Learning how to create an off-grid toilet for your off-grid cabins or homestead is an important lesson that will help you prepare for the future.
It can save you and your fellow off-grid partners a world of trouble and prevent you from dealing with bad smells.
While there are plenty of ways to deal with waste when you go off the grid, this comprehensive post makes everything easy.
First, you must know what off-grid solution will suit your needs.
Things to Consider When Choosing How to Create an Off-Grid Toilet System
There are many options available to those who are concerned with how to create an off-grid toilet. There are age-old practices and some suited to modern sensibilities.
Keep in mind your setup’s unique requirements and limitations.
Ease of Installation
While most off-grid toilet installations aren’t exactly rocket science, you will need a bit of familiarity before diving into how to create an off-grid toilet.
Frequency of Use
How many people will use the toilet, and for how long? This calculation will determine how often you must empty the holding tank.
If you’re housing a large group of people, it’s better to go with a huge capacity tank.
While there are high-spec regular toilets that require little to no maintenance, they can be expensive to set up. The more affordable options will require frequent emptying.
Studying the maintenance element of each off-grid toilet is an essential factor in how to create an off-grid toilet and should help you decide the best option for you.
Take a look at our hygiene and clean sanitation guides to stay safe and clean off-grid.
Ventilation and Weather
The local climate will influence the best type of toilet and where to install it. Outhouse toilets are inconvenient during harsh winters, while warmer temperatures emphasize bad smells and attract pests.
Make sure your toilet will fare well in all weather conditions in your area.
Disposal of Waste
Consider where and how you’ll be disposing of human waste. You can integrate your waste disposal system into a septic tank or raw sewage system.
You can opt for composting for maximum self-sufficiency.
Learn how to create an off-grid toilet that diverts urine to a separate pipe or tank. You can then dispose of the urine in the undergrowth or a public bathroom. This will make solid waste disposal much more manageable.
Electric or Not
Incinerator toilets or regular toilets require electricity to work, so you must have a reliable power grid.
Before you can tackle how to create an off-grid toilet, check if your choices comply with local regulations and health codes and requirements. This is especially important if you want to explore off-grid living in the long term.
The Benefits of an Off-Grid Toilet
- When you know how to create an off-grid toilet, you can live a normal life wherever you go.
- You can extend your water supply.
- They are effective toilets for human waste disposal and management solutions in remote locations.
- You can turn fecal matter into a compost pile for your garden.
- Composting off-grid sanitation toilets are sustainable options.
Types of Off-Grid Toilets
Here are some popular off-grid toilet systems, features, and links to purchase them.
1. Off-Grid Regular Toilet
A regular toilet provides all that a normal toilet does. It only needs a simple water system, some power, and a septic tank, and you’re good to go. If your usage is low, you only need to empty them once every few years.
The only problem with these toilets is the risk of the tank freezing and cracking in cold weather.
2. Off-Grid Portable ToiletDometic SaniPottie Toilet 966 | REI Co-op
If you’re wondering how to create an off-grid toilet with little effort, a portable toilet is a small and convenient setup best suited for short trips. It contains a simple pump that flushes the bowl and a sealed valve that traps odors.
This setup involves a little more work—you must frequently empty the toilet. Disposal options include:
- A local waste disposal site such as a campsite/RV service site
- Composting human waste
- Public toilets (only if you haven’t used chemicals, additives, or cover materials in your waste matter)
When you use an additive or organic cover material, it will be difficult to find a disposal service that will accommodate your needs.
3. Off-Grid Bucket ToiletReliance Luggable Loo Portable Toilet with Rope Handle | REI Co-op
How to create an off-grid toilet is easy if you aren’t too fussed about human waste.
Off-grid bucket toilets are just simple buckets with a lid. You can add a cover to the buckets of waste to prevent flies and an unpleasant smell. However, this setup may disgust most beginners.
You can choose between two disposal methods. The first involves using a single bucket for all waste and regularly bringing everything to a nearby disposal unit. Only human waste is allowed at these units, so make sure there are no foreign objects such as toilet paper in the 5-gallon bucket.
The second method involves using different buckets for urine and feces. For disposal, you can get rid of solid waste into a composting container and the urine into the undergrowth.
You can also use a toilet bag liner to prevent spills and strong smells.
4. Off-Grid Outhouse Toilet
Now we get into the nitty-gritty of how to create an off-grid toilet. An outhouse toilet requires some time and effort to set up. It is still relatively accessible for those who don’t want to invest too much in equipment but do not want to use the bucket option.
The best thing about an outhouse toilet option is that you do not have to worry about disposal. The construction involves digging a pit, building a structure above it, and installing a toilet seat inside.
The pit should be three feet wide and five feet deep. Make sure it is above the water table and flood level. If planned right, you can build one that empties easily.
We suggest going for a mobile outhouse toilet that you can shift when the pit is full.
The key thing to remember for how to create an off-grid toilet is to leave a minimum of 330 feet between the toilet and your clean water source.
5. Off-Grid Composting Toilet
If you truly want to experience off-grid life, we suggest learning how to create an off-grid toilet, specifically an off-grid composting toilet. It doesn’t require water usage, and you can use waste to contribute to the environment.
One of the best things about this type of toilet is that it generates little to no unpleasant odor, so you can install them indoors.
Here are the three options for composting toilet designs:
Separating Composting Toilets
These have integrated dividers to separate solid and liquid waste for better human waste management. The benefit of such a system is the lack of intense odor.
There are two kinds of separate compost toilets. The first involves two containers for each type of waste. The second has one container for solid waste, and liquid waste is automatically diverted through a pipe to an external disposal point.
Note that separating toilet systems only work when users are seated. The waste doesn’t go down the bowl properly if someone tries to pee standing up.
Self-Contained Humanure Composting Toilets
A self-contained composting toilet has a single compost tank underneath. It requires no electricity, drains, hot water, vents, plumbing, pipes, or urine separator. It is also straightforward to set up.
The only work you need to do is empty the compost into a secondary composting chamber once the first tank is full.
This setup is best if several people will use the toilet and you want an environmentally friendly way to dispose of waste.
Centralized Composting ToiletsSun-Mar Centrex 3000 Electric Waterless Ultra High Capacity Central Composting Toilet System in White CENTREX 3000
If you have a big family living off-grid full-time and want to compost all generated waste, this is the perfect solution.
This setup is pretty big, so the tank will not need frequent emptying. It is suitable for a family or group of seven or more.
The setup is similar to a regular toilet except for the large holding tank situated below. What separates this system from other forms of composting toilets is that the composting process occurs in the holding tank itself. It has a vent fan to create the ideal conditions for aerobic bacteria to work on the waste.
By the time the tank needs emptying, the waste will have composted halfway and only requires a short period in a secondary composter before it’s ready for use.
6. Propane or Electric Incinerator ToiletShop • Incinerating Toilets Inc. (CA)
You can avoid all the work of disposing of waste via incineration.
However, incinerator toilets are energy hogs that heat the waste to a high temperature.
Where to dispose of the waste of portable toilets?
You can dispose of the waste from a portable toilet with the following:
- A nearby public toilet
- A local waste disposal unit
- An RV or camping service system
- Composting process
Can one have a flushing toilet off-grid?
Yes, you can learn how to create an off-grid toilet solution and keep a flushable toilet off-grid with the help of a water source and a septic tank.
Wrapping up Off-Grid Toilet Options
That’s all on the topic of how to create an off-grid toilet. We hope this guide will help you and your off-grid companions manage and dispose of waste on your future adventures.
Here’s to the next one!
To learn more about life off-the-grid, visit Survival World.