A lot of people -upon stumbling upon an article carrying an alarming headline containing the words “Composting” toilet- are quick to want to learn more. Maybe the initial reaction all boils down to the fact that it’s a bit unheard of, challenging our core beliefs in an instant. Because -with brains configured to consider the benefits of trending products- it becomes difficult to come to terms with how a toilet that doubles as your ordinary garden compost can fulfill a useful purpose. After all, toilets are meant to be flushed, right? Well, the reality is that people are innovating and coming up with products that aren’t just unique, simple and affordable, but of benefit to man in ways that boggle the mind. The Sun Mar Composting Toilet is one such innovation and the good news is that you don’t have to experience it to believe it! Sun Mar composting toilet reviews are all over the internet, it’s high time you read your own.
Like most first time buyers, I was a little hesitant about whether to buy this for my new apartment. Being the adventurous type, it was unusual to find myself walking away with my head hung low. And besides being a hard sell, the timing of my purchase couldn’t have been worse as I was due to move in with my girlfriend. However, to my surprise, she warmed up to the idea -probably because she wanted to prove me wrong more than anything else- and I decided to go along with it and give it a shot. Suffice to say, it wasn’t as gross or disgusting as I thought. With learning and patience it’s hardly the maintenance nightmare it is made out to be. It’s actually hassle free compared to the conventional flush toilets we’re all used to. Anyway, enough of the comforting background story, let’s get into the finer details.
A composting toilet is basically a unique toilet that is designed to get rid of human excrement (urine and feces) through a biological process that has come to be known as composting. This process breaks down organic human matter and turns it into compost manure that can be used for agricultural purposes if you so desire it. At the center of the decomposition process are the typical microorganisms like bacteria and fungi that have an innate ability to break down biological matter. However, unlike the way they work in an open environment, the controlled aerobic conditions found in composting toilets make them more effective. It is for this and other reasons that these toilets don’t require flushing and are aptly referred to as dry toilets.
Compared to flush toilets, composting toilets have the clear advantage of not requiring any connection to sewer systems and septic tanks. They are standalone toilets that work irregardless of whether you have access to running water or despite not being presently connected to the local sewer lines. So it doesn’t come as a surprise that they’re popular in remote holiday cabins and resorts, rural areas that are off the grid, national parks and game reserves, as well as being a preferred alternative to pit latrines in developing countries. As an added plus, these toilets are fast becoming popular in areas prone to natural disasters. Here they provide an excellent cushion to sanitation systems in the wake of catastrophic disasters whose impact can be exacerbated by the lack of safe sanitation. However, that’s just a tip of the iceberg.
In farming communities -as well as for those in the horticulture business- composting toilets can be an environmentally sustainable agricultural practice that can increase efforts by agricultural agencies to reduce people’s reliance on artificial fertilizers. Built right outside the toilet is an external composting chamber where all the compost collects for removal and later use. Not only is organic manure great for plant growth and food synthesis, but it’s also clean, pure and highly potent.
How Does It Deal With The Issue Of Smell?
Some of the many by-products of the decomposition process are gases. Some of them are odorless -like methane- and some are -like ammonia, hydrogen sulfide and nitrous oxide. So since odor can lead to complaints from neighbors and cause discomfort to yourself, it was important for the inventors to address this issue head on, and they did!
The issue of smell is perhaps one of the most decisive factors when it comes to consumers taking up this novel concept. Unless you didn’t know, the microbial action of bacteria working it’s magic has the uncanny reputation of releasing odors that require a great deal of ventilation to get rid off. As such, ventilation was a key factor to consider for the inventors if at all composting toilets were to be openly received. Most commercial systems come with in-built fans that move air away from the bathroom via a waste container, and out through a ventilation pipe located above the roof. As for other units, you may have to use a manual rotating composting chamber or an aerator rake.
Maintenance is a critical aspect of all composting toilets. Not only does adequate and proper maintenance ensure optimum operation and prevent odors from spreading, but it also ensures that your unit lasts long. Typical maintenance tasks include the servicing of essential components like fans, the periodic removal of compost and urine, as well as ensuring that there is a sufficient amount of leachate to control moisture levels. And despite many commercial applications coming with a urine diversion system at the bottom of the composting chamber, leachate is a must buy.
As you would imagine, a composting toilet isn’t something you just buy at a whim. For the most part, people have a problem with smell, and it’s understandable to say the very least. However, when all is said and done, this is one of the most eco-friendly sanitation methods to have hit the market, particularly for rural areas and developing countries. And the best part is that most of the drawbacks are quickly overcome by regular routine maintenance. And if you read most Sun Mar composting toilet reviews, you’ll realise that they all say the same!