Composting Toilets

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  • Hi, everyfolk,
    Here's my first thread.
    Flushed with the joy of entering UKHippy Forums, I thought I get to the bottom of a technical prob. Do self-composting toilets stink? Or what can be done about it? Being a newbie, I've looked through other threads in this Forum to see if I'm wasting anyone's time but can't find any discussions. The folk here in Spain are getting fed up with all the posh MHs making their way across country and emptying out their portapotties by the roadside. I normally use a folding shovel if I find myself caught short in the "fifth pine" as they call the boondocks here. What does the collective wisdom know of them?

  • Hello
    Yeah compost toilets are great!
    We have one, they dont smell as long as you follow the rules of no water down it and put sawdust onto of shite then no they wont smell at all.
    If theres people funny about pissing outside then you can easily make another toilet ofr pissing in and use straw bales underneath to soak up piss

    Hope that helped

  • Thanks muchly, Wiggy. Did you build it yourself, barter, steal, borrow or buy it?

  • It was built ourselfs.
    Using wood to make the base, sort of like a shed type thing, good for the steps going up - think we have 5
    And a old portaloo stuck (nailed) ontop.
    Ohh we got some things - cant remember what they are called but like giant steaks (not the meat kind) to make sure it sat in the ground

    I dunno if you live on some land but you will need to ask the owners permission, you wouldnt have to apply for any planning on it as the structure isnt set! So it can be easily ripped down!

    Anything else

  • Hi Wiggy,
    Sorry, I was so caught up in making bad puns, I forgot to make it clear that it's going to be inside the van I'm converting. As it would be in an enclosed space, and we would have to share our lives with it as we truck around, a smelly loo would be a bad companion.
    Biut I really appreciate your help and advice as I know nothing about it. In Japan, we had an enormous pit under the house, which was emptied once a month. That had a very penetrating odour.
    I have seen an emergency portable loo which had two compartments, one for liquid and one for solid and confirms what you recommended about separating the two.
    I'd really like to make my new nomadic dwelling as ecological as possible and I'm looking at all aspects of its design before I start.
    Thanks for your help and keep on trucking.

  • Hi Flibbertigibbet,
    I don't know if it's such a bad idea; worms are going to be my dinner companions one day hopefully not too soon and I'll be the menu.

  • Hey again, i must admit putting on in a van your converting sounded odd but having thought about it - taht might work.
    As long as you make it 100% secure, and make sure NO water goes down it shouldnt be a problem.
    If i were you i would put a piss catcher in and make that go outside the van - just incase. You really dont wanna be driving around with a load of piss and shit sloshing around

  • Quote from wiggy

    Yeah compost toilets are great!
    We have one, they dont smell as long as you follow the rules of no water down it and put sawdust onto of shite then no they wont smell at all.
    If theres people funny about pissing outside then you can easily make another toilet ofr pissing in and use straw bales underneath to soak up piss

    Hope that helped

    Yeah what wiggy says.
    I have used them on more than one occasions and they are better than those festy type toilets.:thumbup:

  • Hi yoursinuk,
    Yep, I have seen a very expensive self-composting loo made by a company called Sun-Mar in the States and do I really want to spend a grand on a place to crap?
    I really want to get out of the greedy profiteering world of housing. In Spain, we have the equivalents of the HoorayHenrys including ex-pat Brits, gloating about the meteoric rise of their house-values, or landlords cynically exploiting the defencelessness of the homeless.
    One way is to go on the road in a MH and lead a nomadic lifestyle. But I don't want to introduce another metal coffin as the renowned philosopher Homer J.Simpson calls them onto the planet to add more belching fumes to our already choking planet. So I'm looking to reduce the environmental tire-track (footprint?) of any vehicle I permanently live in as much as I can. One way will be to have a self-composting toilet. So the forum is the place to seek solutions others may have found to disposing of waste.
    My father-in-law in Norway built his summer house on a rock which he dynamited flat on top. He had a self-composting toilet and the methane? exited via the flag-pole.
    Does everyone use a chemical toilet which they offload at a campsite or by the side of the road? There must be alternatives.

  • o.k. Elsan (i think is them ) do a blue chemical so I paid more and bought the green one for more money as the bottle says no chemicals and you can empty onto grass.foolishly I beleived this .....I can smell my porta potti whilst drivign around and when I emptied it onto north yorkshire moors I would not want to have been the person that came across whilst walking their dog

    also there is an eco brand of crystals you can use but I have been told they don't work very well however I have not tried them myself

  • I always find a public toilet to empty mine in, I never use campsites I always wildcamp, but I will never go to wilcamp on the north yorkshire moors ever agian. :vomit:

  • Hi everyfolk,
    My investigations in Cyberspace have brought forth the EcoJohn Basic at $1000 and measuring 2' by 2' by 3' deep. Well, I could always sleep outside to give it room.
    Or I could bite the bullet and splash out on a Sun-Mar Mobile:
    It's designed for use in violent squalls so I'll be alright crossing the Channel.
    There are cheaper alternatives made by a Swedish company called Separett:
    Anyway, the outcome of all this is I can at last fill out the section on bad habits in My UKHippy profile as: "A propensity to make bad puns."
    Peace & love,

  • Hi everyfolk,
    Just found a contribution from Starcatkel in the Planet Earth forum
    where she gives a link to the "Shit Box"
    I'm sure you could replicate the cardboard box with one made of wood and then seal it so there is no leakage of odour. Then all you've got to do is train yourself not to piss at the same time. Or you could incorporate two funnels strategically placed. A hose leading to tank for the urine which is full of good things and when diluted 8 parts to 1 can be sprayed onto the garden.
    If you had a big poncho, you could happily and discreetly use it in public view- How many of us have trekked through crowds of prone bodies in festival audiences to relieve ourselves? I remember those scary open latrines at the early festivals that tripped-out folk fell into. I was constipated for a week at the IOW festival and that's weird feeling on acid, I can tell you.,,,Jimi Hendrix on psychedelic haemorrhoids is like sitting on the Alps.:eek:
    So to save space, you fold it away. Then I would need advice on whether you could add shit to a kitchen scraps composting box. The Chinese certainly do and they call it "night soil" and quite happily spread the finished product over their vegetable patches.
    The debate continues...
    Peace n' love,

  • The 'Thunderbox Collective' do a brilliant pee separator in fibreglass which actually does work, even if you forget to concentrate on where the wee should be going, if you see what I mean. They aren't cheap, but we are about to fit them to the compost loos at home.
    Otherwise, spade for me on the road, but I shall follow this thread with interest!

    "All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well" Mother Julian of Norwich

  • Hi GyroLady,
    Many thanks for your help. I've just googled "Thunderbox Collective" and found by chance an Australian company called Jimmy's Thunderbox that make 2 interesting camping accessories, a portable toilet with a wooden seat (you can paint your own design on) and a camp shower. The toilet retails at around
    £40 with 6 degradable bags at about £6 a pack; it can used over a 20" deep hole (they advise) or into a bucket. Check out:
    I also went to what I suppose is the Thunderbox Collective's website at but at a cursory glance I couldn't see anything about the pee separator. Anyway, it will all add to our collective wisdom on composting and portable toilets.

  • Have you checked out SOG systems available for Thetford toilets? Its basically an addition that creates an airflow so that the contents naturally decompose without any chemicals. Due to the lack of chemicals its not so bad putting it in a hole when you do eventually find a quiet bit of woodland.

    Not sure it it will fit your needs but it is an eco friendly way of having an onboard toilet. The problem with composting loo's is that you need to really have space to store a years worth of poo once you have finished with it...

  • Many thanks, crap muppet. I will do a little more research into what you recommend. It could be just what I'm looking for.

  • No problem. Prices for it seem to be cheaper in Germany.

    I would suggest how to do a DIY one but I don't know enough about how it works - if you can find a sales brochure with pictures I'm guessing it doesn't contain much more than a bit of piping, a 12v computer fan linked to a switch and a carbon scrubber.

    I've heard that the smell can be a bit ripe but I can't see how it can be worse than the ammonia that you get with the chemical additives. You also have the added benefit that at least everything will be liquid (The bacterial decomposition does this very quickly - the traditional chemicals stop it dead) so you won't have to worry about clearing blockages / shaking it out.

  • its not really a composting loo though is it?its just a cardboard version of the tried and tested bucket/binliner & elastic band combination,much simpler and not likely to colapse :D

  • Very true Dr Loopi,
    By the way, a warm welcome to the community. I'm sure we will all be "stealth camping" one day ourselves (and I certainly intend to) so how we dispose of our waste is very important.
    There seem to be two methods: one is a temporary storage facility so we can go at our convenience instead of having to venture forth to find a shrub to hide behind. We then take what accumulates to a composting loo in a back garden or or dig a hole and bury it. How airtight it can be made will determine probably how fragrant a part of your living area it is.
    The second would to "splash out" on a composting loo designed for MobileHomers, touring Caravanners and suchlike but they cost at least
    What we are trying to investigate is an intermediate version which odorlessly digests our waste with worms or bacteria but in a small portable container so we can then use them as a fixture within our vans, buses, converted ambulances, barges etc.
    All contributions to the communal wisdom would be most welcome.