The Composting Toilet

So I wish this wasn’t one of the more memorable things about our trip to Kauai, but it has been.

Our cottage had a composting toilet, which was composed of a wooden box with a hinged top with a hole in it and a full toilet seat that rested on top of that. Under the hinged lid was a Home Depot 5 gallon bucket. Next to the box was a covered can with sawdust and a scoop.

When we arrived, the owner gave the spiel. We were to use the toilet as we would, throwing the paper in there too, and then cover it with a scoop of sawdust. When we arrived, the sawdust in the can was fine and easy to scoop – no problem. When the bucket filled up or got too smelly, we were supposed to open the hinged lid, take out the bucket, put another big scoop of sawdust over the top, and put the bucket´s lid on. Then we were to leave the bucket outside the cottage and they would take it away.

Here is what I loved about the experience:

  • Peeing in the empty bucket. Ooh, how fun!
  • The first few times I scooped sawdust over the contents. A novelty!
  • Learning how much waste we produce (about a 5 gallon bucket a day, including lots of sawdust). Eek!
  • That it didn’t smell at all! In fact a poo in that toilet, covered in sawdust, smells not at all when the next person goes a few minutes later. In our experience… (Maybe we just ate no red meat while we were here though, which is true…)
  • Feeling like I was not murdering the planet too much.
  • Not having to deal with the waste after we put the bucket outside.

Here is what I did not love about the experience:

  • That after that first can of sawdust, the owner replaced it with dried bamboo leaves and other large and awkward to scoop plant matter, so it was difficult to scoop and messy.
  • The flies.
  • Remembering what to do in the middle of the night.
  • Going outside, in the rain, to get to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
  • Switching the bucket/refilling the sawdust can/other basic maintenance when all I wanted to do was a quick pee.

But, hey, I pee a lot. Maybe someone who uses the bathroom less frequently would not find it as aggravating.

All in all, it was not too hard. I even was googling composting toilets, thinking maybe there was a way to have one in our house in Norway. I am not sure yet.

Glad I got the experience, and glad that particular experience is over! 🙂


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