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Old 13-11-2009, 16:08   #1
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Composting Toilets

Had a search but as I lack Gords search skills I may have missed something, aim me if I have.

I want a composting toilet, not for my boat but a project my Daughter has dragged me in on. A completely and totally self contained little house made from renewable resources and which can be recycled.

Also been on a couple of yachts recently which have fitted them as a way of getting around having to fit holding tanks. Quite clever I think.

Who's got one, who knows about them and what should I be looking for and/or staying away from?

Dare I say it's been a bit of a 'shit' trying to find out good info on them. Yeah a bit limp but it is early and pre-lots of coffee
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Old 13-11-2009, 23:59   #2
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Nature's Head

Air Head Dry Toilet: Marine Composting Toilets - Environmentally Friendly Marine Composting Toilet System

Composting Toilets By Sun-Mar - The Environmental Solution

I am very interested in these myself!
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Old 14-11-2009, 00:07   #3
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Seen the Sun-Mar but not the other 2, very interesting Thanks Sara.

I quite like the Sun-Mar but then this one I'm after now is not for a boat so the extra size isn't quite as critical.

You looking for a boat or some boring land based plan like me?
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Old 14-11-2009, 03:13   #4
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We have a natural composting toilet. Poop on the foredeck



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Old 14-11-2009, 03:18   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GMac View Post
I want a composting toilet, not for my boat but a project my Daughter has dragged me in on. A completely and totally self contained little house made from renewable resources and which can be recycled.
Option 4 -- Build your own using/modifying plans by one of our members, Brent Swain. I just had the book shipped but haven't gotten home to take a look at it yet.

I suppose the important first point to work is do you want one that composts the material together or one that would be more properly called a desiccating toilet?
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Old 14-11-2009, 06:36   #6
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Do a search for "Mother Earth News" type in composting toilets in the search block, you will find pages and pages of info. The site is U.S. based but has loads of info on it.

John
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Old 18-11-2009, 10:16   #7
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I'm almost finished installing an "Airhead" in my Tartan 30 .... I asked Geoff at Airhead if he could modify the design to incorporate a valve and foot pump so the urine could additionally either be pumped overboard or into a holding tank (which he gladly did at minimal cost) .... that way if I'm at a berth or a No Discharge Zone (NDZ) the urine can accumulate and be dumped later .... and I won't have to empty the collection bottle as often, either.

The unit is very high quality and Geoff is very friendly and accomodating. Can't say enough good about him and his product!

Air Head Dry Toilet: Marine Composting Toilets - Environmentally Friendly Marine Composting Toilet System
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Old 19-11-2009, 09:18   #8
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I'm almost finished installing an "Airhead" in my Tartan 30 .... I asked Geoff at Airhead if he could modify the design to incorporate a valve and foot pump so the urine could additionally either be pumped overboard or into a holding tank (which he gladly did at minimal cost) .... that way if I'm at a berth or a No Discharge Zone (NDZ) the urine can accumulate and be dumped later .... and I won't have to empty the collection bottle as often, either.

The unit is very high quality and Geoff is very friendly and accomodating. Can't say enough good about him and his product!

Air Head Dry Toilet: Marine Composting Toilets - Environmentally Friendly Marine Composting Toilet System
Key term here is "almost finished" I think the board will be eagerly awaiting a report from you as to whether or not this whole thing is as advertised. Thanks

Da Mule.
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Old 20-11-2009, 19:34   #9
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Option 4 -- Build your own using/modifying plans by one of our members, Brent Swain. I just had the book shipped but haven't gotten home to take a look at it yet.

I suppose the important first point to work is do you want one that composts the material together or one that would be more properly called a desiccating toilet?
Love to but as D1 (daughter No 1) has decided to make it her new dwelling... either that or her mum has decided booting her out there so she doesn't have to look at the teenage disaster zone called her bedroom. So there is the issue of 14yo old girls and what they will or won't go near for no apparent good reason or just cause 'I'm not using 'that'' to contend with.

Way back in the day I used to be a tad pre-occupied in chasing and trying to nab teenage girls, with dodgy intentions being a teenage bloke. Today if find them somewhat scary and spend my days trying to get away from them
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Old 21-11-2009, 15:12   #10
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Hey all,

We have an Airhead in our W32 and really like it. We pulled out an old WC Skipper head and holding system and replaced it with the composter and wouldn't go back. It's smell-free, easy to maintain, and cleared up two areas making them dry, nice storage places. Further, I am going to remove and fill patch holes for three seacocks.





It composts "stuff" in about two months and will hold about 80 #2 uses. If you live aboard and use it every day, math says it won't compost quick enough, so you should buy or make a second "holding" unit. We have a 5-gal bucket with a watertight, resealable lid that we can transfer the contents into when it's full, but not ready to dump. So far though, if it gets full before it's ready, we've just dumped it while offshore and all is well.

When I first got the Airhead, I thought "Hah, I could've built this!" as much of the stuff is straight from Geoff's local Ace Hardware. However, the bowl, lid, container, etc, are all custom cast and it'd've been a PITA (probably literally) to make it. It was worth the $ to us.

As for the urine - that can be a problem. Living onboard in an anchorage or special area and having to dump the jug every two or three days would require going ashore and finding a place (toilets are usually easy to find) and it's just liquid. I do suggest either getting a second urine tank or rigging a way to transfer the contents without removing the tank. No one wants to get up in the middle of the night to pee and find the tank full, necessitating removing it, dumping, and replacing, so a second one ready to switch is nice. A little foot pump in an easy to move tank is a good idea, too.

Hope this helps!
Aaron N.

ps - I just realized that your project is not for a boat, but I'm going to leave the info for anyone else interested.
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Old 21-11-2009, 18:57   #11
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that is totally helpful Aaron. I had been wondering about liveaboard use, year round when you don't have the suggested *dormant season* to allow it to finish and dump. It sounds as if once a month, or so, you would empty it into the spare composting bucket, if you weren't cruising and had an off shore opportunity to dump. You mention having an airtight lid for the second bucket. Is this ok (none of the ventilation required in the main system to keep the aerobic decomposing) or would the secondary bucket need to be vented once you had it filled and stored to allow it to complete the composting cycle?

Do you collect TP for separate disposal of does it go into the unit?

I would LOVE a picture of your lovely installation with the lid up. I can't really see in the tiny pics on the website how the inside is arranged. A brief, not too graphic explanation of how the wet gets funneled to the forward tank and the solids get sent to the main composting tank would be great.

As far as the emptying of the holding tank for the wet goes, while I know the letter of the law requires that it be treated with the same caution as solid waste, but biologically urine is sterile, does not carry disease and is mostly salt and water. It would not affect the water quality of the most pristine shore if you were to just pour it overboard.
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Old 21-11-2009, 19:28   #12
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Sara,

Did you finally decide what to do about your head?
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Old 21-11-2009, 20:14   #13
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Air Head was a great replacement for the wet system. Installed after I took note of Aaron's installation and have eliminated all stops at pumpouts. Yes, urine is sterile, but has good nitrogen content, so onto the garden it goes, and into the garden goes the compost. Removing the holding tank and what seemed a mile of heavy duty hose and valves has left a whole lot more room for storing "stuff". Like I needed room for more stuff---takes an hour sometimes to find some of the "stuff" I have now! Oh yes, and Geoff is very helpful and extremely cooperative.
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Old 21-11-2009, 20:29   #14
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Sara,

Did you finally decide what to do about your head?
I seem to not... have a head, at this point, to decide about. So this has become an intellectual exercise for me for now.

I think that when I get to having an actual head again I will be going with the composting system. It just makes sense to me.
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Old 22-11-2009, 18:32   #15
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that is totally helpful Aaron. I had been wondering about liveaboard use, year round when you don't have the suggested *dormant season* to allow it to finish and dump. It sounds as if once a month, or so, you would empty it into the spare composting bucket, if you weren't cruising and had an off shore opportunity to dump. You mention having an airtight lid for the second bucket. Is this ok (none of the ventilation required in the main system to keep the aerobic decomposing) or would the secondary bucket need to be vented once you had it filled and stored to allow it to complete the composting cycle?

Do you collect TP for separate disposal of does it go into the unit?

I would LOVE a picture of your lovely installation with the lid up. I can't really see in the tiny pics on the website how the inside is arranged. A brief, not too graphic explanation of how the wet gets funneled to the forward tank and the solids get sent to the main composting tank would be great.

As far as the emptying of the holding tank for the wet goes, while I know the letter of the law requires that it be treated with the same caution as solid waste, but biologically urine is sterile, does not carry disease and is mostly salt and water. It would not affect the water quality of the most pristine shore if you were to just pour it overboard.
Here are pictures with the AirHead closed, Open and Ready for use. Anatomically we are designed to urinate forward and defecate aft, as it were. The two holes forward are for an obvious purpose. Solids are deposited in a coffee filter placed over the "hatch" and this serves to prevent solids attachment to the toilet unit itself. A handle opens the trap door and the deposit falls into the pit which contains damp peat moss. A turn of the handle mixes the treasure into the batch already in the pit.

Males should probably be cautioned to urinate in the seated position because for many, in a moving sailboat the toilet is a moving target and of course now the target is even smaller, being the two forward holes. Many males don't have the great aim they think they have. Your AirHead should not be used for target practice.

Hope this helps.

Ralph
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