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Types of toilets

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Toilets are an opportunity to reclaim plant nutrients from food which has been partially "processed" by humans. At present though, they are more often used to create water pollution or to contaminate the environment and spread disease.

  • Pit toilets and latrines: both basically have a container holding the feces (not a septic tank as this allows microbial processing)
  • Flush toilets (connected to the sewage collection system
  • Flush toilets (connected to a septic tank or biodigester): when hooked up to a septic tank, the effluent can be disposed of into the soil using a drain field or it can be used as fertiliser (probably still needs treatment then though, atleast when using human feces). When using a biodigester, it no longer requires treatment for being able to use the effluent as fertiliser, and it also generates some biogas, which can be used as an energy source.[1]Connecting a flush toilet to an anaerobic digester reference 2</ref> To reduce the size of the septic tank or biodigester, it is best to reduce the water use of the flush toilet (to a low-flush toilet) if possible.
  • Composting toilets
  • Dessicating or Drying toilets: these simply dry the feces, and have no composting process going on. In dry climates, desiccating/drying toilets may sometimes be more appropriate than composting toilets. This is because the dry ambient air can be encouraged to flow through the faeces chamber removing any moisture, thus rendering the faeces dry and odourless. Some of these toilets are called "UDD (urine diversion-dehydrating) toilets". These dehydrate the urine, often through the use of a faeces chamber or black ventilation pipe that has been painted black and left exposed to the sun.
  • Electric incinerating toilets turn excrement into a small amount of ash. They are cool to the touch, have no water and no pipes, and require an air vent in a wall. They are used in remote areas where use of septic tanks is limited, usually to reduce nutrient loads in lakes.
  • Seawater toilet; developed by Tessa van den Brandt
  • Vacuum toilet; developed by Grietje Zeeman /DeSaH
  • Microwave toilet; developed by Georgios Stefanidis
  • Algae toilet; developed by Bas Ibelings (NIOO-KNAW)[2]

See also[edit]


  1. Connecting a flush toilet to an anaerobic digester
  2. NWT magazine, february 2012

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