Composting Toilet — Report on 8 months full time usage

Sagestone

Observer
It appears that no system of mobile human waste handling is perfect but has anyone else considered the pros & cons of using an incinerating toilet in their larger rigs? All human waste is converted to sterile ash. Think about it, no more dumping, no water usage, only ash to handle, and smoke signals...how cool is that? Incinolet http://www.incinolet.com/aboutus.htm provides an interesting 'incinerating toilet vs. composting toilet' comparison chart. Their 'RV' model uses electricity to power the burn but requires 120 volts @ 15 amps. Another supplier of these types of toilets, Ecojohn http://ecojohn.com/ecojohn_sr.html has an SR5 model which uses only 12V DC: 1.5 Amps to power the auger and optional fan and uses propane to power the 'burn cycle'. Any 'chimney' odor is eliminated with the optional catalytic converter. Their much larger and heavier SR 12 model can burn with propane, natural gas or diesel.
 

graynomad

Photographer, traveller
I have heard of people using them, don't know how good they are though. For my new build I won't have propane so the Ecojohn is out. The Incinolet, hmmm that's a lot of power, for how long I wonder.

Just found it

Uses about 1½ kilowatt hour of electricity per cycle.
Yikes, that's a lot.
 

dwh

Tail-End Charlie
Why is dumping the solids from these separating, "composting", toilets any different than digging a hole a burying it???
Well...for one thing, I think when it comes out of the "composting" toilet - it's usually in a plastic bag. So burying that is quite a bit different than burying the raw waste from a point of view of natural breakdown. And, of course, dropping a plastic bag full of crap into a vault that's designed to be regularly pumped out by a truck would be a hanging offense if the pumper posse ever caught you.

I guess you _could_ just empty the bag out if you wanted to and then...uh...I dunno...re-use it?!


(I think it's worth mentioning, that most people don't bury raw solids properly anyway...they tend to dig too deep, which slows the natural breakdown greatly, and also helps to contribute to polluting ground water. Solids should be buried in topsoil, but not deeper. Of course, when you've got a million touristas doing that, it doesn't much matter how deep or shallow you bury it, it's a problem that needs a septic system to solve.)
 

dwh

Tail-End Charlie
I have heard of people using them, don't know how good they are though. For my new build I won't have propane so the Ecojohn is out. The Incinolet, hmmm that's a lot of power, for how long I wonder.

Just found it



Yikes, that's a lot.
Well...it's a lot for batteries and solar, but it sure ain't much for a small generator (or decent alternator) and you could probably get by with running one full (usually 40 minute) cycle per day if there are only two people using it.

I think one issue with the Incolet (and probably any straight drop incinerator design) is that once it's fired up - you can't use it again until it cools off. No matter how desperate the situation.

The other big issue, is from what I hear, the neighbors will be lynching you once they get a whiff. So, if you fire it up when you hit the road instead of every time you make a deposit, you can probably overcome the worst issues.



FYI: the big 250 lb. (!!!) EcoJohn "M1 Abrahms" model (The SR12) can had with a diesel burner:

http://ecojohn.com/ecojohn_sr.html


sr12-wbig.jpg

(to give an idea of the scale of this monster; I believe that chimney pipe is 8 inches outside diameter)



You know you want it! :Wow1:
 
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4x4BNB

Adventurer
I agree but...the "composting" toilets that I have seen do not have plastic bags? So...I guess my point is....if it is "acceptable" to dig a hole 6 inches into the ground and "deposit" ur waist directly into it, how can it be different to collect it, for a month? And, it's already mixed with composting material and it's in different stages of decay? :)
 

dwh

Tail-End Charlie
I agree but...the "composting" toilets that I have seen do not have plastic bags? So...I guess my point is....if it is "acceptable" to dig a hole 6 inches into the ground and "deposit" ur waist directly into it, how can it be different to collect it, for a month? And, it's already mixed with composting material and it's in different stages of decay? :)
Yea...at that point I guess it just becomes a question of what is acceptable for the area and the number of tourists.

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/56878032-78/backcountry-canyonlands-desert-destinations.html.csp
 

magentawave

Adventurer
If you go to www.sailfar.net and type "$10 to $20 compost toilet" into the search box you'll see a thread about a guy that built one for $20 with a pee diverter made out of a funnel. Its not a true "compost" toilet though but it doesn't stink, its super cheap to build and uses no energy. :)
 

4x4BNB

Adventurer
O I C. Great article, thank you. But, it should be acceptable to dump your "composting toilet", organic cache into a vault toilet ?
 

Sagestone

Observer
Well...it's a lot for batteries and solar, but it sure ain't much for a small generator (or decent alternator) and you could probably get by with running one full (usually 40 minute) cycle per day if there are only two people using it.

I think one issue with the Incolet (and probably any straight drop incinerator design) is that once it's fired up - you can't use it again until it cools off. No matter how desperate the situation.

The other big issue, is from what I hear, the neighbors will be lynching you once they get a whiff. So, if you fire it up when you hit the road instead of every time you make a deposit, you can probably overcome the worst issues.



FYI: the big 250 lb. (!!!) EcoJohn "M1 Abrahms" model (The SR12) can had with a diesel burner:

http://ecojohn.com/ecojohn_sr.html


View attachment 197491

(to give an idea of the scale of this monster; I believe that chimney pipe is 8 inches outside diameter)



You know you want it! :Wow1:
LOL...The Echojohn, with it's 'auger moving waste design' allows repetitive use since the 'oven' is behind you but not under you. The optional catalytic converter is a must for the neighbors. Thank you for the generator input info. 'Quiet hours' would be the only problem with running it but then again, when my neighbors are that close, I will be in a civilized park with the ability to plug in and use their juice for burning our waste. The Sr5 has most of my interest at this point...kinda like the jeep of incinerators :ylsmoke:btw Does anybody know what Jay Shapiro utilized in their ECO-ROAMER?...I thought I read that they were intending to use a diesel fired unit.
 
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graynomad

Photographer, traveller
the scale of this monster
Yikes, I'll keep it in mind if I ever build a tank :)

I have to say that I would not be a fan of anything that requires mechanisms and power to work, I can see the advantage of not having sewage to deal with but there's too much to go wrong and when it does you are stuffed and a week's drive (or more) from a service agent. A porta potti or one of those pee-diverting johns have (almost) nothing to to fail.

In our new build we won't have a generator so that's not an option for us either.
 

magentawave

Adventurer
I agree 100%. The last thing I want to deal with in my rig while traveling is expensive and complicated energy sucking clap-trap so I'm building the $20 "compost" toilet with a pee diverter.

Yikes, I'll keep it in mind if I ever build a tank :)

I have to say that I would not be a fan of anything that requires mechanisms and power to work, I can see the advantage of not having sewage to deal with but there's too much to go wrong and when it does you are stuffed and a week's drive (or more) from a service agent. A porta potti or one of those pee-diverting johns have (almost) nothing to to fail.

In our new build we won't have a generator so that's not an option for us either.
 

4x4BNB

Adventurer
Vault toilet is really just an outhouse. A toilet seat built over a big hole. You find them at state and national campgrounds
 

Haf-E

Expedition Leader
Does anybody know what Jay Shapiro utilized in their ECO-ROAMER?...I thought I read that they were intending to use a diesel fired unit.
Not sure - but there was another guy who used a macerater pump and then injected the liquids into his diesel engine's exhaust while the rig was going down the highway...
 
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