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Introduction to Dry Compost Toilets

The Western modern toilets has many absuridities and flaws. We are defecating in fresh water, then spending so much energy and time to treat this water again. The goverment requires the municipality to maintain highly costly sewage treatment facilities for this purpose. This act of wantedly polluting our water is unnecessary.

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Each of us use the toilet about 5 times a day. Each flush uses about 25-30 litres of water. In a family of 4, that's about 500-600 litres of fresh water being polluted everyday.


Many of us use Western Toilets and build septic tanks to collect our wastes,which needs to cleaned from time to time. Manual scavenging of lower caste people in Tamilnadu is still prevalent in practise. There are many deaths of Manual scavengers from the attack of poisonous gases accumulated in the septic tanks.

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In Organic farming, we efficiently use Manures of cows,goats and hens to keep our soil fertile. We are wasting human manure and depriving our soils of the human wastes that are rich in Carbon, nitrogen,potash and Phosphorous. Or we could even use our wastes to fuel biogases of our kitchens.


Doing our morning duties out in the open and covering them with soil to let it decompose was the practise of the commons. The idea of defectating in the open has become reduntant when we built cities. Living in close proximities didnot give us the space to decompose our wastes. While defectating in the open is eco-friendly, there are privacy and safety issues that concerns us all.


Toilets weren't a complete western thought. Ancient India had Squat pit toilets, used only by the powerful and the rich. Today, a good solution for us is the Dry Compost Toilet.


Toilet Made of Araish Plaster, Rajasthan


Toilets in Medieval Europe & England


Dry compost toilets are water-free toilets that turn our feces into compost to be used as manure later. Dry toilets do not require a septic tank or even plumbing, reducing the cost of toilets considerably.


Dry toilet concept is to basically defecate into a toilet pan, where our feces fall into a container built below. After defecating, a carbon rich material is used to cover the waste. Sawdust, coco peat, soil are common additives that helps our waste to decompose by trigerring the growth of micro organisms. This is aerobic composting done in the presence of air and hence we donot have to worry about poisnous gases.

dry compost toilet mechanism

During biodegradation of the wastes, mesophilic or thermophilic bacterias form, which break down all the wastes into compost. Other microbes of fungi, mould and many others too form and break it down to simple soil-like odourless compost.

The bio degradation of the feces causes the reduction of any pathogenic micro-organism.

However if any presence of pharmaceutical wastes or critical pathogens are present, that compost needs to be discharged carfeully.


The design of Dry toilets require the toilet seating or pan to be at a higher level, so we can collect the decomposted feces at the bottom of the ground level. It is advisable to build two toilets next to each other.When the pit of one toilet gets filled, it can be left to compost and one can start using the other toilet.This composting process can be sped up by the use of natural enzymes or bacterias that help to compost the manure faster.


The collection chamber needs to have a access door which is used to collect all the human manure after decomposing. The chamber also requires a small vent which releases any gases that many accumulate. The floor of the chamber needs a correct slope of drain, for any excess liquid to channel off into the ground.


This method of dry compost toilets can be built in the first floor also, designed to collect the wastes at the ground floor.

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