Frequently Asked Questions

Why use dry toilets?

Whether you’re a professional, a homeowner, or hosting the public, and you lack a sewage system, a water supply, or individual sanitation infrastructure, dry toilets are the solution to your problem.

They are affordable, quickly set up, immediately effective, legally recognized, and environmentally friendly. So, why miss out?

How do dry toilets work?

The primary feature of dry toilets, as the name suggests, is that they operate without water. Waste falls into a receptacle where it is stored until it’s time for disposal. These waste materials are then treated through composting.

For the waste to transform into humus, users must deposit a layer of carbonaceous material during each toilet use to achieve a proper nitrogen-to-carbon ratio, facilitating efficient composting.

Nature also conveniently handles odor control quite effectively with this carbonaceous material.

Are there multiple types of dry toilets?

Yes, there are several types of dry toilets:

Litter box-style dry toilets, also known as composting toilets, involve the addition of carbonaceous material (sawdust) and can have or lack urine separation. Waste treatment is done through composting.

Advantages: Easy to use and install, affordable, suitable for moderate use.
Disadvantages: Frequent waste removal required.

Dehydration-style dry toilets, either automated or manual, can have active or passive drying (convection only) and do not require the addition of carbonaceous material (sawdust). Waste treatment is through composting.

Advantages: Longer maintenance intervals depending on the model, suitable for heavy use, no need for sawdust.
Disadvantages: Costly if not mobile like our public dry toilet model (I CAG GRAND AIR), may require excavation work, making them expensive to install.

Vermicomposting dry toilets, either automated or manual, involve urine separation.

Advantages: Extremely infrequent waste removal.
Disadvantages: Separate treatment of leachate (non-sterile urine), constant maintenance of worm living conditions.

Are eco-toilets truly environmentally friendly?

Yes, at all levels, using a dry toilet is entirely eco-friendly. The significant water savings, which are not negligible, provide the first financial benefit.

Consider the water consumption of traditional toilets…  A little calculation:

1 flush = 6 to 12 liters of drinking water.
On average, one person = 6 flushes per day.
(5×6 liters) + (1×12 liters) x 365 days.
That’s about 15 cubic meters per person per year!

Multiply that by the cost per cubic meter, and you’ll be surprised.

From an ecological perspective, you save precious drinking water, which is energy and pollution-intensive, while efficiently managing your waste without relying on conventional waste management systems and generating nutrients for your plants.

Additionally, you contribute to the normalization of eco-toilets.

Why isn't there a tax credit for purchasing a dry toilet?

That’s a great question!

It’s likely that lobbying efforts from industries like insulation, double glazing, “flamme verte” stoves, and modern oil boilers, which have more significant financial clout, outweigh our dreams of eco-toilets.

Nevertheless, our ecological impact is just as significant. That’s why I’m putting pressure on national elected officials in our region to advocate on our behalf. It’s an uphill battle!

You can contact your regional ADEME (Agency for the Environment and Energy Management) for more information.

How should you position an outdoor dry toilet?

If possible, install your outdoor dry toilet with its back to the prevailing winds. Don’t hide them; they are pleasant to look at and deserve a prominent place.

Avoid placing them in deep shade, as the wood used in the structure will appreciate some sunlight.

What should you place your outdoor dry toilet on?

You can place it directly on the ground. The wood that contacts the ground is often treated to resist moisture.

Alternatively, you can place it on a layer of crushed material, with a grain size of 0-20 mm, such as limestone or granite, or gravel. A few wheelbarrows full should suffice, and you can spread some in front of the toilet to ensure a clean entrance even in rainy weather.

Concrete is not recommended as it tends to retain moisture unless a significant slope is provided.

Do dry toilets produce odors?

No, miraculously, there are no odors in dry toilets, even in the summer. Sawdust effectively captures all odors, as does the composting process.

What type of carbonaceous material should you choose for your dry toilet? Sawdust or wood shavings?

For the sake of convenience and efficiency, we recommend sawdust, as it scoops well without spilling. However, wood shavings, dried grass clippings, dry leaves, chopped straw, cardboard, or shredded paper can also be suitable.

What type of sawdust is best for dry toilets?

In our opinion, pine sawdust is the most suitable due to its pleasant odor and ease of use. However, you can use wood from any tree species, although tannin-rich woods like oak or chestnut may develop a distinct odor.

Where can you find clean sawdust?

You can often find natural sawdust at sawmills. Sawmills, which are at the beginning of the wood processing chain, cut logs directly from the forest, usually without various treatments.

However, the quality of sawdust from some carpentry shops may vary, as some use a significant amount of reconstituted wood products like plywood, chipboard, MDF, which contain less environmentally friendly adhesives that may not be suitable for composting.

Search online directories or the Yellow Pages for “wood sawmill” in your area. When you bring your own bags, sawmills often won’t refuse to give you some sawdust since they also aim to reduce waste.

Should you use biodegradable bags?

No, it’s not mandatory. The purpose of compostable bags is to isolate the waste from the container, making disposal easier. For those who prefer not to see the waste, these bags can be tied off to conceal their contents.

However, do not attempt to remove a full bag from the container, as it may tear. Instead, empty the contents into your compost and dispose of the bag separately. It’s essential to use bags that are labeled “OK Compost” to ensure they are suitable for composting.

It’s important to note that while these compostable bags are convenient, they may not break down quickly in your compost. When I find undecomposed bag fragments in mature compost, I return them to the top of the compost pile. Ideally, you should use bags made from non-GMO plant material, but it’s challenging to verify this.

Be cautious of bags labeled as “100% biodegradable” that still contain 30-50% recycled plastic, making them non-compostable.

When should you empty dry toilets?

You’ll know when it’s time to empty them when using the toilet becomes less pleasant.

In any case, I recommend emptying them at least once a week to prevent fermentation odors. The frequency of emptying also depends on the toilet model and the number of users.

For example, a family of two adults and one child should empty it about once a week.

For a 32-liter bucket, like those in our dry toilet range, you can expect about fifty uses before emptying.

Where should you compost dry toilet waste?

Dry toilet waste can be composted in a composter, which can be a simple box where the waste will break down and turn into humus. The law states that dry toilets consist of a sealed tank that receives feces or urine. The tank should be regularly emptied into a watertight area designed to prevent any runoff and sheltered from the weather.

Therefore, it is recommended to place the composter on a watertight surface, which can slow down the composting process.

Litter box-style dry toilets, which use absorbent materials like sawdust, do not produce runoff. For my part, I leave my composters on natural soil to facilitate the exchange of organisms, allow earthworms to move in, and help with humus formation. However, our composters are covered to prevent the waste from getting washed away by rain.

Each individual can take their own approach.

Where should you dispose of dry toilet waste?

With dry toilets, all waste is reused by emptying it into the composter, as required by law. The compost should be made in a closed bin. This compost, made from a mixture of organic materials and dry plant waste, can enrich your garden’s soil.

Now that you know where to dispose of dry toilet waste, let’s discuss when to do so. The emptying frequency will depend on the dry toilet model used and the number of people using it. Emptying should be done at least every 10 days.

Affordable, quickly set up, immediately effective, legally recognized, and environmentally friendly – why miss out?

Still have questions?
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