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With modern toilets, the focus is on minimizing water usage while also providing homeowners with an equally clean and odor-free environment. But they may not be enough to live sustainably. On the other hand, waterless toilets allow people to efficiently dispose of human waste without the need for clean water to flush or to keep odors at bay. Learn how dry toilets work and how they can help the environment.
What is a waterless toilet?
A waterless toilet is a human waste disposal system that does not use water. It is an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional flush toilets and uses biological processes or other technologies to reduce water consumption.
The most common types of waterless toilets are:
- Composting Toilets – Systems that naturally break down human waste into nutrient-rich compost that can be used to fertilize plants.
- Incineration of toilets – an alternative that incinerates human waste into sterile ashes.
- Dry flush toilets – systems that use bags that fold and seal the waste with each flush and store it in airtight bags.
Some composting toilets may require a minimal amount of water to function properly and maintain a clean environment. But we're talking low volumes - less than 0.5 liters of water per flush, which has a significant impact on overall water usage and bills compared to traditional toilets.
How do waterless toilets work?
Each type of waterless toilet uses different principles for storing and handling waste, but the concept behind these products is the same. They push the human waste into a bin where the waste is treated odorlessly and without the use of chemical products.
Let's see how each type of waterless toilet works.
composting toiletsStore human waste in a container under the seat or in a place further away from the toilet. Human waste is broken down into solids and liquids and a decomposition process begins. Depending on the type of toilet you have, the waste is broken down into fertilizer by either anaerobic or aerobic decomposition.
Some models require the use of a carbon additive such as coconut, sawdust, or peat moss. These products help create air pockets to aid in the decomposition process, while also helping to fight odors.
Depending on which system you buy, you may need to drain the tank daily, weekly, yearly, or even every few years.
Incineration toilets use electricity or natural or propane gas to incinerate human waste and turn it into sterile ash. The temperatures required to complete this process range from 970 to 1400°F.
Electric incineration toilets are designed to look like traditional toilets. The stainless steel toilet is coated with a liner that keeps the bowl clean and helps push waste into the combustion chamber. As a general guide, this system should burn the waste every 2-4 “flushes”.
It takes about an hour for the waste to turn into ash that can be safely thrown into the environment. The system includes filters for odor control, an exhaust valve and an exhaust fan for high temperature control. The entire process requires electricity, so the toilet will not work during an outage.
Gas incinerator toilets are more complex, require a source of natural gas or propane, and require regular inspection to maintain all health and safety protocols. Also, it doesn't look like a traditional toilet as it doesn't have a bowl.
The waste enters the combustion chamber via a system reminiscent of mobile toilets. When the combustion cycle starts, the opening of the combustion chamber is closed and the process can last up to 3-4 hours.
dry flush toilets
Dry flush toilets use a double-layer liner that keeps the bowl clean and makes "flushing" easier. You press a button and the mechanism rotates and pulls the liner to seal the waste inside and push it into an airtight container. As the twisted liner goes down, a new liner is pulled into the bowl.
The system requires electricity to operate and most dry flush toilets come with a battery and charging cable. Some models also include adapters to charge the battery using solar energy.
Frequently asked questions about waterless toilets
Are you interested in how waterless systems work? Here you will find some answers to the most frequently asked questions on this topic.
Does a waterless toilet smell?
No, or rather, a waterless toilet shouldn't stink. If you have one and it stinks, it means the system isn't installed properly. Another reason you notice odors is improper maintenance.
In most cases, waste is stored and processed in a closed environment, preventing odors from entering your bathroom.
How do you clean a waterless toilet?
A waterless toilet is best cleaned with eco-friendly products or vinegar and water, as chemicals can affect functionality. Depending on which system you have, you can use a toilet brush, cloths, or even a mop.
Composting toilets require special care. Therefore, you must use natural products that are compatible with the microorganisms that break down the waste and keep your waterless toilet working.
What is the average price of a waterless toilet?
Waterless toilets can cost anywhere from $500 to $700 to several thousand dollars, depending on the type of system you purchase, its capacity, and the materials used. In general, the less you spend on the product, the higher the long-term maintenance costs. So make sure you do the right calculations before making your decision.
The alternative is to build a DIY system, but that comes with health risks if you don't install all the elements properly.
Pros and cons of waterless toilets
- Save water. As much as24% of daily water consumptionThe water is produced during flushing, making toilets the largest water consumer in an American household. There are almost no toilets in the UK30% of the waterbe consumed. The bad news is that it is clean, drinking-quality water that can be put to better use.
- In some cases low maintenance. When you invest in a solid system, all you have to do is clean and empty the tank where the manure or ash is stored. With no water, there are no worries about broken pipes or leaks.
- Suitable for off-grid locations. Because they don't need to be hooked up to the sewer or septic tank, these toilets are a great choice for RVs, boats, RVs, and off-grid homes.
- Environmentally friendly. Minimal natural resources are required to make waterless toilets work - you can use green energy to power an incineration toilet. In addition, no chemical substances are used, so you can dispose of your waste with minimal impact on the environment.
- odors and pests. These systems are very effective if you keep them clean and follow the manufacturer's instructions. If you forget to press the button when the tank is full or do not dispose of the waste regularly, you risk attracting pests. In addition, strong odors are generated from your waterless toilet.
- Partly high maintenance costs. Depending on the type of waterless toilet you choose, you may need to empty the tank on a daily or weekly basis.
- Installation. Not all waterless systems are created equal and some may not be appropriate for a DIY project, regardless of your skill level. Additionally, if you decide to get a propane-powered incinerator toilet, you may need professional assistance to get the system working.
- upfront costs. Most waterless toilets are more expensive than traditional flush toilets. So expect to pay more for an eco-friendly toilet in your home.
Indoor waterless toilet vs. outdoor waterless toilet
Waterless toilet models are available for indoor and outdoor use, but not all are versatile. That's because indoor toilets have specially designed chambers that are better suited to small spaces and often require less maintenance than outdoor toilets.
Some species are also better suited to indoor use than others. For example, an electric incinerator toilet can be used successfully indoors, but a toilet that requires propane and has a large combustion chamber is better suited for outdoor use.
How to choose the right waterless toilet for your needs
There are several factors to consider when choosing the right dry toilet for your property.
- frequency of use. If you need a temporary setup, go for something that's easy to install at minimal cost.
- Mobility. If you need a waterless toilet for your RV or boat, a mobile, self-contained system is better than a complex toilet.
- Price. Calculate both upfront and long-term maintenance costs to make an informed purchasing decision.
- Installation challenges. Depending on the type of waterless toilet you choose, you may need additional support and even special third-party intervention to prevent it from malfunctioning.
- Maintenance. Some waterless toilets require minimal to no maintenance, while others require compost tanks to be emptied regularly.
- Capacity. Some toilets require you to dispose of the waste after three to four "flushes," while others can go weeks without being emptied. Depending on the size of your family, choose the right option for your home and count on people using the toilet5 times a dayAverage.
- disposal options. Composting toilets are best for homeowners who can use manure for their lawn and garden.
The 3 alternative toilet solutions from HomeBioga:
BIO-TOILETTE & HBG2
Theis an alternative to regular waste disposal. Anaerobic digestion converts human waste into cooking gas and fertilizer.
The set includes a ceramic toilet bowl, a pump, a toilet seat with a lid, a drain pipe with an aerated circuit attached, water and gas filters, a gas pipe, a biogas stove and an easy-to-install backyard biosystem. where the transformation takes place.
This toilet solution is suitable for up to three people. It can help you reduce your carbon footprint by up to 6 tons of CO2 emissions per year and save 40,000 liters of water annually. The capacity of the fermenter provides cooking gas for about an hour per day.
BIO-TOILETTE & HBG4
Thealso uses an anaerobic system to break down waste and turn it into carbon-neutral biogas for cooking. The system is easy to install, safe and environmentally friendly. It is a suitable, modern solution for off-grid housing.
This version of the product can supply up to six adults, saving up to 72,000 liters of water per year. Thanks to a larger biosystem in the backyard, this waste management system can provide cooking gas two hours a day.
HomeBiogas 4 can process human waste (up to 45 flushes per day) and food waste (12 liters per day). It helps you manage all your waste in one place, producing more cooking gas for your daily needs while creating a balanced, nutrient-rich fertilizer for your plants.
DOUBLE BIO TOILET & HBG4
Theis a double set that connects two composting toilets to one system at the same time for more flexibility. It is suitable for up to six people - about 25 flushes per day. Compared to the other versions, this solution can only process human waste.
The system can produce up to 700 liters of biogas per day (approx. 2 hours cooking time). The manure resulting from the process must be treated in a bottom basin or drainage field. Depending on local regulations, you may need to connect it to the sewer.
Waterless toilets are an efficient, clean and environmentally friendly alternative to traditional flush toilets. They require little or no water to function properly, and some models can even support large families in off-grid locations.
However, choosing the right product for your property can be challenging as there are several models available on the market - composting, incinerator and dry flush toilets being the three most popular. However, alternatives exist and new products are being developed to meet the demand for waterless toilet solutions.
Before making a purchasing decision, it's a good idea to do your homework to understand the pros and cons of each waterless toilet. That's because these drying systems don't come cheap and you want to make sure you're getting the best value for your money.
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Small house, big life
At HomeBiogas we take responsibility for our planet together with our customers. They are visionaries, change makers and inspirational people creating a positive future for all of us. We are thankful for our wonderfully brave customers and proud to share their stories.
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