The bathroom - recycled bath and sink; second hand floor, composting toilet made from old roof timbers.

The bathroom – recycled bath and sink; second hand floor, composting toilet made from old roof timbers.

We love composting toilets. Most of the time. As three quarters of domestic water useage goes to flushing the loo, composters are an easy way to drastically reduce water consumption, and in return you get some useful compost.

As a society we have become used to our bodily waste being dealt with ”elsewhere, and there are some sound reasons for that – disease prevention for one, but the dry composting toilet provides a simple way to treat waste safely and turn it into a useful product.

Many people’s first reaction is that “It must smell”, but it really doesn’t, and once people get over the initial horror of not being able to flush, they come around to the idea.

Composting toilets can be as simple or as complex as you like, and ours are both firmly in the simple category. A seperator diverts pee into container A, and everything else ends up in container B where they are mixed with sawdust. Once full it is emptied into a composter outside. Four of those are used in rotation over a year, by which time we are left with dark brown crumbly, non-smelly compost that can be put on the trees.

The only real downside is that you have to empty them – weekly in our case, but it really isn’t bad, and

As well as the one indoors, we have an outdoor version, which replaced the old shack that was there when we arrived –


The outdoor compost loo, made from larch sawmill ‘skins’, and sporting a green wildflower roof.

One alternative to these basic ‘bucket’ type loos is the slightly more elaborate treebog, which is raised over a straw lined pit, divided into two, each half being used in turn, while the other composts down. ¬†Unless your house is on a slope, this design is probably better suited to outdoor designs.

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A two chamber treebog we built at the Quarries Farm surrounded by willow, which is only 1 year old here!

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Another treebog design built with the help of volunteers at the Quarries Farm.

We do build composting toilets for other people on occasion, so if you need some help or advice, or just want to find out a bit more, give us a shout. There are more details of some of these being built on our compost toilets page