To Save Water
Each year a typical home contaminates and flushes 35,000 litres of drinking water down the toilet and into sewers. Ecoflo composting toilets do not need water, conserving this precious resource and saving you money in the process.
To Save Money
Our composting toilets and primary treatment grey water systems have minimal electrical costs, few moving parts, no pumps and do not require service or maintenance contracts. When compared to other wastewater management systems (such as aerated wastewater treatment systems) this represents an ongoing annual saving of $500 - $1,000 and is on top of the savings from a significantly lower initial investment and the opportunity to install lower capacity water tanks.
To Be Self-Sufficient
With a waterless composting toilet, greywater system, rainwater tank, compost pile, urine collection and solar system your house and garden can be entirely self-sufficient when it comes to water, waste management, fertiliser and energy.
To Add Value to Your Home
Just as water tanks add value to your home, so do waterless composting toilets, as we all strive to minimise water consumption and conserve resources.
“A water-wise home will attract a premium and may become the major contribution to achieving a sale." – Leading property developer
For Environmental Benefits
Waste from flushing toilet systems attached to on-site wastewater treatment plants is normally treated with harmful chemicals for disinfection and consume so much energy in aerating and pumping that normal domestic solar power systems cannot handle the load. Ecoflo’s waterless composting toilets use a natural biological process, are environmentally-friendly and help return nutrients to the soil. Most systems consume minimal electrical power.
Q2: What do they look like?
Q3: Do they smell?
There is absolutely no odour in a bathroom containing an Ecoflo waterless composting toilet. There is actually less odour than you encounter with a normal flushing toilet. The reason for this is that all Ecoflo systems use low-wattage ventilation systems to draw toilet odours down the pedestal, through the composting chambers, and out an external vent pipe above your dwelling, leaving your toilet room completely odourless – no need for deodorizers!
Q4: Can I install one myself?
Yes. Someone with basic handyman (or handywoman) experience can install a Nature Loo or Sun-Mar waterless composting toilet in about half a day. Depending on which state the toilet is to be installed in, a registered plumber may have to sign off on the finished installation. A registered plumber should be used from the start if you are installing:
- The Sun-Mar microflush toilets (Centrex 2000 and 3000 models) as this is more complicated than the 100% waterless toilets.
- A pump well for the GWS10 grey water treatment system if the site does not have a favourable slope allowing the water to drain under gravity
- An advanced secondary grey water treatment system.
Ensure you follow the installation instruction manuals provided and if required do not hesitate to call our customer support on 1300 138 182.
Q5: How do Ecoflo’s composting toilet systems work?
Ecoflo's waterless composting toilets offer a hygienic way to recycle human waste in a manner that avoids polluting and wasting precious water. Our Nature Loo models rely on a ‘batch composting process’ while our Sun-Mar models use a combination of a ‘batch’ and ‘continuous composting process’.
All of our systems are designed to ensure the correct levels of moisture, temperature, oxygen, carbon and nitrogen required to achieve good composting are present in the chambers. Moisture is managed through drainage and evaporation systems which remove excess liquid from the solids. Oxygen is regulated using low-wattage ventilation systems which aerate the compost and also serve to evacuate any odours from the toilet room. The ideal temperature is achieved through exposure of the black Nature Loo chambers to sunlight and the use of heating elements for Sun-Mar systems. The carbon/nitrogen balance is managed by regularly adding carbon-dense mulch to the pile. At the end of the composting process microbes have broken down the waste into humus, a soil-like substance with an earthy odour.
Q6: How do composting toilets differ from other systems?
There are a number of alternative on-site domestic wastewater treatment systems that use non-composting technology to deal with household waste, such as worm farm systems, septic systems and aerated wastewater treatment systems.
The table below outlines a few reasons why composting toilets are better for your back pocket and the environment.
|Worm Farms and AWTS/ATU Treatment Systems||Composting Toilet with a Greywater Treatment System|
|Waste 35,000 litres of water per year per household||Uses none and wastes none|
|2-3 times more expensive to purchase||Relatively inexpensive to purchase|
|Expensive servicing by the third party (prices vary greatly depending on location)||Inexpensive self-servicing|
|Certified by state health depts. as not being health hazard||Certified by state health depts. as not being the health hazard|
|Toilet odours linger||All odours immediately and constantly drawn away by a fan|
|Black and grey water treated||Black and grey water treated|
|Flush toilet with unnecessary water-wasting cistern||Attractive and easy-to-clean pedestal designed to avoid soiling|
The following table compares the cost of an Ecoflo waterless composting toilet and separate greywater system against other systems. The table is offered only as a guide. Installation costs differ widely depending on local site conditions.
|System||Equipment and Installation Cost||Ongoing Cost*|
|Waterless composting toilet with primary grey water treatment||$6,000 – $7,000||Extremely low|
|Septic Tank||$7,000 – $10,000||Low|
|Septic Tank with large sand filter or reed bed||$12,000 - $15,000||Low|
|Aerated water treatment system||$12,000 - $18,000||$500-1,000 per year|
|Worm farm system||$12,000 - $18,000||$500 per year|
*Includes council mandated service contracts, electricity, replacement pumps and council fees.
Q7: What’s the difference between a batch and a continuous composting toilet?
The difference between these types of composting toilets comes from the way the end product is processed and stored. Here’s a breakdown of how they work:
Batch composting toilet system
With a batch composting toilet there is a series of buckets or trays that waste material is stored in. Because of the design of self-contained composting toilets these buckets or trays are typically smaller than in a continuous system. This means that trays will need to be emptied or exchanged from time to time (additional trays or buckets can be purchased through our website).
Batch composting toilets are usually a self-contained unit which means they are an all-in-one unit and won’t require any under floor space.
Continuous composting toilet system
A continuous composting toilet system is usually made up of two parts – a chamber and a pedestal (three if you include the chute). The chamber will typically be installed below the home or dwelling where the composting toilet is being installed, hence why they’re called a split system as the chamber and the pedestal are ‘split’.
Because of the ability to have a separate chamber, split systems can usually take larger amounts of waste, therefore they can continuously maintain the composting process, hence the name continuous composting toilet.
Q8: What’s the difference between a dry and Microflush composting toilet?
The type of toilet you can choose will ultimately come down to if you have access to water at your property or not. If you don’t have access to water or it’s access is minimal, then a dry flush toilet (a composting toilet that uses no water) will be the best option for you.
If you have access to town water or a decent rainwater tank supply, then the Microflush might be just the answer you’re looking for.
Before you make your decision, let’s take a look at each system and their differences so you can make a more informed decision.
Dry flush composting toilets
A dry flush toilet is a composting toilet that uses no water. Typically they are made of two compartments – the pedestal and the chamber. Because these types of toilets use no water, the pedestal needs to be installed directly above the chamber. This means they’re suitable for homes where there is room and access directly under the bathroom or place you’re installing the toilet.
Microflush composting toilets
A microflush toilet system uses a small amount of water each time the toilet is flushed (Micro flush toilets use approx 0.5 litre per flush).
Because water is used in the flushing process, this enables Microflush pedestals to not have to be installed directly above the chamber, which gives you more placement options where space or access is limited.
Q9: How do I manage my greywater?
A composting toilet only handles your solid waste, also known as black water. The grey water produced by your shower, bath, basins, laundry and kitchen sink can be treated to primary or secondary standard.
More information specifically on how to manage your greywater can be found under the Greywater FAQs page.
Q10: My council won’t approve a composting toilet. What can I do?
You are free to make your own decision regarding the type of treatment system you want to have. If you intend to obtain council approval for your new home you will need to submit a development application. Part of this will involve the treatment of your black and grey water. The council should approve your chosen system provided that the system is state government approved and the site is suitable. In rare cases, issues can arise with any system, however, expensive and elaborate, depending on soil type, a size of block and proximity to watercourses and bores. However, in principle, the council does not have the right to object to a composting toilet based system as long as it is state approved.
We regularly hear of councils trying to persuade people to install aerated water treatment systems (AWTS), rather than a composting toilet and separate grey water treatment. We understand that this is because councils collect fees from homes with an AWTS but are not able to do so with homes with composting toilets. The plumbing officer may also not understand the importance to the non-urbanised community of water self-sufficiency and the benefit to your land of the end product of a composting toilet. Nor is the council concerned about the energy consumption of an AWTS (two electrical pumps) and the chlorinated water that ends up on your land. This is particularly important for off-grid properties. Councils quote the average annual maintenance cost of an AWTS is $800 (chemicals, electricity, replacing worn out parts and servicing).
Should your council prevent you from installing a state approved composting toilet we will happily talk to the relevant council department on your behalf. We also have a list of Geotech engineers who are happy to incorporate composting toilets in your plans. Some geotechs are in the pockets of AWTS suppliers and will attempt to persuade you to buy an AWTS, so please research your Geotech thoroughly before engaging in their services.
Q11: Is an Ecoflo composting toilet right for me?
If the location where you want to install a waterless composting toilet can be connected to a town sewerage system, chances are your local council will insist that you connect to it.
However, as of 2007 some metropolitan city councils are beginning to understand the significant role waterless composting toilets can play in water conservation and are beginning to allow their use in sewered areas.
We suggest you contact your council plumbing officer and question them about this. There is no single more effective way to reduce your water consumption than to stop flushing water down the toilet. If the response is unsatisfactory, speak to their supervisor or give us a call.
Of course, not all of our customers feel compelled to discuss their toilet arrangements with the council! Many waterless composting toilets are installed without referral to a council authority.
Once you are convinced a waterless composting toilet is right for you and your intended use, you’ll find all the information you need to make an informed purchase on our website.
Ecoflo can supply a suitable waterless composting toilet for any type of home, including low and high set, slab floor and two-storey homes. We can also supply a toilet for mobile homes, granny flats, boats, weekenders, work sheds – just about any structure. Use our easy product selection guide to help select the Ecoflo model best suited to your needs and refer to our Frequently Asked Questions page.
Q12: How to deal with vinegar flies?
Vinegar flies are very small and can penetrate standard fly screens. Use midge mesh. They are active during the warmer months of the year and are attracted to materials which are decomposing. To minimise the risk of them being attracted into your toilet chamber you must ensure that the seat and lid are closed at all times, except when the toilet is in use. It is important to avoid flies entering the system because once they have moved in they can multiply.
Use the following remedies to eliminate or reduce the problem:
Firstly, check that your compost pile is not too dry. It should be moist not sodden. If the pile is too dry, the composting process does not occur and no heat is generated in the pile.
Ideal moisture content is 60%. If it is dry add 5 litres at a time over a period of several days until it is moist.
Yates Tomato Dust: Available from nurseries. The active ingredients are sulphur and spinosad. The latter is derived from naturally occurring beneficial soil bacteria. The microbes in your toilet will break the spinosad down into carbon dioxide and water. Spinosad is effective thru contact and ingestion. If you know vinegar flies are active in your area we suggest you dose your toilet twice per week from October to April, otherwise wait till they appear. The most effective method of dosing is to sprinkle liberally directly into the chamber having lifted the lid. Alternatively, sprinkle down the pedestal before use (when dry)
Comfrey: Comfrey grows prolifically. It accelerates composting and deters vinegar flies. Drop a handful of comfrey leaves into the chute once per week.
Garden lime: A light covering of lime, available from nurseries, sprinkled over the pile weekly. Lime does not kill flies but deters them by neutralizing the urine.
Q13: The useful tips for disposal of composted material.
Bury material to a minimum depth of 100mm;
Bury it and plant a tree over it. But be careful with Australian native species. Some Australian native species which include the ‘Dwarf Silky Oak’ (Grevillia banksia), more than a dozen Banksia species such as the ‘Candle Stick Banksia (Banksia attenuata); and some rainforest species such as the Kurrajong (Brachychiton diversifolius) just to name a few, can be highly susceptible to Phosphorus. With truly P-sensitive plants a sudden shock or highly soluble forms of P, or a slow accumulation of excessive P, kills them. These plants have no ability to prevent excessive P getting into their roots. As more and more is taken up, the plant gets poisoned, mainly because the trace elements iron, manganese, copper and zinc all bind with the P to form very insoluble phosphates. This effectively prevents the plant from using the trace elements, resulting in such severe deficiency that the plant cannot function. For more information on Phosphate sensitivity in Australian native plant species, follow this link - Phosphorus Needs of Some Australian Natives.
Adding builders lime (calcium hydroxide) at a ratio of 5-10% by volume to the buried compost will tie-up phosphorus and the high pH will help kill pathogens, parasites, etc, which may have survived the composting process. This can also deter animals from digging up the material. The pH effect will decline over time (say a few months) as the lime dissolves to form calcium carbonate.
Q14: Why is Ecoflo the best choice?
Unlike our competitors, Ecoflo does not sell scaled-down industrial sized systems for domestic use. We are specialises in composting waterless toilets for domestic installations with the widest choice of toilets made specifically for the home.
The majority of our systems are certified as meeting Australian Standards, or North American Standards, or both. As of January 2014, Ecoflo is the only supplier with this endorsement of its quality assurance program and product performance. Click here to find out more about our certification.
We are the only major Australian manufacturer of waterless composting toilets to roto mould our own tanks. This provides unique advantages in quality control and costs.
Because the waterless composting toilets we import from Sun-Mar in Canada are sold in such numbers that we ship them in 40-foot shipping containers we again have a cost advantage which we are happy to pass onto our customers.
When you buy an Ecoflo waterless composting toilet, not only are you getting the widest choice of systems and pedestals, you can be certain you are buying the best value, quality endorsed, water efficient toilet.
Where and how can I buy a composting toilet?