As hard as it may be to believe, if used correctly, compact composting toilets don’t stink.
There are basically three reasons that people who travel on boats or RVs use compact composting toilets. First, they don’t consume valuable resources, second, there is no urgency to find a dump or pump-out station, and thirdly, they don’t smell. This is big medicine. The first two reasons are intuitive. That they don’t smell is more difficult to believe. So let’s take a look at exactly what is happening and why they don’t smell, at least like sewage. I can’t speak with regard to my competitors, but used correctly, a C-Head has no odor when closed up, even without ventilation. When you open the lid you will get a mild smell of whatever medium you are using in its composting state. Pine smells different than coco coir and different than aspen bedding. None of them are particularly unpleasant but the owner may have a preference. I do. Ad to that the fact that deodorizers can be added to the small basket in the collection bucket to give the toilet a desired smell. Mothballs will make it smell like a public restroom. Essential oils and air fresheners will give it another smell. A single spray of Febreze prior to sitting down will have you pooping in a bed of lilacs. My next experiment is sandalwood.
And my comments of Texas Tramper comments on the C-Head.
This is one of the better and more accurate reviews I have seen to date.
Of course, it would appeal to me because she gives the C-Head a nice review, but I don’t disagree with her assessment of my competitor. I would like to address some of her observations about the C-Head. She clearly has done her homework and has experience with a compact, composting toilet. The first five minutes are devoted to issues she is having with the current composting toilet she is using. It is instructive. Here are my observations on her comments regarding the C-Head.
There aren’t a lot of blogs that dedicate themselves to topics about using a toilet. This one does. Here we talk $#!+ about a specific kind of toilet, commonly (and many believe erroneously) called a “composting” toilet. What does that actually mean – composting toilet? Well, I guess that is open to interpretation. But for our purposes, it is referring to a specific toilet, the C-Head, a compact toilet that initiates the composting process of solid human waste while the waste is inside the toilet. These types of toilets are finding their way into use more and more. The significance of that is that we are coming to appreciate and understand the efficiency, the advantages, the logic and the harmony with nature that composting of our waste engenders. I fully expect to see them grow in usage once people come to understand the advantages.
This is an information blog. If you are impatient and want to get on to the articles regarding a specific topic, there are three ways to do that. One scroll down and read the intro of each article, or two use key words in the search box to the right to locate an article or three, click on a category heading on the right column of this page and then scroll down through the list that comes up. Otherwise click on “read more” below to continue reading this introduction.
Is the C-Head toilet a USCG “certified” MSD Type III? I get this question fairly often. People assume that the poop police and the harbormaster are going to want to see that your toilet is “certified” to use it in their waters. It seems that people are most concerned about the state of the head when boarded by the Coast Guard or Marine Patrol, more so than half a dozen other things that are more important like life jackets, flares and propane. “Did I lock the Y-valve shut?” “Am I going to have to follow them back to the station?”, “Are they going to confiscate my boat!?”
So, the dreaded task; the one that every marine toilet owner has to exercise in some capacity or another, has finally come due and volunteers are short handed. Unless Captain Bligh has assigned the job to someone of minor status or meted it out as a punishment, the crew will have to decide among (more likely between) themselves who gets the honor of emptying out the head.
There seems to be a lot of controversy over whether certain “composting toilets” are in fact composting toilets. Joe Jenkins addresses this question in his book “The Humanure Handbook” which is available for free (here). I have the highest respect for him for giving away (for the benefit of mankind), all his hard research on composting human waste. His book isn’t expensive and I encourage everyone to buy it outright (here) and give him the reward he is due. But to the point, he points out in it that the definition of what constitutes a “composting” toilet is basically in the eye of the beholder.
After experimenting with numerous mediums, it has become clear that the ideal medium (sawdust, peat moss, coco coir, etc.) for processing your waste into compost depends on how you plan on using your C-Head toilet. Boaters and RV owners are going to want something that stores easily and doesn’t take up space. They may also consider the ecological impact of disposing of the waste be it in the trash or in the woods. Homesteaders and permaculturists are more concerned with which mediums compost the fastest and best and are compatible with their gardening philosophy. The C-Head can accommodate a variety of mediums in processing solid waste.
Using a composting toilet and composting your waste in general is a good way to help protect our environment, and people inclined to use composting toilets tend to be very environmentally conscious. One of nature’s “all natural” gifts to mankind is the fruit fly and sewer fly, both of which seem to have an extraordinary sense of smell. All composting toilets are susceptible to fly larva infestations. These infestations are more of a nuisance than a health hazard but they add significantly to the “yuck factor” of composting toilets. They are more common in areas where livestock is present or fresh vegetables or table scraps are kept in the home on the counter. Infestations can be avoided using simple preventative techniques such as thoroughly washing the skins of vegetables with a scrubby and regular once a week emptying and adding diatomaceous earth to the medium as needed.
I’ve been a soldier, a sailor, a boat builder, a roughneck, a photographer, a permaculture gardener, a firefighter and an inventor. I had a cabinet shop for ten years, worked in various and sundry interesting occupations, and I retired at 60 from a 17-year career as a firefighter and paramedic. If you had told me fifty years ago that the culmination of all those skills would result in a business that builds and sells toilets, I’m not sure what my reaction would have been. My guess is that I would laughed at you and dismissed it as a joke. But alas, here we are and I find myself pulled out of retirement and back into the hectic world of being a self-employed businessman, hair on fire and all! And all about a toilet!