Most composting toilets developed to date have been “dry” in design, meaning they use no water to flush waste, thus helping preserve this valuable and rapidly diminishing global resource. Every year composting toilets prevent millions of gallons of water from being unnecessarily flushed away. But for some consumers, it has been difficult to adjust to the change in technology involved with dry composting technology, and they have been reluctant to adopt composting toilets because of the lack of a flushing mechanism even though they may be supportive of the technology for environmental and social reasons.
To help encourage the use of composting toilets by these consumers, there have been several “micro-flush” and “vacuum flush” composting toilets designed by manufacturers during the past decade. These models closely resemble a conventional flush toilet. Some users may not even be aware that they are using a composting toilet at all!
Although micro-flush composting toilets are not waterless, the amount of water they use is still much less than with even low flush conventional toilets. Micro-flush composting toilets are still able to save thousands of gallons of water each year from being flushed away.
Micro-flush toilet composting models generally use less than half a liter to flush waste into a centralized reactor (composting chamber) located beneath the composting toilet. Some micro-flush composting toilets also rely on vacuum flush technology to ensure the waste travels quickly and to the composting chamber, and also helps eliminate some problems with finding a suitable location for the composting chamber. The vacuum flush system also helps ensure that these models are odor-free as well (although odor is not usually a problem with any electric composting toilet model that is properly maintained).
An example of this technology can be found with the Envirolet VF composting toilet which can flush waste up to seventy feet away and upwards up to twelve feet using vacuum flush technology. These models are not as cheap as regular composting toilet models (the Envirolet VF model starts around $3200), but for those interested in a composting toilet that closely resembles a regular flush toilet it is an excellent choice.
Because composting toilets rely on aerobic decomposition, excess water will need to be drained from most micro flush composting toilet models. This is because with excess water in the system, proper composting will not occur, and the system may revert to anaerobic decomposition instead (for an explanation of these terms, read “How Toilet Composting Works“).
Some may argue that instead of creating new composting models that resemble conventional flush toilets, consumers should simply adjust to the most appropriate and environmentally friendly technology. This may be the ideal, but micro flush composting toilets can encourage many consumers to take the step towards switching to a composting toilet system when they may not otherwise do so. Given the environmental benefits of micro flush composting toilets when compared to conventional flush toilets, this is definitely a step in the right direction.
For more information and useful articles about composting toilets, including reviews of other types of composting toilet systems and models, please return to the best composting toilet homepage.