A Simple and Practical Waterless Toilet System
Toilet flushing is one of the biggest water users in the household and
fresh, potable water is used for flushing. In South Africa, where water
scarcity is a reality, and in Cape Town, where harsh water restrictions
are now the norm, this does not make sense.
Eight years ago we traded under the name ‘Regreening the Desert’
and shipped loos as far as Zambia. We are trading now under the name
‘CompostLoo.co.za.’ Featured in Farmer’s Weekly, Green Home
and The Green Times, our toilets are inspired by Joseph Jenkins’
Humanure Handbook and his invention, the Loveable Loos.
I had always wanted a compost toilet, or a toilet that did not use water. It did not make
sense to waste so much clean drinking water to urinate
and defacate in. From exploration and research with
compost toilets in South Africa and around the world,
I found this model to be the most efficient, simple,
practical and user-friendly. I had visited farms, ecovillages
and communities where a variety of compost
toilets were in use, often found that something seemed
to make it more complicated than it needed to be (or
so it felt). You either had to separate the urine, or the
toilet paper, one was even very high above the ground.
I came across Jenkins’ loo while visiting my friend’s
farm in the Eastern Cape. He had built his own and
had been composting what would have been waste,
into the most beautiful, rich compost. The toilet was a
simple, moveable wooden box with a toilet seat that
he placed in his bathroom. Inside the box was a 20L
bucket. You used it like an ordinary loo but when you
were done, instead of flushing, you sprinkled a scoop
of sawdust on top.The cover material used acted as
a filter, preventing both unpleasant odours usually
associated with other toilet systems as well as acted
as a barrier against house flies allowing the toilet to be
Once the bucket was full, the receptacle was taken out
of the box, a lid placed on top of it and set aside and
a new bucket placed in the box and used as before.
Once a week, the receptacles were emptied into a
compost heap along with the house’s vegetable scraps
and other organic waste and well covered with straw.
Once covered, the compost heap would heat up and
within 72 hours and a beautiful, rich compost would be
produced. This then was left to mature for a year before
being used for gardening.
The thermophilic compost heap (containing
organism which thrive at high temperatures) used in
the humanure system effectively neutralise harmful
organisms and parasites associated with human
excrement by maintaining high temperatures – these
high temperatures are maintained by the presence of
saw-dust (carbon) and human excrement (nitrogen)
both of which are the main elements produces by this
A SIMPLE AND PRACTICAL WATERLESS TOILET SYSTEM
How does it work?
The CompostLoo Manoeuvre
• After use, throw the toilet paper (and the empty cardboard rolls)
into the toilet. Sprinkle sawdust over to cover everything (sawdust
from a mill that cuts raw wood works best, as kiln-dried dust is
not as biodigestible). Keep fresh sawdust in a bucket next to the
toilet and fill it up regularly.
• When the bucket is full (after about a week for one person), lift
the seat, put the plastic lid on the bucket and set aside. Replace
with an empty bucket with about 3cm of sawdust on the bottom
and close the toilet seat.
• Set the full bucket aside until you have two or more. Then empty
them onto the compost heap (that you can make from old packing crates, or have
us come and build one for you). Clean the buckets
with a little soapy water and a toilet brush and pour
the dirty soap soapy water onto the compost heap.
• Add kitchen peelings and waste to the top of the
pile and cover with fresh straw.
The entire process takes little time, can be done once
a week and it is satisfying to know that nothing goes to
You can build your own Compost Loo using instructions
from the Humanure Handbook, or purchase one from a
local supplier. We are manufacturing this Earth-Friendly
Compost Toilet. This is an eco-potty for permanent
indoor household use, office, bedroom, camping,
shop, garage, barn, or emergency toilet use. No water,
electricity, plumbing, venting or chemicals required.
Odor-free when properly managed. It is important to
note no urine separation is required for this model – in
fact, the addition of urine is an essential part of the
We also provide a consultation, delivery and installation
Please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org to find out
more, or to place an order.