There are many different kinds of composting toilet systems currently available for home consumers to purchase. Composting toilet systems generally contain the following four components:
- a reactor, which is the container in which the composting takes place;
- an exhaust system, to remove odors and help control liquid build up;
- a means by which to turn the compost (for some systems, some will not need turning);
- a way to remove the finished compost, which may be as simple as an access door to the finished product
How these four features are integrated into the composting system vary considerably, as there are many different composting toilet models that have been developed by composting toilet manufacturers. With most composting toilet systems the entire composting process will take between six to twelve months of time, after which you will be able to remove the finish compost and use it as a soil amendment for trees, flowers and other non-agricultural uses.
When evaluating composting toilet systems, it is important to know that there are two important different ways in which these systems can be installed in your home.
First, there are self-contained composting toilets. With a self-contained unit, the composting process takes places in a reactor directly under the toilet seat. These composting toilets are often quite high and large, and may need a small footstool for use.
Next there are remote composting toilets (also called “split” or “centralized”). With these systems, the reactor is located in another area of the house, often in a basement. The advantage of remote composting toilet systems is that the toilets look and are used in a manner which is quite similar to regular flush toilets. There are even micro-flush remote composting toilet units which use a small amount of water, and look nearly identical to regular flush toilets.
Self-contained composting toilets are generally cheaper to use and easier to install than remote composting toilets. However remote composting toilets are able to serve more users and are often easier to clean and maintain than self-contained units.