I live off grid and have no sewer connection. So I have a composting toilet. Pretty simple. "But how do you empty your toilet?"
This is a very frequent question I hear. At least in the world of tiny house people. I suppose the rest of the country probably does not discuss this. Ever. And if poop grosses you out, don't read further! While I do empty the liquids container every week to ten days, the solids bin only needs emptied about every 4 months with mostly just me using it.
There are several ways to deal with this, but I am just going to describe the one I use. The urine I dilute with water and use to fertilize all my plants around here. They love it! And in the winter, it just goes around the base of my trees, who also seem happy with the arrangement. But what do I do with all the four months worth of poop?
Eventually it will be used as fertilizer as well. But to be safe, I'm giving it lots of extra time to break down after leaving my toilet. I have two compost bins outside. One for all my kitchen and garden scraps and one for my toilet. The toilet one will get heated up before going on any plants just in case there are any nasty bugs in there, which I doubt, knowing my own health and diet.
With a Natures Head toilet like mine, all you have to do to empty it is slide the lid/seat off the top. Then you can pick the whole base up and simply turn it upside down to empty it. You can hose it all out then if you want, I did this once, but there is really no need. Below is what the most recent four months worth of poop looked like when I dumped it. (I already warned you to stop reading if you are squeamish about this!) Mostly, it looks like slightly damp dirt or potting soil. In the very middle of the photo you can see a lighter spot, that's one of the most recent additions to the toilet and is not completely broken down yet.
And this does not smell like anything other than moist dirt. For real. If you can change an average baby's diaper, this is less gross and less smelly. Plus my toilet never kicks or tries to put it's fingers in there while I'm emptying it. ;-) So it's much better!
Now I put fresh coconut coir (or peat moss if you prefer) back into my newly empty toilet. This is what surrounds each "deposit" I make into my toilet and helps keep there from being any odors. As you can see below, my whole toilet is sitting outside on my step. Now it's almost ready to put back in my bathroom.
If you've followed my blog for any length of time, you probably know (And again, you were warned if you find all this gross!) that I keep worms in my toilet. They speed up the rate at which everything breaks down and help reduce how often I need to empty the solids. But I just dumped them all out when I emptied my toilet. And now I need some back in there.
Worms do not like being exposed to light, so they had quickly all retreated deep into the pile. I just used a shovel to scoop a hole in the middle of that pile and grabbed a handful of worms back out. Touching worms does not gross me out. (Spiders are a whole different story though!) And I added these back into my freshly emptied toilet. Where they quickly retreated out of sight again. This process did leave a lot of worms in my outside bin, but this is no problem, they just keep multiplying in both locations.
One note, based on the experience of someone else who tried this. If you plan to add worms to your toilet, make sure you keep the solids bin from getting too wet or too warm. If either of those condition occur, your worms may try to flee for their lives. I have never had this problem and as long as the conditions in there are good (for worms this means slightly moist, dark, and lots of poop to eat) they will stay out of sight and you'll never even know they are there.
I do keep a little spray bottle of vinegar and water in my bathroom to give the bowl a quick spritz after each use and help keep everything nice and fresh. You can see that in this shot with my toilet back in place and with the lid and seat back on top.
Now I have a toilet that's ready to go for months again! See, composting toilets really are not that scary. I am very happy with mine.