By Noah Garfinkel, Networx
When you hear the words “compost toilet,” there’s a good chance you immediately begin imagining some sort of terrifying box with a hole in it you want nothing to do with. That’s certainly what I pictured. I envisioned a pungent wooden contraption used primarily by log-cabin dwelling, tie-dye clad, shoeless men who used to follow the Grateful Dead. So, when I was asked to interview the manager of a compost toilet manufacturer, I was fully prepared to respond to everything he said with, “Oh, cool. Gross.”
Compost toilets, if you haven’t already figured this out from context clues, are toilets that collect your waste and break it down into compost rather than using a plumbing system like we have in NYC to sweep everything away into a septic system or a sewage grid. You simply remove the dry compost from the toilet a couple of times a year. But, the idea of waste being swept far, far away just seems much more comforting than the thought of it being naturally broken down inside one’s own home.
It turns out, however, that compost toilets are – and I can’t believe I’m saying this – not gross. I spoke to Fraser Sneddon, manager of the Sun-Mar Corporation, and immediately got down to the most important question: Do compost toilets smell? I figured if the answer to that question was yes, there wasn’t much need for any other questions.
Fraser explained a couple of things right out of the gate. First, he said, “All of our models have a vent stack. The venting does help insure we have no odor.”
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