How to Build a Simple Compost Toilet

Learn how to use "humanure" and a simple medical toilet to create nutrient-rich compost.

| September 26, 2012

  • Use a medical toilet for composting
    The simplest way to construct a compost toilet is to purchase a medical toilet seat and place a 5-gallon bucket beneath the seat to collect deposits.
    Photo by Fotolia/Romarti
  • Urban Homesteading: Heirloom Skills for Sustainable Living
    Find concise how-to information in Rachel Kaplan's "Urban Homesteading," the city dweller's go-to source for sustainable solutions. 
    Cover Courtesy Skyhorse Publishing

  • Use a medical toilet for composting
  • Urban Homesteading: Heirloom Skills for Sustainable Living

Reclaim your role as an instrumental driving force with Urban Homesteading (Skyhorse Publishing, 2011) by Rachel Kaplan. Find concise how-to information from making solar cookers to raising chickens on a tiny plot. Urban Homesteading is the go-to source for city dwellers who want to embrace sustainable solutions. Learn how to compost body waste using a medical toilet seat, a five-gallon bucket and carbon matter in this excerpt entitled, "How to Build a Simple Compost Toilet." 

You can purchase this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: Urban Homesteading 


Medical toilet seat
Two 5-gallon buckets
One plant pot that fits inside 5-gallon bucket
Red worms

The simplest way to make a composting toilet for your home is to purchase a medical toilet seat (the kind where you can easily sit down to pee), and keep two buckets nearby. One bucket is for pee, the other bucket is for poop. Both buckets are layered with sawdust in between deposits. You can also purchase the Separette Privy Kit, which separates urine and feces for easy collection. This lowers the work load, eliminates odors, and makes waste composting simple.

Place the toilet seat over the buckets, and do your business as usual. Sprinkle a handful of sawdust into the bucket after each use. The urine your household produces is safe to use without treatment. When the pee bucket is full, dump it on the compost pile, or layer it in the garden as mulch. The nutrient-rich sawdust will enhance either garden or compost pile. Urine contains nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium and makes an amazing plant fertilizer. Urine is typically sterile, and if separated from feces, can be easily and safely reused.

7/20/2017 7:08:22 PM

Erik...what do you think?

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