The beginning of March 2020 in Australia has seen a crisis - a toilet paper crisis. The coronavirus (COVID-19) has brought on mass panic and hoarding and for some reason, good ol’ TP is the hottest item.
As always, we would like to use this as an opportunity to talk about compost.
Specifically compost toilets. If you didn’t know they were a thing, now you do, and if you already did then you might have some interesting ideas about them.
Human waste (you know what we’re talking about) is something that literally every single person in the world “produces”. Compost toilets are one of the absolute best ways to manage it, no matter how much toilet paper you’re hoarding.
First of all, what are they? There are so many different types of composting toilets, featuring all sorts of evaporation, piping and monitoring systems, but what they all have in common is using the composting process on human waste.
You do your business as usual but instead of flushing, you throw in a scoop of “bulking agent” to cover things up, absorb liquid and aerate the waste. This agent could be sawdust, peat moss, coconut fibres or any other similar materials. Evaporation reduces the size over time, meaning you can go months and sometimes years before needing to remove the composted material, which can then be used as a natural fertiliser.
Despite the fact that composting toilets are a simple, easy way to return human waste into the soil, replenish its health and save water, there are a lot of myths that give them a pretty bad reputation.
The biggest is that they smell which is definitely not true. Properly designed systems are well-ventilated, meaning that any odours not absorbed by the bulking agent will be aerated away. People typically also think they’re difficult to use and not for their house. This couldn’t be further from the truth either, actually being the easiest option out of traditional septic and flush alternatives.
The benefits over other toilet types don’t stop there. The fact that they don’t need to be connected to plumbing or water means they’re not just easier to install, they are insanely cheaper. For developing countries with little to no sanitation infrastructure, this is an absolute game-changer.
Another massive perk of composting toilets is the end-product. Like with all kinds of compost, recycled human waste is actually a super valuable material and it’s getting flushed down the drain (literally!). Once your compost toilet vessel is full, you’ve got an entire barrel of the stuff!
Now, it’s going to be pretty tricky transitioning to composting toilets in developed countries - especially seeing how attached we are to our toilet paper - but developing ones are a different story. The affordability of this option means that we can achieve not only our global sanitation goals but provide a source of income to countless impoverished people.
Whether or not you're a TP hoarder, compost toilets are for everyone and where there's compost, there's a place for our Monty. Don't know what we're talking about? Find out more about Monty here and on our socials - Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.