Published by City Farmer, Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture


Composting Toilets

(C) Copyright: City Farmer

Information on the use of composting toilets in cities is not easy to find. Building and plumbing codes don't encourage installation. Compost toilet systems are more common in parks, roadside facilities and vacation homes.

Toilet Tech presents a low-cost and low-hazard solution for the management of waterless human waste at public and private sites. Toilet Tech's urine diverting invertebrate decomposition toilets are superior to: expensive barrel fly out toilets, hazardous and ineffective conventional composting toilets, and water polluting pit toilets. 100% of urine is diverted and treated onsite by native or engineered soil. Fecal matter and toilet paper are consumed by invertebrates leaving very little residue. No bulking agent is required. Highly stabilized waste extraction is very infrequent. Odor is very low.

City Farmer has a Compost Toilet!
"But how do we use it", the staff wanted to know? "There's no water in the bowl, no handle for flushing. What can we throw in it, how do we keep track of how much human waste goes in, and what words should we use to describe our waste?"

Sun-Mar Composting Toilets. Zero environmental impact. Use no water. Works with nature to produce fertilizer and evaporate liquids. Useful in cottages, cabins, pool cabanas, residences.

The C.K. Choi Building
at The University of British Columbia

Institute of Asian Research

In Vancouver, British Columbia, a 30,000 sq. ft. office complex, utilizes composting toilets and urinals for human waste disposal. The new building, which houses The Institute of Asian Research, is not connected to the city's sewer system. As well, a subsurface, greywater recycling system with phragmite (tall grasses) plant varieties, cleanses the greywater which is then used for on-site irrigation.

[Update: Feb 2016 - Waste Management: Sanitary wastewater is reduced through the use of the composting toilets. The composting toilets dramatically decrease the amount of wastewater that is sent to the sanitary sewer from the building. To manage the risks of pathogens from the composting toilets, the partially-composted contents of the toilets are periodically pumped out for separate processing off campus. The small amount of excess liquid generated is sent to the sanitary sewer. Based on experience to date, pumping out is expected to be required no more than every 18 months. In the original design, the plants and microbial community of the outdoor greywater recycling trench were used to treat greywater collected from sinks for irrigation. Because greywater from sinks is collected together with liquid from the toilets, the greywater is now also sent to the sanitary sewer. Water from the subsurface rainwater holding tank is fed to the greywater recycling trench to ensure that the plant life in the greywater trench is never left dry. See: Choi Building

The C K Choi Building at UBC is the first all-Clivus Multrum large-scale office-building project in Canada.

There are a total of 5 Clivus Multrum Model M28 Composters at the Choi Building...with ten flushless toilets and, in addition, several flushless, trapless ventilated urinals attached to them. Each of these Clivus Composters has an annually user capacity rated at 45,000 visits. Therefore, the total annual rated capacity for the Clivus systems there is 225,000 visits. All of the Choi building's washwater (greywater) is processed on-site separately.
For further particulars, inquiries can be directed to:

Clivus Multrum

Project Architects:
Matsuzaki Wright Architects Inc.
Suite 2410-1177 W. Hastings St.
Vancouver, B.C. V6E 2K3
Fax: (604) 685-3180

Design For the Next Millennium
The C.K. Choi Building for the Institute of Asian Research

Edited by Eleanor R. Laquian, 1996, 88 pgs.
Available at the Institute of Asian Research
C.K. Choi Building, Room 251
1855 West Mall, UBC
Vancouver BC Canada V6T 1Z2
Ph: 604-822-4688
hardcover Can$30
paperback Can$20


The Composting Toilet System Book: A Practical Guide to Choosing, Planning and Maintaining Composting Toilets, a Water-Saving, Pollution-Preventing Wastewater Alternative
by David Del Porto and Carol Steinfeld 1999
8.5" x 11", 240 pages, 300+ photos and illustrations, Black and white with color cover.
In this book, you will find

To buy directly on-line follow this link:
The Composting Toilet Systems Book: A Practical Guide to Choosing, Planning and Maintaining Composting Toilet Systems
Or by mail: The Center for Ecological Pollution Prevention (CEPP)
P.O. Box 1330 Concord, MA 01742-01330
Tel.: 978/369-9440
Price including shipping: US$ 33.25 (USA), US$ 43.95 (EUR 38.60) (International)

The Humanure Handbook A Guide To Composting Human Manure by Joseph Jenkins Award winning second edition, Published July, 1999,302 pages, 29 photos including color, over 100 tables and figures, indexed.
"Written by a humanure composting practitioner and organic gardener with over 20 years experience, this second edition provides detailed scientific information on how humanure can be hygienically recycled, without fancy technological do-dads, a large bank account, toxic chemicals, or environmental pollution. This unique handbook provides information on composting, soil fertility and microorganisms, alternative graywater systems and much more."

Colin Garland teamed up with Carol Steinfeld of the Center for Ecological Pollution Prevention (CEPP) to build
a composting toilet on Isla Coronado

Future Fertility
Transforming Human Waste Into Human Wealth
by John Beeby
Future Fertility:Transforming Human Waste into Human Wealth
Or by mail: Bountiful Gardens
18001 Shafer Ranch Road
Willits CA 95490 - 9626 USA
1995 164 pages $18.50 plus shipping
"Despite all of the knowledge humankind has accumulated in the past 10,000 years, we still do not know fully how to use our urine and manure to fertilize our farmlands in a way that is simple and efficient, will not spread disease, and will benefit the soil. This knowledge is increasingly important as soils continue to lose the minerals and organic matter they need to remain fertile. Discovering how to utilize our waste as fertilizer is the challenge we must meet if our farmlands are to continue to provide us with food."

The Toilet Papers: Recycling Waste and Conserving Water
By Sim Van der Ryn
The Toilet Papers, originally published in the 1970's, provides an informative, inspiring, and irreverent look at how people have dealt with human wastes over the centuries. He also discusses the history and philosophy of turning organic wastes into a rich humus, linking us to the fertility of the soil and ensuring our ultimate well-being.

Oasis Design publishes books on greywater systems.
ECO DESIGN Sustainable Housing
Build-It-Yourself Compost Toilet & Greywater Recycling System Manual
POB 2000, Fairfield Gardens
4103, Australia
Ph: 61-(0)7-3848-0846
Fax: 61-(0)7-3848-0548

Appalachian Trail Conference/Green Mountain Club Backcountry Sanitation Manual
Pete Antos-Ketcham and Richard Andrews authored and edited the Appalachian Trail Conference/Green Mountain Club Backcountry Sanitation Manual in 2001. It is an online PDF manual that features information on several owner-built and commercially made composting toilet systems that are being used to manage human waste at high use campsites on the Long Trail and Appalachian Trail. This manual and the systems would be of interest to those who want to manage sewage in the frontcountry or the backcountry.




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Revised Feb 22, 2016

Published by City Farmer
Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture