Eco toilets are exactly what they sound like: they're environmentally-friendly toilets.
But, before you conjure up mental images of outside latrines or festival-style chemical toilets, you might be in for a shock or two; eco toilets are much more commonly found around you (you might not even be aware of them!), and are a far cry from any of the above things you might have been thinking of.
The Rise of EcoToilets
Eco toilets might be eco friendly, but they’re also so much more than that: they’re also economically friendly (a different type of ‘eco’!).
That’s because eco toilets work by saving water and even power, with some styles of eco toilets even using every part of the waste entered into it…but more on that later.
Eco toilets have been steadily growing in popularity over the years, to the point where they’re pretty common: back in 2014, the Glastonbury festival began using eco toilets, and their high-profile exposure there only gained eco toilets more fans over the years.
It’s no surprise, considering that more and more people worldwide are looking for eco-friendly solutions, for any number of reasons:
Better sanitation (especially in developing countries)
Environmental consciousness (flushing a toilet usually accounts for 1/3rd of all household water usage)
Seeking renewable energy sources, especially artificial fertilizer substitutes
Saving money, since flushing toilets costs a lot of wasted money in water expenses!
But, it’s not just the environmentally-conscious among us who are looking for eco toilet solutions. They’re also a fantastic solution for communities or locations where there isn’t easy access to water or sewage systems, such as highly manicured areas (think golf courses or public gardens).
That’s partly due to the way in which eco toilets work, and they come in different varieties:
With ‘standard’ toilets lasting up to 6 gallons of water with every flush, low flow toilets provide the same power and flushing experience, with a fraction of the gallon usage, at 1.6 per flush.
These are more commonly seen indoors, and are toilets with two flushing choices: button 1 for liquid waste (flushing up to 8 gallons of water per flush) or button 2 for solid waste (using up to 1.6 gallons per flush).
Using an efficiency-guide (like with your electric appliance), this ranks toilets according to how eco-friendly they are. Seeing a toilet with a WaterSense label means it’s 20% more effective than standard (1.6 gallon) toilets. In fact, using a WaterSense toilet can reduce a toilet’s water usage by up to 60%.
As with composting food waste, composting toilets apply the same principle: these are waterless eco toilets that work to dissolve waste according to a process of evaporation and natural decomposition.
Eco toilets are all around us…but are they actually worth your while, if you’re looking for a more eco-friendly solution?
Advantages and Disadvantages of Eco Toilets
Depending what you’re looking to achieve with an eco toilet, there are several different advantages and disadvantages to installing one:
Advantages of Eco Toilets
Eco toilets are much more environmentally friendly than standard toilets (see above for a comparison of the different types of eco toilets available , as well as their environmental impact)
They’re a fantastic solution for improved sanitation, or areas without any traditional sewage infrastructure (such as remote locations)
Due to the way in which some of them work (separating the solids from the liquids), the run-off of which can be redirected through other areas to provide natural fertilizer.
They save a significant amount of water, reducing water usage and water bills as a result!
In the case of composting toilets, they allow you to be completely independent of any water or sewage connections
Most composting toilets are odorless, or odor-neutral, meaning there’s a separating exhaust air system..meaning no more bad smells.
Composting toilets are completely chemical-free, meaning any waste put into them (both solid and liquid) are broken down naturally, and free from the aid of any environmentally harmful substances or aids.
Disadvantages of Eco Toilets
You can expect some pretty long composting intervals, anywhere up to two years before solid waste is turned into mature compost soil
They can be a bit space-consuming: eco toilets with several hundred liters of capacity can take up quite some space.
You might need to hook your eco toilet up to electricity to make it run, if it has an in-built electrical exhaust system. So while you offset some of the traditional costs you’d expect due to the water you’ll be saving…you also incur some others due to the electricity usage.
Ultimately, it’s really up to the individual as to whether or not eco toilets, especially composting toilets, are worth the few disadvantages we’ve highlighted above, in order to live more sustainably, environmentally-friendly and otherwise.
How to Choose an Eco Toilet for Your Needs
Having said all of the above, when it comes down to actually choosing an eco toilet for your needs, there are a few things to take into consideration.
First, we’d suggest thinking about what your needs are. Are you looking to save money? Live sustainably? Or just reduce your current water consumption? Based on your answer to these questions, you could be interested in using a low-flush, dual-flush or composting toilet (or something else entirely – see below).
Do your research. Look into different eco toilet brands and reviews, to see which one might match what you’re looking for.
Consider your infrastructure. Do you live near or far from a water source or sewage system? Are you looking to be completely independent of any energy source or only from water and sewage systems? Do you have plans for the composting run-off to use as fertilizer? All of your answers to the above questions will greatly influence the type of eco toilet you look at installing.
Cost: eco toilets vary massively in the amount they cost, both to buy the eco toilet itself but also with ongoing costs, as well as installation. Just remember that, especially with eco toilets that are composting toilets, that you’ll have more savings over time due to water saving.
Where to Buy Eco Toilets Online
Obviously, before you commit to purchasing and installing an eco toilet you need to make sure it’s the right fit for you and your family.
As such, we highly recommend the HomeBiogas Bio-Toilet. It’s a type of upgraded composting toilet, where you get to reduce your carbon footprint and live a more sustainable lifestyle.
Using an anaerobic digestion system it means you get to dispose of and transform your waste into renewable biogas, to be used for your home cooking.
You’ll get up to 1 hour of cooking gas daily, saving up to 6 tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year, and up to an eye-watering 40,000 liters of water.
It’s completely safe, easy and environmentally-friendly to install and use. It can even be installed outside of your home!
Check out the HomeBiogas Bio-Toilet and get the best of an environmentally friendly lifestyle and eco toilet system, all in one!
If you're looking to live a more sustainable lifestyle and have been hearing about the “magic” of biogas, then we’re here to help you on your way.
Let’s start right at the beginning: what exactly is biogas, and why is biogas production so central to living a more sustainable lifestyle?
With the US producing over 70 millions tons of organic waste annually, it's clear that for any advocate of a sustainable lifestyle, something has to be done to reduce this. This annual number hides several important issues, all of which contribute to an ever-escalating, rapidly-approaching crisis: disappearing natural resources, more pollution and less room in landfills, among other highly impacting issues.
Homesteading (building a homegrown sustainable lifestyle) takes a lot of grit, effort and the right circumstances. Choose the wrong place to do it, and it’ll be a whole lot harder; fail to plan ahead and you could be hit with a lot of extra and unplanned expenses!
Building a truly sustainable lifestyle isn't for everyone, nor is it as simple as simply moving to a new state. When it comes to laying down your homestead, you should be thoroughly prepared as to the how's and what's, but most importantly, the ‘where's’.