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Title: Composting toilets as a sustainable alternative to urban sanitation – A review

Highlights: • Composting toilets can be an alternative to flush based sanitation. • Many different composting toilet designs are available. • Composting is affected by moisture content, temperature, carbon to nitrogen ratio. • There are many barriers to composting toilets. • Research is needed in science based design of composting toilets. - Abstract: In today’s flush based urban sanitation systems, toilets are connected to both the centralized water and wastewater infrastructures. This approach is not a sustainable use of our water and energy resources. In addition, in the U.S., there is a shortfall in funding for maintenance and upgrade of the water and wastewater infrastructures. The goal of this paper was to review the current knowledge on composting toilets since this technology is decentralized, requires no water, creates a value product (fertilizer) and can possibly reduce the burden on the current infrastructure as a sustainable sanitation approach. We found a large variety of composting toilet designs and categorized the different types of toilets as being self contained or central; single or multi chamber; waterless or with water/foam flush, electric or non-electric, and no-mix or combined collection. Factors reported as affecting the composting process and their optimum values were identified as;more » aeration, moisture content (50–60%), temperature (40–65 °C), carbon to nitrogen ratio (25–35), pH (5.5–8.0), and porosity (35–50%). Mass and energy balance models have been created for the composting process. However there is a literature gap in the use of this knowledge in design and operation of composting toilets. To evaluate the stability and safety of compost for use as fertilizer, various methods are available and the temperature–time criterion approach is the most common one used. There are many barriers to the use of composting toilets in urban settings including public acceptance, regulations, and lack of knowledge and experience in composting toilet design and operation and program operation.« less
Authors:
;
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22304613
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Waste Management; Journal Volume: 34; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: Copyright (c) 2013 Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam, The Netherlands, All rights reserved.; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
12 MANAGEMENT OF RADIOACTIVE WASTES, AND NON-RADIOACTIVE WASTES FROM NUCLEAR FACILITIES; AERATION; CARBON; COMPOSTING; DESIGN; ENERGY BALANCE; FERTILIZERS; MASS BALANCE; MOISTURE; NITROGEN; POROSITY; PUBLIC OPINION; REGULATIONS; REVIEWS; SAFETY; STABILITY; TOILETS; WASTE WATER