Whether camping, living or Rving full time, one of the biggest questions I hear is what kind of off grid toilet options there are.
A lot of people have this mindset that off grid living means cutting out on electricity bills, planting your own food, tending your own garden.
But, no, that’s not all there is to it.
Part of off grid living is having an off grid shower and toilet.
A number of people might think that a better way to deal with your comfort room needs is to have normal toilets at home.
But, for a tiny home, things could be different—a fun kind of different.
The best thing about off grid toilets is that they are economical toilets.
These toilets work in a different manner as regular toilets do, but still, get the job done.
Check out my other posts on living off grid:
A Quick History
Two engineers from Duke University reported the results from the first large-scale, real-world field trials of the critical components of their off grid sanitation system.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been sponsoring numerous efforts for small-scale sanitation systems due to the unsafe handling of sanitary wastes for quite a long time.
Some things could be done to improve their nutrient removal processes, yet, the system’s components were able to last longer than expected.
According to Brian Hawkins, a research Scientist from Duke University, the first step is to separate liquid and solid waste.
This is where tissue papers came to sabotage the picture.
In South Africa, the results were positive.
However, in most parts of the United States where tissue wiping is used, the wet tissue papers might have gotten in the way of the study.
The study wasn’t to be considered successful unless it could remove pathogens from human waste and get resources such as energy, clean water, and nutrients back.
They also had the goal to do it off grid, without any power source or water system connected.
They then proceeded to set up a prototype waste treatment system in neighboring urban areas, where positive results were collected.
And, after testing the liquid treatment system in large areas, things started to work pretty well.
Together with local partners in India, the support from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation succeeded.
Off Grid Toilets
This off grid sanitation system needs high temperatures to do its job.
With this heat, it evaporates the fecal matter and dries it up, throwing it outdoors.
When it is as dry as dust, it can be thrown out or placed under your compost pile.
However, when it is placed under a compost pile, it is not advisable for this pile to be used for the garden since it is already considered a hazardous waste, and might harm the soil.
This toilet is ideal for tiny houses, except for a house that has a limited power source.
The good news about this type of toilet is that it has no smell!
This is a great toilet option for those who hate the sight or smell, or just the thought of having to deal with feces.
This kind of toilet system needs more power, so a house with an off grid power system might benefit from this.
If you have solar panels, then you could also make use of the solar power that they collect to run this.
However, one of the negative things about this kind of toilet is that it can lead to poor sanitation.
Because it can be costly to keep on buying a new cartridge, you might be tempted to not flush toilets every time you use them, so it can lead to a bad smell.
This kind of toilet can be seen in some off grid cabins.
Just like its name, it is simply a bucket with a toilet seat attached to it.
This is a low cost toilet which makes it great for off grid living.
When you want to use this, make sure to find a spot that you can use as the dumping site.
Make sure that it is far away from any water sources.
And, make sure you are comfortable with the idea that you will have to throw your own waste.
It’s one for easy cleaning, right?
Lastly, before you decide on using this type of toilet, ask around your local area about the laws.
Some parts of the United States and South Africa are very keen on these things.
While using bucket toilets means that you have to transfer your poop to another area, using pit toilets means that you poop in that “other area”.
With pit toilets, a deep hole is dug underground where biological waste, both liquid and solid, is introduced.
Bacteria, molds, earthworms, and other things drawn to it underground are what help decompose the compost pile at the base.
Composting toilets have a different kind of toilet system.
While traditional toilets are attached to a sewer system, these toilets are self-run.
They don’t need any water resources.
This is why they are also called compost toilets.
While the regular toilets use a septic system and are connected to a septic tank, these waterless toilets have a trap door that connects to a holding tank where all the fecal matter goes, and these are kept as compost materials.
These toilets are also called evaporative toilets.
Most tanks that hold solid waste have some peat moss added to them.
The liquid waste goes to another tank.
This process is done in order that liquid and solid waste don’t mix and make a foul odor.
When the holding tanks are full or whenever you feel like it’s time to transfer the waste deposited (usually takes up to 2 or 3 weeks), you can transfer the solid waste to a compost pile, and start the composting process.
The thing about human waste is, it smells.
But, when it dries up, its smell goes away.
With this simple background knowledge about the types of off grid toilets, let’s see some of the best composting toilets we can choose from.
Stansport Portable Toilet
Compared to the original composting toilets, the Stansport portable toilet is a more comfortable approach to a compost toilet.
This toilet needs to be lined with disposable composting bags that will be thrown out after use.
As comfortable as it is, it might not be your ideal thought to make trips to the commode every after you do a #2.
It is perfect for off grid cabins and RV trips. However, it is not ideal for full-time use, but it’s great for temporary use.
These kinds of toilets resemble the usual flush toilets.
This compost toilet is one of the easiest compost toilets to use and is the best option for homes using an off grid power source.
The Separett Pee is another product from the same brand that has been designed to handle urine.
Toilets from Separett Villa have urine inverters to make sure that urine and feces are properly separated.
Just like Separett Villa, Nature’s head has been known to offer quality compost toilets.
They have commercial models that have small space sanitation systems.
These have been designed for RVs and boats, hence the small size.
But they can be seen in homes now, too.
You can get the compost toilet with a standard handle or a spider handle, which might be more efficient as it takes up less room.
Nature’s head mushroom ventilator is usually installed when setting up in an RV or a boat.
If you’re looking for a high capacity composting toilet, look no more.
The Sun-Mar Centrex 3000 NE might just be what you’re looking for.
This unit is easy to install. All you have to do is attach it to your flush toilet.
When in full-time use, you only need to empty the unit every few months, and for seasonal use, you can empty it once or twice a year.
Sun-Mar’s new GTG toilet is a must-try, too.
It’s their smallest and most economical toilet.
Cinderella Eco Group
Cinderella Eco Group’s latest concept is called the waterless incineration toilet Cinderella Comfort.
It is loved for being eco-friendly, and being easy to use.
Experience complete Cinderella comfort with this new toilet.
It also has an LCD monitor that keeps you updated as to how the processing of the toilet waste is going.
Another product from the Cinderella Eco Group is the complete Cinderella gas. It is a waterless incinerating toilet that burns toilet waste at high temperatures.
You can also find maintenance kits, guides to a complete installation for off grid toilets, samples of finished products, and installation kits consisting of pipes here.