Composting Toilet Project


The Story of Building a Composting Toilet

Why a Compost Toilet?

This all started with us wanting to build a composting toilet for our allotment kitchen garden. In fact there are so many reasons to use compost toilets that we'll probably have to devote a section of the web site to humanure and the sound scientific and environmental reasons why their use of  is going to be a thing of the future.


For compost and composting, most people think of kitchen and garden waste, but there is much more to it.

In fact, there is a whole world to composting and compost and Miranda is putting together the story with words and pictures, and we are going to be adding videos to show what happened and how composting toilets work.


I like to think of it as a kind of modern day fairy tale of transformation – from field, to straw bale building to composting toilet. Maybe not the romance of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves I'll grant you, but nonetheless, a tale to be told and much more attractive than some of the alternatives.


See the composting toilet story in words and pictures in the Kitchen Garden Blog


How to build composting toilets -  video

See videos of how we built our compost toilet with straw bale walls and thatched roof.


Composting Toilets are the stuff of fairy tales?

At first glance the idea of building composting toilets might not strike you as the stuff of fairy tales, but we have ended up with something that looks like a cross between a medieval hut somehow transported through time, and a beach hut from a desert island in the Caribbean. I half expect to see a Robinson Crusoe figure appear every time I look at it.


straw bale compost toilet with thatched roof


Step into another world

You could easily imagine that stepping inside would take you to another world… and, in some ways it does, because the theory and idea behind them is far removed from our society that uses drinking water to flush away stuff that could be processed and used to feed the soil.


How did it begin?

Well, when you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go. We knew we needed a to do something, but we wanted to build a composting toilet because it creates a useful resource, has minimal water usage and is much more hygienic than scrabbling about in the undergrowth.


We knew how to make compost toilets and the theory behind how they work, and, in an ordinary world we would probably have bought a flat pack shed to house the box.



But… luckily for us, know some thatchers, and these thatchers not only wanted to try an experiment with a straw bale building, but they also needed facilities for their workshop. Handy synchronicity, especially as they are called the Rumpelstiltskin Thatching Company; so a fairy tale beginning seems apt enough.


Before we knew it, we had a plan to build a composting toilet with straw bale walls and a thatched roof, and so...


"...Once upon a time, in deepest Oxfordshire, a Great Composting Toilet was planned and promised for the toilers of the earth. The announcement was the cause of broad smiles and great sighings of relief, for such glad tidings as these brought joy to the gardeners and artisans who had all been sorely inconvenienced in recent times."


composting toilet box

compost toilet box

Basic requirements


Some basic requirements for composting toilets:

  1. The box itself
    somewhere to sit.

  2. Somewhere to put the compost toilet box
    a cosy place to put the box, the straw bale building.

  3. Somewhere to put the ‘doings’
    when the bucket in the box fills up, you have to empty it somewhere; the compost pile.

  4. The covering materials
    a biological seal for your compost toilet.

  5. Rainwater harvesting system
    doesn't need much water - just for cleaning.

  6. Understand how composting toilets work
    do it properly so it works as it should.


What we’re going to do is show how the straw bale building, composting toilet and compost bays were built and that there is more to compost and composting than you might think.


See the composting toilet story in words and pictures


*** How to build composting toilets -  videos ***


gardening project page


other garden articles


© Copyright Karl Gunter 2009



Garden Article List

Garden Plant Information - Alphabetical list

Kitchen Garden Journal Index



wildchicken start page