What is a composting toilet?
Composting toilets harness the natural processes of decomposition and evaporation to recycle human waste. Waste entering toilets is over 90% water. Composting toilets use a ventilation system that evaporates this water and carries it back into the atmosphere. The small amount of remaining solid material is then converted to useful fertilizing soil through the natural process of decomposition.
This decomposition process, essentially the same as in your garden composter, is enhanced in commercial composting toilets by manipulating the environment in the composting chamber. The correct balance between oxygen, moisture, heat, and organic material is maintained to ensure a rich environment for the aerobic bacteria to transform the waste into fertilizing soil. This ensures an odor-free operation and the complete decomposition of waste.
When human waste is properly composted, the end product does not contain any pathogens or viruses, which are destroyed by bacterial breakdown. This nutrient-rich fertilizer can then be used on farms, reducing the need for commercial fertilizers and preserving local water quality.
Why use composting toilets?
In rural Tibetan areas, there are no sewage systems like those in urban areas because of its high altitude and various challenges of development in those areas. Most homes in rural areas have no running water. Local residents must either fetch water from nearby rivers or springs. Hence supplying running water in toilets is out of the question. A standard toilet in rural Tibetan areas is a deep hole in the ground, often without privacy partitions, where the waste collects in a shallow pit that cannot decompose properly and gives off noxious vapors.
The need for solutions for toilets in rural Tibetan areas is basic but critical. We, being a social enterprise, took measures to improve toilet conditions by building eco-friendly toilets. Not only do eco-toilets solve the problem of disposing of human waste, the compost it produces is the main source of fertilizer for local farmers. Rural households store their composted waste in the eco-toilets until it is needed for fertilizing the soil. This compost is probably one of the best non-chemical fertilizers in the world.
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