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Composting Toilets As A Means To Resolve Water Concerns

Apr 18, 2008
Recent generations have probably never given much thought to a simple device called the composting toilet, and most, no doubt, would prefer not to linger long on the subject. But composting toilets have long been used throughout human history. They have a much longer history than the common plumbing and sewage systems that we have all become accustomed to using in our modern civilization.

Those in the Western world are generally surprised to learn that even today there are many kinds of composting toilets available on the market. They come in varieties that are designed to accommodate varying cultures, customs and climates in different parts of the globe. The different kinds of composting toilet units also vary considerably in pricing as well.

The bottom line is that composting toilets are simply devices that facilitate the composting process of human feces and this practice can be said to be as old as the hills. It is nothing more and nothing less than Mother Nature's way of recycling human waste components, just as it does with the waste of other living beings on the planet, and reintegrating it with the soil as part of the cycle of life.

Contrary to common opinions on the matter, or perhaps based on unpleasant experiences, composting toilets can be very hygienic, very clean and do not smell when operated correctly. They also help to save enormous amounts of water and in many areas of the world this is extremely important. In fact, in a global community where it is becoming more important to conserve water, these toilets could benefit everyone if used more widely.

For instance, consider a typical American family that uses a flush toilet. It has been estimated that a family of four can flush about 100,000 liters of water each year, just to deal with their human feces.

And, this water goes into the sewage system which has the potential to contaminate ground water sources. But, compostable toilets actually protect both surface and ground water supplies from this kind of contamination.

These kinds of toilets are most often constructed with two separate chambers which facilitates operation and also ease of construction. The two chambers of the composting toilet are used alternately. Once full, the one chamber is closed and allowed to decompose while the other fills.

When fully decomposed, the contents are removed and the chamber is ready to be filled again. Each of the chambers has a separate opening that allows for the removing of the mature compost which is non-odorous and which can be used in organic farming practices.

Composting toilets work very well in settings for a family home, and they have even been successfully utilized for larger facilities as well. In the case of use for schools and other public buildings, the compostable toilets are built in a cluster.

However, the experts say that it is important to be sure that communities that use this type of waste recycling are well-educated, trained and motivated to use them properly.
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