Talk:Composting toilet

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Compost bogs[edit]

I feel this page could do with some rewriting- as it currently stands it presents compost bogs as expensive, smelly, risky and fiddly, wheras my experience, where 4 of us built a compost bog over a weekend using totally recycled materials (involving the princely outlay of £25!), has been that the resulting unit and structure has been efficient, hassle free, odourless, hygenic and aesthetically pleasing... And still in regular use 3 years later...

As with anything, there will be the expensive option which will invariably be problematic, and there will be the cheap and cheerfl and reliable option... Personally I think its all about demystification, anyone can build a compost bog as long as they've got the confidence, the right books and a bit of common sense... Will add to my to do list... quercus robur 00:20, 3 Jan 2005 (UTC)


Please note that the solid compost is over-rated from a plant nutrient point of view as 4/5 of the nutrients are found in the urine and not the feces. Promoting humanure is both disregarding these facts AND are not safe since the only way you can claim safety in handling and use of it is too heat- or chemically sterilize it (especially parasite eggs are hard to reach). Maybe that the solids left alone for a very long time might do it but there are no studies to verify that. I think we should leave that alone until we have data to say that it is indeed safe to use. The liquid is different ... there is plenty of data from far back to show the consistent low pathogen count, especially after six months storage (see for example the studies done by the Swedish National Bacteriological Laboratories)

I have made a major addition to this page since I don't think the concept was well represented by only do-it-yourself descriptions. I have worked with these systems since the early 1960ies, which does not give me a license to define it for everybody but it did describe a nisch that was too narrow. Let us all please try to make as good a definition of the concept as we know how. The large public systems are in fact making an inroad where flush toilets were totally dominating the market ... this is no longer true. Flush toilets in public facilities are seldom flushed (people do like to touch things in the bathrooms) so the WCs become repulsive in that environment. We are seeing a development where large composting toilet systems stop the wasting of water, does not pollute the surrounding but are major contributers to organic agriculture. That would be a good future of public toilets and we should in my view not define this technology as a strange, back-country hippie technology. It may have been at first but is not anymore. carl lindstrom — Preceding unsigned comment added by Carllindstrom (talkcontribs) 04:31, June 2, 2005


Consider the Biolytix[tm] system as an advanced efficient decentralised waste treatment for sewage and greywater not needing any black hole regressive technology. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 22:13, March 28, 2006

language troll[edit]

This article is being trolled by somebody from account [1] who is pushing Americanised spelling in a confrontational and insulting manner. According to the wikipedia Manual of Style;

For the English Wikipedia, while a nationally predominant form should be used, there is no preference among the major national varieties of English. [2] Ie, American English does NOT have any sort of automatic cultural hegemony on wikipedia. I'd apppreciate other users keeping an eye on this, thanks quercus robur 23:26, 19 July 2006 (UTC)

Exactly, nationally prominent. The national prominence regarding spelling on wikipedia is American English. This is why we have a Color article, and not a Colour article, which redirects to Color. It's really sad you've decided to turn this into some chest beating nationalism game rather than reasonably recognizing that American English spelling is the most common not only on Wikipedia, but in the world, and it's sad you've decided to start calling people Troll simply because they made a joke you don't get and that they don't agree with you. It's a good idea to have consistent spelling across the wiki; it makes editing and spell checking easier, as well as being easier for non-native speakers of English to understand. You don't own this article, you don't own wikipedia, and just because someone doesn't agree with you about how an article should be edited doesn't make them a troll. You need a vacation. Article reverted to correct spelling. 21:15, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
And you need to stop hiding behind an anonymous IP address, but unfortunately we don't always do what is best for us... Of course I don't own Wikipedia, but neither does America. To be honest I couldn't really care less if this article is American English or Real English, the issue I have is with your arrogant and insulting edit summaries. That is the trolling behaviour. I'm just kicking myself for falling for it.quercus robur 22:47, 20 July 2006 (UTC)

OK. Enough already. Yes the anon has been rather blatantly insulting and I've thought about blocking the IP (it is a school IP) for that reason. However, the original (non-stub) version of the article Revision as of 15:42, 19 October 2004 back in '04 had only the odor spelling. Since that time - up until this latest edit war began on 18 July both spellings have been in the article. For consistency only one spelling variant is preferred - and when there is a dispute it defaults back to the usage in the first non-stub version. That usage was odor without the u, so that is the spelling to be used per the Wiki-guidelines on spelling disputes. Now stop the silly edit warring, and anon please be advised of Wiki policy on civility and treat others with respect. Vsmith 01:40, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

Specific System "Ads"[edit]

An individual with IP ( that is near Burlington, Ontario (by IP address tracking) is continually changing the basic description of system types by adding statements that say a specific design stlye (specifically with a rotating drum, like one made by a company in same area, ie Burlington, ON) is superior in performance to other designs. Wikipedia is not a forum for sales pitches.

I think commercial links can/should be placed in the links area. But, this is going too far. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 12:40, July 19, 2007

There is no doubt that one specific firm is using this as an advertisement — Preceding unsigned comment added by DavidBeechey (talkcontribs) 20:09, 18 August 2011 (UTC)

More Biased Additions Added[edit]

An example of more biased (as opposed to factual statements) changes to the CT entry.

From: Some composting toilets use electricity, while others do not. Some electrical systems use fans to exhaust air and increase microbial activity. Other systems require the user to simply rotate a drum within the composting toilet in order to allow for an aerobic breakdown of human waste.

To: Some composting toilets use electricity, while others do not. Some electrical systems use fans to exhaust air and increase microbial activity. Other systems require the user to simply rotate a drum within the composting toilet in order to allow for an aerobic breakdown of human waste. This technology is found to be the most optimal method to mix and aerate material, which is the key feature of a composting toilet. This method allows material to break down aerobically (with the presence of oxygen) in order to prevent any sort of foul smell typically found with septic systems or other composting toilets that do not properly mix material. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 20:23, August 22, 2007 (UTC)


This page will cease to be of use to the public unless contributors (1) confine their contributions to composting toilets, (2) document their assertions, and (3) cease attempting to promote certain brands of composting toilets. For example, a discussion of an incinerating toilet, a device that burns waste instead of composting it, has no place on this page (and that is why that paragraph was removed). Indeed, there already is an entry in the Wikipedia on the incinerating toilet. Likewise, a composting bog is not a toilet and thus the discussion of it belongs not on the composting toilet page but on its own page (please: those of you who added the bog to this page, remove it from this page and put it on its own page). Finally, we need a truce between the do-it-yourself community and the commercial mass manufacturing community. Both communities have their place, each community has its own legitimate concerns, and many fine people inhabit both realms, but this page is not the place to debate the virtues of the two approaches. What both communities need is a clear, concise, technically accurate, description of a composting toilet, and the natural processes that it employs, that is product-neutral. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Pixeljim (talkcontribs) 09:55, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

Vermicomposting toilet[edit]

A dual system which also includes worms to be integrated into the composting toilet also exists. See this page. Also another composting toilet called Clivus Multrum may also have better advantages. See his website Include into article.

Thanks. KVDP (talk) 08:51, 5 April 2008 (UTC)

Urine contains 90% of the nitrogen and 70% of the phosphorus in human waste according to wikipedia but another source says that urine contains most of the nitrogen and potassium and feces most of the phosphorous which sounds more correct so I think wiki had a typo. Whitis (talk) 05:26, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

Also, the source above disagrees with a comment above that said that urine contained most of the nutrients and thus the feces component was unimportant. It said both were important. Whitis (talk) 05:29, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

NPOV dispute[edit]

Because of the tag, this article is listed in the NPOV disputes, and I've arrived out of curiosity. Could someone outline exactly what is disputed, i.e. what text some people want in the article and what text other people want. As opposed to the general outlook of the article. A request for comment might be appropriate. Itsmejudith (talk) 21:50, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

I'd say the dispute must be the non-neutrality displayed by some of the above old comments concerning pet peeves and personal projects. As a long-time certified Master Composter, who also happens to own a composting toilet, I'll volunteer to clean up the page as time allows. Red58bill (talk) 06:00, 16 February 2009 (UTC)


- a "composting toilet" is a product, not a "system" - other (similar) waste disposal products are discussed on their own (linked) pages

- removed unreferenced quote and factually inaccurate material and incoherent verbosity & made up word ["Compostation"] and red links on product brands & links that primarily exist to sell product [eg] & link to personal site & 404 link - added external deep link refs to manufacturers operational explanations

- added summaries on external links .... UNlinked mfgrs list, added locations, made it representative for en-speaking areas, not exhaustive

- cut much disjointed POV that did not remain concise, formal, and dispassionate & did not advance understanding by an uninformed but curious public .... particularly provided links to other articles of similar interest but "off topic" (sorry, I didn't notice I wasn't logged in when I first made these changes) Red58bill (talk) 04:18, 20 February 2009 (UTC)

Thanks to User:Twirligig and User:Killiondude for edits! Red58bill (talk) 21:08, 1 March 2009 (UTC)
Not really in agreement with TastyPoutine re the link on the Biolet toilet picture to a 'deep page' of the makers site showing the internals of the toilet being 'spam' - I do think eliminating the illustration detracts from the informativeness of the article .... not interested in revert games tho Red58bill (talk) 04:15, 2 March 2009 (UTC)

page layout[edit]

Placing the pictures before the content header better places the picture next to it's header. Also alternating left and right placement squeezes short paragraphs between pics lengthening the paragraph allowing for more pictures in the article. Keep this in mind when doing later edits. The headings pretty much are in line with their relevant pics and the See Also header isn't messed up. Thanks. (just perusing to see if one of these in my home is viable) Alatari (talk) 15:21, 16 November 2009 (UTC)

Usage of compost[edit]

Composting toilet tower concept.png

The way how the compost is to be used (eg in agriculture, ...) isn't well described. For example, the compost can not be applied constantly, rather the compost can only be applied once a year. Also, most systems are not really suited to allow easy emptying of the compost (eg by transferring it to a vehicle, ...). These issues could be described and perhaps the concept to the right also be mentioned in the article. (talk) 14:16, 22 January 2010 (UTC)

Clivus multrum[edit]

The 'see also' link to Clivus multrum has now been removed twice [3] [4] in a day by the same contributor who also added two un-sourced references to another manufacturer's products by name[5] [6]. A photo of a commercial product was removed as well [7]. Forgive me if I am wrong but is there some commercial rivalry going on? While we are on the subject, is 'Clivus multrum' a suitable subject for an article? If so then it is indeed I believe appropriate to link to it from this article. If not then that article should be deleted. Personally I think the article is credible describing as it does a product that apparently goes back to the 1930s. PeterEastern (talk) 20:23, 18 August 2011 (UTC)

There is no commercial rivalry I simply resent two companies clivus multrum and Sun-Mar presenting their big businesses and using Wikipedia as advertising — Preceding unsigned comment added by DavidBeechey (talkcontribs) 20:36, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
Possibly we should work on WP:balance then, but repeatedly removing images and wlinks without justification isn't the best way to do that. Please note that the photo you removed didn't name the manufacturer, but your contribution to the article did mention one which is I believe for the company that you work for. As such great care is needed when contributing and deleting. See WP:spam for guidance. PeterEastern (talk) 20:56, 18 August 2011 (UTC)

Article Problems[edit]

References #1 and #2 are broken links. The main image doesn't have definitions for A, B and C. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:21, 23 January 2012 (UTC)

i fixed teh image
thnaks, a sincere wikedia contrabuter

another problems[edit]

what i dont get is why there ar so many spellign mistakes in the articel. it really makes it vrey hard to read.. please fix this

thaanks,a sincere wikepedia contrabuter — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:16, 1 October 2012 (UTC)

Planned work on this article[edit]

I have a plan to work on this article in the near future. I would start by adapting this article to the new Sanitation Manual of Style in terms of more standardised section headings. This is part of a new Wikiproject Sanitation. If anyone objects to this, please let me know. EvM-Susana (talk) 22:07, 15 December 2014 (UTC)

FYI: the planned work has now been carried out. EvM-Susana (talk) 19:45, 30 December 2014 (UTC)

Removed an image which was not really a composting toilet[edit]

I removed an image as it was not a good photo of a composting toilet, looks more like a pit latrine:

History section needs some work[edit]

The history section needs further work, because right now it only talks of the dry earth closet variety which is related to a composting toilet but does not function like a composting toilet how they are designed today. I think it would be interesting to trace the history since World War 2, how different designs have come on the market, where they are used mainly - e.g. developments in Finland which is a leader in composting toilets. EvM-Susana (talk) 11:14, 31 December 2014 (UTC)

A globalize tag has been added[edit]

A globalize tag has been added ("The examples and perspective in this article may not represent a worldwide view of the subject. Please improve this article and discuss the issue on the talk page. (March 2015)"). So far, this article has examples from the US, Germany, Finland, Sweden. That's not bad. Other countries where these toilets are reasonably common are Australia, Japan maybe, and?? So it won't be possible to make it truly global because these kinds of toilets do not exist in all countries. But if anyone has examples to add please do. EvM-Susana (talk) 21:30, 16 March 2015 (UTC)

Modifications to section on moldering toilets[edit]

Thanks Lfstevens for your work on this article to simplify the language and remove some unnecessary level of details and probably also repetition. Much appreciated. I have just one question about your edits. I think you deleted this paragraph: "The heap is built up step by step during a longer period in contrast to a hot composting process, where the heap is built up at once. In a hot composting process the humidity, carbon to nitrogen ratio and other process parameters can be controlled better which produces higher temperatures that destroy pathogens like helminth eggs, the hardiest of all pathogens. If the compost produced will be used for crops for human consumption then a subsequent hot composting step should be implemented after the slow composting step. This applies particularly to regions where helminth infections are common amongst the toilet users, i.e. many developing countries. However, if the compost will be used for ornamental areas only and the toilet users are not infected with helminths, then a secondary composting step is usually not needed. " This is a paragraph that I had added because I thought it was quite important to explain the difference between hot and cold composting. Could it be put it, perhaps under a different section heading if needed? EvM-Susana (talk) 10:50, 20 March 2015 (UTC)

Thanks for noticing! I'm still on the first pass ce-ing this article. I put the stuff on helminths in the pathogen section. I agree that it's important to explain distinctions between types. Please continue to comment on the changes I make. Lfstevens (talk) 15:25, 20 March 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for your continued editing, Lfstevens. I am agreeing with most things, but I don't like introduction of an unncessary abbreviation: CT for composting toilet. This is not a standard abbreviation. Also, because composting toilet is quite short, I don't see a need to abbreviate this. So I propose to replace CT with composting toilet again. - by the way, do you think the "globalize" hat note is justified? I think not, I think it could be removed now. I have seen other articles much more limited on the situation in the US and they don't carry a globalize tag either. EvM-Susana (talk) 18:25, 21 March 2015 (UTC)
When you are done, can you take a look at the UDDT page as well? In fact, maybe you'd like to join our Wikipedia: WikiProject Sanitation? EvM-Susana (talk) 18:27, 21 March 2015 (UTC)
I like abbrevs if a term appears over and over (50+ in this case), but it's not a major issue. I think the article is quite "developed country" centric, when I can imagine enormous applications in the sewer-deprived developing world. Globalize is rarely used, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be. Other things I'd like to see is something on market size, units and more on applications, particularly use in public facilities. I have a lot on my plate at the moment. I'll try to look in on sanitation by and by. As a member of the Wikipedia:WikiProject Guild of Copy Editors I invite you to tag articles with {{copyedit}} tag or in an urgent situation, to log the article on the Wikipedia:WikiProject Guild of Copy Editors/Requests page. Again, thanks for the feedback. Lfstevens (talk) 20:47, 21 March 2015 (UTC)
OK, then I will revert this abbreviation, just because it is not a commonly used abbreviation for this kind of toilet. Thanks for all your work. Where would I put this tag? Sounds like a useful tag to add, although can I add it to to any sanitation article or what is the recommended use for such a tag? EvM-Susana (talk) 12:53, 23 March 2015 (UTC)
You can place it at the top of the article, or use {{copyedit section}} to focus on a specific section. You can put it on any article that you think needs it. Thousands of articles currently have this tag. Lfstevens (talk) 23:55, 23 March 2015 (UTC)

Use of words like "bogs" and outhouse images[edit]

I don't know what contributors want to ackomplish with wording like "bogs" and pictures from 19th century outhouse images, but some of us are interested in removing the old OUTHOUSE lables, the propagation of which only seems to benefit the WC/sewer industry. Non-flush toilets can often serve users better than a WC, which has intrinsic problems, such as clogging, over-flowing, builing up mineral depositis which makes the visible part of the bowl look ugly etc. Could we not put Moldering bogs and such in a history page rather than trying to make those visual and verbal images be todays definitions ? [user ] — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:06, 16 June 2015 (UTC)

Hi, please be more specific, i.e. which photo or wording would you want to remove, and which photo or wording would you like to see instead? In the history section, we should have photos of composting toilets from 50 or more years ago, I would say. EvM-Susana (talk) 07:41, 16 June 2015 (UTC)
I also don't understand the comment - historical images are a long way down the page, clearly marked in the "history" section. The only reference I can find to "outhouse" is in the Examples - Finland section. I don't think this is inappropriate, because the system is housed outside the main dwelling. Bogs are only referred to in the terminology section. JMWt (talk) 09:18, 16 June 2015 (UTC)

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“But does not destroy all pathogens.”[edit]

The source for this “ but does not destroy all pathogens.[2] ” is not reliable. The news article simply cite some who expressed his view. Also, neither any sewage system in the world destroys “all” pathogens, as it would be impossible to kill every single cell. What they assure is certain levels. I believe this phrase should be rephrased. Aiecon (talk) 21:39, 15 May 2021 (UTC)

I agree with you, Aiecon, and have removed those words and the reference now. The issue of pathogen destruction is explained later in the article and doesn't need to be in the first paragraph of the lead. EMsmile (talk) 13:40, 8 June 2021 (UTC)

Clarity in 'Comparison'[edit]

Composting toilet#Comparison says:

Unlike flush toilets, composting toilets do not dilute waste and create sewage streams which must be treated before disposal.

I fear this is a bit confusing. Are not diluting waste and creating sewage streams two things that composting toilets are being said to do, or is diluting waste and creating sewage streams a single thing that composting toilets are being said not to do? The latter seems more likely to me, but I'm not familiar with the subject. (I'm guessing sewage streams meant literal flows of liquid waste, as from a flush toilet, but the term "waste stream" often is applied in a more figurative manner to solid waste too, so I don't know.) —2d37 (talk) 00:13, 24 June 2021 (UTC)

I see that until recently it said wastewater streams, which I guess makes the latter meaning clear. —2d37 (talk) 00:15, 24 June 2021 (UTC)
Hi 2d37, I have made some improvements to the wording, please check if it's clearer now? EMsmile (talk) 01:38, 19 July 2021 (UTC)

Compared to flush toilets, composting toilets do not require a sewerage system and do not mix flushing water with urine and feces. However, ...

I agree that the ambiguity of the previous wording has been eliminated. However, while do not require a sewerage system is clearly an advantage and do not mix flushing water with urine and feces seems to be listed as an advantage, as a layperson I can only guess at why the latter is an advantage — do not mix flushing water with urine and feces, the higher concentration of the excreta enabling more efficient treatment? —2d37 (talk) 03:37, 18 September 2021 (UTC)
I think the problem is partly that of trying to corral the facts into advantages and disadvantages, when the section is headed only "Comparison". I have copy edited for a more neutral WikiVoice, I hope that has helped. Captainllama (talk) 16:11, 20 September 2021 (UTC)