Saturday, February 13, 2010

Composting Toilet - Environmental Benefits

There are many pros to installing a composting toilet: money savings for the owner, improved facilities when you're replacing an old outhouse, and particularly environmental benefits. In this article, we're going to discuss a few of the ways that composting toilets make a very big and very positive impact on the world around us.

Environmental Benefit 1-Less Pollution
The disposal of human waste is one of the largest sources of pollution, water contamination, and disease on earth. In many third world countries, basic sanitation systems are not present, meaning that people are simultaneously drinking from and eliminating in the same streams and rivers. The health implications of this are obvious. The World Health Organization estimates that 80% of all disease and death in developing countries is cause by polluted water, with fecal matter being one of the major contaminants of freshwater around the world.

Even in developed countries like the United States, 20% of people are getting their tap water from private wells, which are easily contaminated by old, failing septic systems that owners don't want to spend the money to repair or replace. Septic systems should be inspected every 2 years and pumped every 3-5 years to ensure proper functioning and to prevent possible contamination of nearby wells and other groundwater. Failure to do so can lead to fecal contamination causing dysentery and even hepatitis.

Environmental Benefit 2-Use Less Water
Since many compost toilet systems are waterless, and since about 25% of the average American home's water consumption is used to flush toilets, the potential water savings from composting toilets are huge. As much as 80 to 90 gallons of water per day, or approximately 32,000 gallons per year, can be saved in a U.S. household simply by installing composting toilets. When freshwater is saved, this also means that energy is saved-the energy that would otherwise go into waste water treatment plants where waste water is made clean again.

Environmental Benefit 3-Nutrients are Recycled, Not Wasted
Did you know that over 90% of the waste we produce is actually water? When the water is removed, and salts are oxidized, only about 3% of the original waste is left. When this small 3% is properly decomposed, valuable nutrients are leftover, creating a fertilizer that is ideal for plants, trees, and shrubs. By flushing our waste down the drain, we waste an enormous amount of water simply to transport the waste to another location where those valuable nutrients will be disposed of, instead of recycled back to nature. A composting toilet, on the other hand is a completely self-sufficient system that does not waste water and uses very little energy.

The primary function of any composting toilet is to first evaporate all the water, leaving behind the very small amount of solid matter. In a properly functioning composting toilet, this solid matter need not be seen or dealt with directly by the homeowner until it is completely processed (decomposed), at which point it will look like nothing more than inoffensive garden soil. This compost can then be added to your flower garden, trees, or shrubs, where it will provide excellent growth benefits for those plants.

As anyone can see, composting toilets make a lot of sense when compared to their traditional, water-wasting counterparts. So if you are someone who is concerned about the environment, or who simply wants to save money on your water bill, and if you need to replace a toilet in the near future, it might be time to give composting toilets a little further consideration and research. Today's modern systems are clean and sleek, completely odorless, and very easy to install and maintain. By installing a composting toilet, you'll save money in the long run, and you can rest easy knowing that you're doing something really great for the environment, too.

Autor: Ellen Bell

Ellen Bell works for the Composting Toilet Store. For more information about waterless composting toilets or to request a free catalog, visit us at

Added: February 13, 2010


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