How composting toilets work

composting toilet diagram

Technically, a “composting toilet” is a toilet in which composting takes place. Usually, the composting chamber is located under the toilet. The most basic way to compost humanure is simply to collect it in a toilet receptacle and add it to a compost pile. The toilet acts only as a collection device, while the composting takes place at a separate location. Such a toilet requires little, if any, expense and can be constructed and operated by people of simple means in a wide range of cultures around the world.

Composting toilets are recycling devices that create no pollution and recover the soil nutrients in human manure and urine.


Aerobic composting works the same way as garden composting, except faster, using naturally occurring aerobic (air-requiring) bacteria in a controlled, secured environment. Over time this producers safe, environmentally friendly compost.