At MNN, we’ve spoken warmly of composting toilets — on a fairly regular basis, no less. But although we are all curious and interested in composting toilets, I don’t think any of the MNN writers or bloggers actually have a composting toilet at home.
That’s why I read about Leslie Richard’s experience with her composting toilet with great interest. Leslie, who lives in a cabin out in the woods in North Carolina, has a Nature’s Head Composting toilet. I’ve been following Leslie’s blog, The Oko Box, since before she got the toilet — and let’s just say that her enthusiasm for the contraption has waned considerably since she first got the toilet.
Back in Feb. last year, Leslie sounded almost in love with the Nature’s Head Composting toilet, describing it as “Humanure simplicity meets composting toilet design.” That’s when she’d just gotten the toilet.
By April 2010, Leslie still sounded pretty enthused — but also rather grossed out. Why? She didn’t realize the urine container had been filled past capacity until she went to empty the thing:
NOT realizing it was more then full & had just hit it’s capacity at the top, filling up into the draining part of the toilet – when i took the toilet apart to open the lid and casually pull out the little urine holder the URINE EXPLODED, SPiLLeD out like a waterfall into the bucket that holds the container!!!!! THEN onto the floor! and on my hands!!
Fast forward to Oct. 2010, and Leslie had taken to describing her feelings about her composting toilet as a love/hate relationship. She even created a helpful educational video showing how the composting toilet works in real life — “with stains, skank and dank right out in the open.” Watch the graphic video!
Finally, just today, Leslie put up an even darker-sounding post: “Composting Toilet Reality Check.” Her basic point is this: Some green products sound way nicer in their marketing descriptions than they actually work in real life. In Leslie’s case, there’s a lot more urine dumping, under-composted poop scooping, and less-than-fun cleanup activities involved in owning this toilet than she’d anticipated.
Leslie hasn’t turned against composting toilets altogether. But she does have some advice: “Find a composting system that makes the removal of the waste as simple as possible, because in a ideal world it’s black dirt, in the real world someone took a s*** yesterday and it didn’t get a chance to become black gold.”
Do you own a composting toilet? Do you like it?
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