Wednesday 11 April 2018

Composting Toilet Built From Scratch For £26!

This weekend I completed a project I've been thinking about for a long time! I finally built a composting toilet! 
 This is project I've been thinking about for years. This place is really lacking an outside loo and it makes it such a pain when I'm outside to have to come in and take my boots off. I really needed an old school brick outhouse but I haven't the time or the money to do it. So I looked at what I've got and what I could do with it.

I thought it would be good if the toilet could be moved around using the tractor. That way I could keep it by the workshop most of the time and then if I have friends camping I can move it down to the field.

To have a movable system I decided that a bucket system using sawdust would work well. I could compost the "waste" elsewhere when the bucket was full and use it on trees etc when it had composted completly.

So using a Euro pallet, like I did with the Movable Firewood Stores, I worked out that it would be big enough for a toilet. I then started to build it up with pallet collars, I get these for free.
 Once I got so high I added the corner posts so it could all be fixed. The posts allow for a slope for the roof.
 It was easy and fast to build up using the collars.
 The last few were cut the same angle as the roof using the jig saw.
 To create the door I just cut down the hinge straps along the one side with the grinder.
 This then meant the other side could be used as the door hinge.
For the roof I used some old perspex sheeting a friend saved for me when he was taking down a lean to years ago. Works well as it lets in plenty of light.

The floor was just some old ply I had left over from the extension. I brought this stuff second hand anyway and it's been used quite a few time already!
 I built the toilet around a B&Q plasterers bucket (£6.99), it's a little high but I'm quite tall anyway.
 I found an old loo seat we had left from a previous project. It had no fittings though so I glued it to the ply and made some dowels to hold the lid on.
 The ply over the toilet lifts up to allow access to the bucket.
 I divided off the area either side was partitioned to hold the sawdust needed for the system to work.
The picture above is the system all in place and finished.
The toilet certainly doesn't look pretty but it is practical and hopefully will save me a bit of time and helps me close one more self sufficiency "loop" on our little homestead here, more nutrients trapped here and not leaving system.

I'll use a biodegradable bag in the bucket to make cleaning easier. Sawdust is no problem with all the woodwork I do so it should be incredibly cheap to keep it running.

I'm looking forward to seeing how this system works in practice and I'll report back in a few months and let you all know! Silly to get excited about a toilet but I'm so keen to see how this works!

Anyone else use a composting toilet?

How would you build one?


  1. Where is the crescent moon???? Here in the USA Midwest, it was always traditional to have a crescent moon cut into the door. My grandfather said the reason for it was so you could see if anyone was in there using it.....


    1. There is one on the front - you can see it on the last picture! i just cut it a little big so put a bit of ply behind it! More like a window!

  2. Great idea. You should get the contract supplying musical festivals.

    John Seymour's book of self sufficiency has a great diagram and how to construct a compost toilet.

    1. My own poo is enough to deal with! I looked for the pictures in John Seymours last night and couldn't find them. What page?

    2. The New complete book of self sufficiency Kev. Page 236 The Dry Toilet.

  3. I have wanted an outside biffy (as we call it in Minnesota) for ever so long! It truly would be so convenient year 'round as far as I'm concerned. I had never thought of building it so it would be moveable though. Good thinking, Kev!!

    1. Thanks Mama Pea! I just thought that way I could take ti down the field if I had friends staying. Far more convenient!

  4. hi. from mother earth news magazine a coon's age ago.
    their office had an experiment. two laundry hampers with earth and earthworms in the bottom were put in the company restroom..
    all toilet paper was to be put in one , after a few months all toilet pare was put in the second hamper.
    the first hamper was retired.
    the flush toilet was used but the paper was not flushed.
    at the summer picnic the first hamper was brought forth and, amid cries of 'don't do it!' THE CONTENTS WERE POURED OUT. ALL BEAUTIFUL CLEAN GARDEN SOIL WITH NO TRACE OF PAPER OR POO.
    sorry about caps, errant little finger.
    don't remember if the worms had any thing added to the hamper after its use was cut off.

    'coon's age'--hillbilly expression meaning 'a long, long time'.

    1. So why do they separate the toilet paper? Is it so the sawdust goes straight on the poop? I'm looking forward to seeing the compost it produces but I think it'll be a long while yet!

  5. You forgot the interior nail for hanging that essential picture of Donald Trump.

    1. There's nails in there, but more for hanging sweet smelling herbs just in case it starts to smell. I remain optimistic that it won't though!

  6. OK, one last bit of fun with poo. Here is a link to an old book that is just hilarious.

    It is called 'The Specialist' and was written by an American Vaudevillian about a carpenter who decides to specialize in outhouse (biffy) construction. It is very short and funny. FYI, the Baldwins and Norther Spy that he refers to indicate the little house is set back in the orchard. Those are apple varieties. Enjoy!

  7. Looks great, Kev. And with the 3 kids it's going to be a blessing. Looks pretty buttoned-up though. Will you be adding cross-ventilation along the top?

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