Green Toilet Tips and Tricks

Green Toilet

Green Toilet Tips and Tricks

Keep your green toilet warm.

In order for a green toilet to work correctly you must make sure that the environment in the toilet is warm enough to be conducive to the growth of bacteria.  If the toilet temperature drops below 70°F, then the bacterial activity will slow down and even go into hibernation.  This means that the waste will not compost as quickly as you would like it to.  Some green toilets have a small energy efficient heater that occasionally runs to help to maintain the proper temperature.   The amount of energy required by the heater is low enough that solar cells, or some other alternative energy source, could be used.

Keep the fan running.

Ventilation is required to both keep possible odors  out of your bathroom and to provide the bacteria with enough oxygen to do their work.  The fan should be left on whenever the toilet is in the process of composting waste.  The amount of energy required to run the fan is low enough that alternative energy sources can be used.

Dispose of liquids in the proper manner.

With a self-contained green toilet, you will have to deal with both liquid and solid waste.  Most waterless toilets have a container that stores the liquid wastes that need to be emptied periodically.  The process to remove and empty the container will vary for each model, but it is not that difficult.  Always dispose of the liquid waste in an appropriate manner.  The contents of the container could be emptied into a traditional toilet or diluted and used as a fertilizer.  Check with your local municipality to find out what options are allowable.  Once emptied, the container should be rinsed with clear water and then placed back into the unit.  Sometimes you may be able to connect the liquid collection system of your green toilet to your existing plumbing, thereby eliminating the need for you to deal with the container.

Remove solids when your green toilet is ¾ full.

Solid wastes should be removed from your green toilet when the tank is about 3/4 full or as recommended by the manufacturer.  The longer you wait to empty the container, the more complete the composting, which in turn makes the job more pleasant.  When fully composted the solid waste will look and smell like dirt. There may still be some paper remnants in the material depending on how much time the material was allowed to compost and on how much paper was placed in the toilet.  Paper products take considerably more time to compost because they are processed products whereas human waste is natural.

Empty your green toilet in the proper way.

You should probably use gloves when it comes time to empty the solid waste container.  You should also wait at least 6-8 hours after the toilet was last used before emptying it.  The easiest way to empty the container holding the solid waste is to place a snug fitting kitchen garbage bag over the opening.  This will allow you to empty the contents into it without any spillage.  Any residual material will help to start the composting process, so there is no need to clean it off, and especially using any chemicals may kill the bacteria responsible for breaking down the waste.  A good idea would be to throw in a little peat moss and then put the container back in the toilet.

Use your compost appropriately.

Once you have removed the humus from your green toilet, place it in a composting bin to allow it to fully compost.  Fully composted humus may be placed into the trash if the bag is sealed.  Once fully composted, the humus may be used to fertilize your garden.  Using humus on edible plants is not recommended.

Invest in an extra waste container.

Depending on how often you use your green toilet you may have to deal with waste that has not been fully composted.  If the toilet is used heavily, the waste container may fill before the waste has completely composted.  One way of dealing with this is to purchase an extra waste container for your green toilet.  The waste containers usually come with a vented lid so that the contents it can be set aside and the waste can continue to compost.

Prime your green toilet with some starter material.

Some waterless toilets need starter material to get the composting process started.  Often ordinary peat moss will do the trick.  A better starter is some composted waste or humus.  Consider putting some of the humus into a “Ziploc” bag when emptying your waste container.  That way you will have some readily available starter material.  The amount of starter that you will need should be specified in your owner’s manual.  The starter material that you place in your green toilet should be damp and crumbly, not wet or soupy.

Manage your green toilet properly.

While a waterless green toilet looks like a regular toilet, in order for it to work correctly requires proper use.    If you can’t maintain your toilet, it can become a big problem and become environmentally unfriendly fast.  First when not in use, the lid of the toilet should be closed.  This will keep insects away and allow for proper ventilation.  Your green toilet needs to separate liquid and solid waste.  Typically there will be a separate drain for the liquid waste.  Make sure that this entry is not blocked.  Tell the guys to sit when using the toilet.  Seated usage will direct the liquid waste into the correct container.  If liquid waste gets into the solid waste container, it may affect the composting process and cause unpleasant odors.

Just like a standard toilet, keep the bowl clean.

Place a small spray bottle filled with water next to your green toilet in case any solids stick to the bowl.  Spraying the bowl periodically will also help to keep the drain for the liquids unblocked and reduce any resulting liquid waste odors. If you need to clean the bowl more thoroughly, use a paper towel moistened with a 1:1 solution of vinegar and water.  Never use bleach, ammonia, or any other commercial cleaning product in your waterless toilet.  These products will kill the toilet bacteria responsible for composting.  You can use these products to clean the exterior of your green toilet.

compost Toilet

Please continue reading my Composting Toilet – 2 product review and visit my Compost Toilet Store. Also see my other review posts for this green living product: 

Fifteen best features of composting toilets.

How composting toilets work.

What makes a composting toilet green?

Composting toilet FAQs.

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