovers from the composting toilet can also be disposed of in the organic waste bin if you are not interested in making hummus for the garden.

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