Nature Loo USA

The Rise of Off-Grid Living with Composting Toilets


Many of us do everything we can to ensure we have a harmonious blend of natural beauty, comfort and environmental consciousness when it comes to our homes.  

Many Canadians are increasingly embracing an off-grid living lifestyle, even if it’s as simple as installing solar panels, composting food scraps, installing grey water systems or adopting composting toilets as a sustainable solution for waste management. 

We delve into all the factors driving the growing trend of off-grid living and the adoption of composting toilets in Canada and what you need to know before purchasing a composting toilet for your home.


Environmental Consciousness

We have long been aware of the environmental impact conventional flush toilets have on our waterways, streams, marshlands and oceans. Traditional toilets use a significant amount of water, which in turn can contribute to water scarcity issues depending on the access you have to fresh water. Having reduced access to water can become a pressing issue, especially in regions prone to drought. 

Another aspect we hear when talking to new customers is concerns surrounding the energy-intensive process of treating wastewater in centralized sewage systems. Not only do these large-scale treatment systems release greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change, but they also use a range of different chemical processes to treat wastewater which is then released into a range of different environments around the county. 

Wastewater pollutants released into the environment can lead to:

  • the inability of fish and aquatic life to survive
  • excessive nutrient releases like phosphorus and nitrogen into the water systems  cause eutrophication which
    • harms aquatic organisms
    • promotes plant overgrowth
    • reduces oxygen
    • damages spawning grounds
    • alters habitats
  • chlorine compounds and inorganic chloramines are toxic to aquatic life
  • metals such as mercury, lead, cadmium, chromium, and arsenic are toxic to many species
  • pharmaceuticals and personal care products getting into waterways which poses a threat to human health, aquatic life, and wildlife

As Canadians become more conscious of our ecological footprint, many of us are seeking alternative toilet options that minimize our water consumption, reducing the environmental harm we may be causing and decreasing our reliance on municipal systems like wastewater management.


Water Conservation Efforts

Water scarcity is a pressing issue in many parts of Canada, particularly during the dry season and in regions with limited natural water resources. As Canadians, we recognize the importance of conserving water where possible and many of us actively seek ways to reduce our consumption. This is where composting toilets offer a practical solution for this issue, as they require no water for operation. By switching to a composting toilet, we can significantly reduce our water usage, helping to make a positive impact on our water conservation efforts.


Off-grid living offers independence from conventional utilities

Another driving factor behind the growing trend of off-grid living in Canada is the desire for self-sufficiency and complete independence from traditional utilities like electricity and water supply. Given this trend towards independence, many Canadians are drawn to living off the grid, particularly in rural areas, remote locations and even some urban settings. 

An off-grid lifestyle enables us to reduce our reliance on centralized systems and gain more control over our finite resources, like water. Composting toilets perfectly align with this type of lifestyle as they operate independently of sewage systems and don’t require connection to municipal water systems. 

A self-contained waste management system like a composting toilet empowers Canadians to live sustainably and responsibly without depending on the traditional infrastructure we have become reliant on.


Composting toilets offer sustainable waste management practices

Composting toilets gives us the chance to have a sustainable approach to our own waste management. Instead of sending waste to be forgotten about and treated in centralized sewage systems, installing composting toilets helps us to manage our own waste using on-site decomposition. 

Human waste (or humanure), along with other organic materials like sawdust or peat moss naturally decompose in a composting toilet, transforming our waste into nutrient-rich compost. This compost can be safely used to enrich the soil in gardens, around fruit trees or in landscaping. By closing the waste loop and turning human waste into a valuable resource, we all contribute to a more sustainable and circular economy.


Common questions about composting toilets

Do composting toilets smell?
We often get questions about concerns surrounding odor control regarding composting toilets. It’s worth noting that advancements in technology have addressed this issue. Our modern composting toilet solution features ventilation systems and aeration mechanisms that effectively control any odors a composting toilet may produce. Proper airflow and proper pile maintenance helps to prevent the buildup of unpleasant smells, ensuring no unwanted smells enter your home. 

Do composting toilets freeze?
In particularly cold climates or winter periods, utilizing a heating pad for your composting toilets offers a practical and effective solution to the water content in your composting pile freezing. Because composting toilets rely on the breakdown of organic matter through microbial activity, this process can be hindered in colder temperatures if a heating pad isn’t used. 

The warmth generated by a heating pad helps to maintain optimal conditions for microbial activity, making sure the decomposition process is working – even in chilly environments. This ensures your composting toilet functions effectively all year round, regardless of the external temperature. If you live in a cold climate, you can embrace the benefits of sustainable waste management without compromising on overall performance.

Are composting toilets safe?
When used and maintained properly, composting toilets are a safe and hygienic option for your home. It’s important to follow recommended guidelines for use and maintenance so that potential risks are minimized. 

Proper use includes: 

  • adding appropriate waste materials such as human waste and toilet paper 
  • avoiding the disposal of hazardous or non-compostable substances
  • emptying the compost bin at appropriate intervals 
  • monitoring moisture levels, 

Our composting toilets have been specifically designed to facilitate the natural decomposition process, effectively breaking down human waste and eliminating any dangerous pathogens through proper composting and time. By following best practices and implementing a routine maintenance schedule, a composting toilet offers a safe and sustainable waste management solution that offers renewable long-term use.

As the world changes towards a more locally inspired, independent living style, the toilet habits of Canadians are shifting towards more sustainable options. Our environmental consciousness, water conservation efforts, and the desire for off-grid living is leading to a boom in composting toilet installations across the country and the humble composting toilet has quickly emerged as a practical and eco-friendly solution for waste management.

If you’re interested in contributing to a greener future by conserving water, minimizing your environmental impact, and fostering sustainable waste management practices, a composting toilet is a great place to start.  

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