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What are some composting toilet systems?

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Available composting toilet systems include self-contained, centralized, batch and/or continuous, according to Oikos. A self-contained system has the toilet and composting reactor all in one unit, whereas a centralized system features a toilet connected to a reactor at another location. A batch composting toilet interchanges two or more composters, while a continuous system fills from the top and empties from the bottom.

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Self-contained systems are ideal for smaller dwellings, such as cabins or cottages. Centralized systems, also called remote systems, take waste away from one or more toilets to a central location where the excrement composts. A batch composting toilet fills one composting unit while another one cures the waste. When one unit is filled, the batches are switched out after cured compost is removed. A continuous system fills a central composting location from the top, and waste is safely removed from the bottom.

The key to composting toilet systems is a lack of water. Aerobic bacteria and fungi break down waste material such as feces, toilet paper and carbon additives. Composting breaks down waste to 10 to 30 percent of its original volume. The resulting humus is either buried or taken away by licensed sanitation companies to prevent contamination. Humus is used as fertilizer to condition plants and trees for proper growth.

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