How Does a Compost Toilet Work?

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Last Updated on October 29, 2022

How does a compost toilet work? Are you interested to know how this is made and what this is for? If you are, then this informative guide will provide you with everything that you need to know about compost toilets. 

Knowing what compost toilets are, whether you’re going to make one now or not, is beneficial as you’re given another option when it comes to managing waste. This allows you to consider your options. So, read below to know more about them:

What is a Compost Toilet?

For those who are not familiar with what compost toilets are, they are basically just like your typical toilet. However, there are some differences as to how these toilets are made. 

To put it simply, a composting toilet or a biological or dry toilet is a sewage-treatment system that’s used to decompose human wastes, then making them into a nitrogen-rich material. As water is not needed here unlike your traditional toilet, costs are significantly reduced. 

These composting toilets decompose the waste and take the phosphorus and nitrogen content in them, which can be used locally and for a variety of uses. As these don’t use water, these compost toilets are often seen in rural areas where water is scarce. However, they’re now being used in suburban and institutional areas as well. 

For urbanized places, compost toilets are still rarely seen because of stringent health regulations. Also, the lack of space is a concern here. Despite this, more and more environmentally conscious people are becoming more interested in these toilets.

How Does a Compost Toilet Work?

Now that you’re aware of what these toilets are, it’s now time that you know how they work. In this way, you’ll be more informed and appreciative of this type of toilet.

Basically, a compost toilet simply acts as a storage and is a very straightforward type of toilet. This type of waste management mostly does the work through the process of human waste decomposition in this kind of setting. 

To put it simply, composting toilets just take advantage of the natural decomposition and evaporation process. As the waste excreted from humans are mostly made out of the water, while it’s evaporating, the air derived from this is sent to the compost toilet’s vent system, leaving you with a small amount of solid that’s left inside the compost toilet. The solid material that’s left is then processed to be used as fertilizer or other useful resources.

So, principally, a compost toilet is just like how a garden composter works, which manipulates the environment inside the chamber to transform human waste into something that’s useful. What makes this unique is that the environment inside the compost toilet is just enough to create the perfect setting – with the right mix of heat, oxygen, moisture, and organic material – to make fertilizer. 

How to Make a DIY Compost Toilet at Home?

If you want to make one at home as you’re now convinced of its benefits, it’s pretty easy to make, so you can surely make one right now as long as you prepare all of the materials needed. Here are what you need and the steps to make a compost toilet:

Materials Needed

  • Medical toilet seat
  • 2 5-gallon buckets
  • A plant pot that would fit inside the 5-gallon bucket
  • Subsoil
  • Red worms
  • Compost

Steps to Make a Compost Toilet

The steps are pretty straightforward. This is just a simple compost toilet, so you can surely make other DIYs too. However, this one is a basic and simple one that you can do:

Step 1: Place the medical toilet set in a secluded area with enough ventilation.

Step 2: Nearby, prepare the buckets. One bucket will be used for pee, and the other one will be used for poop.

Step 3: Also, place the sawdust near the area as well. After using the compost toilet, sprinkle sawdust in the buckets. 

Step 4: When the bucket is full, you can transfer the wastes, after they’re being dried out, in the compost pit that you have at home.

Benefits of a Compost Toilet

Compost toilets are easy to make, and you can even make your own DIY that’s unique as long as you’re using the basic materials needed. They’re very flexible as it’s just a very simple contraption that you can make at home. 

That’s why you’re encouraged to experiment and make of your own. With a compost toilet at home, you’ll surely get a lot of benefits, and here are some of them:

  • Affordable – These are surely an affordable alternative than the traditional toilets as they don’t use water.  
  • Positive Impact – When added at home, they give a positive impact as they help you in a lot of ways, from gardening to saving you money.
  • Space-Saver – As they don’t need a water connection, you can install them basically anywhere. 
  • Minimal Maintenance – Because you don’t have to keep the compost toilet wet, you don’t have to really keep on maintaining it, making it hassle-free.
  • Environmentally-Friendly – Compost toilets are excellent when you want to use organic fertilizer. So, because you’re not using any pesticides, you are actually saving the environment. 

How Does a Compost Toilet Work

These are some of the benefits when you’re going to install a compost toilet at home. What’s great about this is that as it’s already quite popular, if you’re not too confident making a DIY compost pit, you can always ask for professional help. They’re accessible and some are affordable too. 


What is a compost toilet?

Composting toilets are a modern innovation that allows you to use your waste as fertilizer without having to pay for an expensive septic system.

A composting toilet is a type of low-tech toilet that uses waste from the human body to create fertilizer. The process works by breaking down organic matter, such as food waste, paper, and other materials, using bacteria and other microorganisms.

They are also known as "composting toilets", "composting toilet" or "composting toilets". The composting toilets work by using the biological process to decompose organic materials and turn them into useful soil-like material. The first composting toilets were invented in the year 1787 by Thomas Potter, an American businessman.

He invented the first composting toilet in America. In this way, it is the earliest form of an ecological sanitation system. This method of converting human waste into fertilizer is commonly used in many developing countries.

Are composting toilets popular?

Composting toilets are becoming more popular, and are being used by a growing number of people. They are a simple, eco-friendly way to keep your septic tank from overflowing. These toilets collect human waste and use it as fertilizer for plants in the garden or yard. Remember that you do need a permit from the county to install a composting toilet.

Where does the poop go in a composting toilet?

It goes to a hole in the ground. If you look at any "poop" video, they'll show the end of the toilet pipe dropping into the ground. Then there's a hole in the ground and dirt or sand around it. When the toilet is full, it's just a matter of shoveling the contents into the hole.

How often do composting toilets have to be emptied?

When you first set up your composting toilet, it will take a few days for the contents of the toilet to reach their full potential. During this time, there will be lots of organic matter and some solid waste that needs to be separated out. If you are composting in the winter months, then you should empty your toilet at least once a week or whenever there is a chance of snowfall.

If you are not planning on using your composting toilet for more than a couple of weeks, then you can skip this step and continue with the rest of the instructions. However, if you are planning on composting for a long period of time, then you should empty the toilet at least once every two weeks. This will help you to break down any old material that has not been processed yet.


Now that you’re aware of what a compost toilet is and how it works, you can now install one at home. While they do have their own disadvantages, their benefits are several, making them worth it. However, it would still depend on your preferences, so do your research first before installing one at home.

However, for those who are living in an area where water is scarce and where space is minimal, this surely is a great option to take. After all, it’s an eco-friendly alternative, so you’re sure that you’re doing the right thing when you add one into your home. 

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