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Old 07-23-2016, 08:08 PM   #1
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Question Composting or Black Water?

Correct me if someone has already started a thread on this; I haven't seen one.

My wife and I currently live in a bus with a blackwater system. I've never had any qualms about it, blackwater ain't so bad, but we've been considering the idea of a proper composting system. We're converting a bus and one of our plans is for me to work remotely and spend extended stays near large cities when required. I don't want to be desperately looking for a place to dump blackwater when the need arises.

So whats the general feeling bout composting toilets from the experts? Do you guys have any insight that could make this decision a no brainer?
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Old 07-23-2016, 08:21 PM   #2
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I will go with a composting toilet, not because of black water squeamishness. I don't want to take up extra space or time with a blackwater tank. Space is at a premium on a skoolie. I also plan to be boondocking more than half the time.

If you spend the money on a Nature's Head unit, I don't think you'll be sorry. Yes, they're almost a thousand bucks w/shipping. I've never heard anyone complain about the NH toilet. I have a lot of experience with DIY composters. Outside, if replacing an open pit latrine, DIY is fine. At home or in an enclosed area, not so much. The Nature's Head, Sun-Mar and Separett toilets seem to be great. Reviews and thoughts are all over the NET and Youtube. Just make sure you get a unit that separates #1 from #2. Mixing the two is what causes most of the problems.

You can find a lot more discussion in the following threads...

http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f10/ba...let-12625.html
http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f9/com...buses-305.html
http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f13/co...lets-4195.html
http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f13/ma...lets-3031.html

Good luck!
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Old 07-23-2016, 09:38 PM   #3
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Thanks. I've seen a fair bit on those three models. I guess I'm just the skeptical sort; I just need a little reassurance from folks like you who agree that the whole principle isn't nutz.
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Old 07-23-2016, 10:02 PM   #4
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Thanks. I've seen a fair bit on those three models. I guess I'm just the skeptical sort; I just need a little reassurance from folks like you who agree that the whole principle isn't nutz.
There is a thread bathroom/ toilet with same kinda question I asked. In fact CaptSquid bought I think the natures head and explained a lot about it.
I just asked to see if he is happy or regrets as I haven't heard anything back for his review.

http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f10/ba...tml#post156424
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Old 07-23-2016, 10:34 PM   #5
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If there were any problems with the NH toilet, these two would be all over it.

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Old 07-23-2016, 10:44 PM   #6
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If there were any problems with the NH toilet, these two would be all over it.

I forgot about them.
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Old 07-23-2016, 11:26 PM   #7
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So another question. I know it'll vary by location, but I was under the impression that it's safe and legal to throw away as garbage if need be. Is that generally correct?

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Old 07-23-2016, 11:39 PM   #8
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So another question. I know it'll vary by location, but I was under the impression that it's safe and legal to throw away as garbage if need be. Is that generally correct?

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That is correct. Empty the bin into a plastic bag and drop it in the trash. Some campgrounds and rv parks have started large compost bins to empty into. That way the compost can go to landscaping as opposed to the landfill.
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Old 07-23-2016, 11:43 PM   #9
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Thank you very much everyone!

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Old 07-24-2016, 12:38 AM   #10
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I currently have a Jabsco waterless toilet installed but haven't bought my black tank yet. I have always wondered why I couldn't put in the composting toilet I have down back in the cabin. I used it for two years with no problem except I never connected up the drain tube so a lot of liquid built up.

I didn't persue this as Clint was adamant about "it not going in the bus".

I am now back to wondering. I have a Sun-Mar Centrex 2000 NE that's been set up & not used for the past 9 years. the link Central Composting Toilets by Sun-Mar
I was thinking I may have more than enough room under the bus for the composting unit and was wondering if anyone has anything to offer up on this idea.
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Old 07-24-2016, 01:34 AM   #11
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I currently have a Jabsco waterless toilet installed but haven't bought my black tank yet. I have always wondered why I couldn't put in the composting toilet I have down back in the cabin. I used it for two years with no problem except I never connected up the drain tube so a lot of liquid built up.

I didn't persue this as Clint was adamant about "it not going in the bus".

I am now back to wondering. I have a Sun-Mar Centrex 2000 NE that's been set up & not used for the past 9 years. the link Central Composting Toilets by Sun-Mar
I was thinking I may have more than enough room under the bus for the composting unit and was wondering if anyone has anything to offer up on this idea.
If you have room for the central unit, beneath the "porcelain", then why not?
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Old 07-24-2016, 06:54 AM   #12
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I would go for it. Blackwater systems are a waste. It wastes clean drinking water. It requires plumbing, holding tank, valves, hoses, and cleaning of all the hoses ect. Composting is the only way to go.
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Old 07-24-2016, 07:05 AM   #13
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I would go for it. Blackwater systems are a waste. It wastes clean drinking water. It requires plumbing, holding tank, valves, hoses, and cleaning of all the hoses ect. Composting is the only way to go.
I wouldn't say the ONLY. I don't want a litterbox.
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Old 07-24-2016, 07:33 PM   #14
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The_Breeze, if you've never lived off a black tank for extended periods, it's not so bad. But it's not convenient either. I'd be excited to see one of those Sun-Mars in a bus. My idea was that if we decided to go compost I might drop the tank through the floor and have it removable from the exterior.

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Old 07-25-2016, 08:32 AM   #15
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I wouldn't say the ONLY. I don't want a litterbox.
I'm not saying it doesn't take some time to get used to the process but super easy. A bus is a different situation. At home you could easily do the sawdust bucket type toilet instead of contaminating thousands of gallons of ground water (a typical rural septic system does) of city sewer which is already overwhelmed and the treat it as a WASTE product instead of returning the nutrients back to the soil (some municipal waste water treatment facilities are wising up and composting then selling the finished product to homeowners and farmers as soil amendments). A composting toilet is expensive but may be worth it on a bus.
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Old 07-25-2016, 04:39 PM   #16
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I'm not saying it doesn't take some time to get used to the process but super easy. A bus is a different situation. At home you could easily do the sawdust bucket type toilet instead of contaminating thousands of gallons of ground water (a typical rural septic system does) of city sewer which is already overwhelmed and the treat it as a WASTE product instead of returning the nutrients back to the soil (some municipal waste water treatment facilities are wising up and composting then selling the finished product to homeowners and farmers as soil amendments). A composting toilet is expensive but may be worth it on a bus.
OUr city tap water is reclaimed from my poo, so its not like I'm flushing it to the ocean. The solids are separated from the liquids and the stuff is sold for fertilizer or whatever.
Not a perfect system, but its not as bad as some make is sound.
A composting toilet doesn't HAVE to be expensive. Poop don't care about bling. If I ever go the litterbox route, I'm gonna build my own. No way I'd ever pay a grand for some plastic poo tray.
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Old 07-25-2016, 04:54 PM   #17
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I built my own composting toilet, used it almost exclusively for a two week trip recently. No smell, no muss, no fuss. It worked better than I expected. Emptied the bag twice, as long as you use a good cover material it works like a charm.
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Old 07-26-2016, 06:08 AM   #18
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I'm a mobile Diesel Tech and as you can imagine a bathroom is hard to find when you need it. I found this site years ago. The Humanure Handbook - Basic instructions for using a humanure toilet. I use a 5 gallon bucket and some cover material such as peat moss, saw dust, shredded paper, ect. Easy and cheap. I have multiple compost piles at home. Not as easy on a bus full time but weekends or vactaion would be fine.
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Old 07-26-2016, 09:58 AM   #19
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OUr city tap water is reclaimed from my poo, so its not like I'm flushing it to the ocean. The solids are separated from the liquids and the stuff is sold for fertilizer or whatever.
Not a perfect system, but its not as bad as some make is sound.
A composting toilet doesn't HAVE to be expensive. Poop don't care about bling. If I ever go the litterbox route, I'm gonna build my own. No way I'd ever pay a grand for some plastic poo tray.
I gotta say I have seen the workings of a treatment plant. If it was just your poo that went in there you'd probably be ok at that. There is all kinds of
"stuff " and chemicals that get flushed down not just the poo. Then after filtering and cleaning and separating there is more chemicals that get put in there to get it to drinking status.

I think some places are finding new ways to clean it without all the chemicals... Not sure how.

I agree with you that the price sucks. But prices suck when you attach recycle, reclaim, reuse, to a product. Just like anything else. I'm all for someone making a profit but do really need to be that high in price
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Old 08-04-2016, 10:30 AM   #20
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I built my own composting toilet, used it almost exclusively for a two week trip recently. No smell, no muss, no fuss. It worked better than I expected. Emptied the bag twice, as long as you use a good cover material it works like a charm.
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I'm a mobile Diesel Tech and as you can imagine a bathroom is hard to find when you need it. I found this site years ago. The Humanure Handbook - Basic instructions for using a humanure toilet. I use a 5 gallon bucket and some cover material such as peat moss, saw dust, shredded paper, ect. Easy and cheap. I have multiple compost piles at home. Not as easy on a bus full time but weekends or vactaion would be fine.
Do you guys separate liquids from solids in your DIY systems? If so, how? I too hate the idea of spending a grand on a plastic toilet, but I can certainly see the efficiency of the Natures Head design.
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