Composting Toilets: Doing Good Business While Taking Care of Business

Via on Mar 29, 2010

Via Beth Wright of

Of the many exotic wonders in Ecuador, composting toilets definitely make it near the top of the list! Found in the tranquil areas of the Cloud Forest and in nature reserves along the coast, these rustic and functional W.C.s create a possibility for people to give back in ways you wouldn’t think possible!

Here’s how it works:

First, dig a not so wide but deep hole. Then, construct an outhouse over the hole (preferably made of bamboo and palmettos for a natural ambiance). It would be good to include a toilet seat for comfort as well. After that, it’s ready to use!

Do your business, whatever it may be, throw approximately 2.5 cups of dirt (or half of a coconut shell) down the hole, let nature do what it does best and voila: COMPOST!

People use the compost for trees that don’t bear fruit and flower gardens, but it’s also possible to fill the hole in with dirt and just leave it be. Imagine it…Music festival bathrooms (currently rancid, chemically ridden port-a-potties) would never look or smell the same! In fact, a delightful side effect from throwing dirt or leaves down the hole after you’re done is the lack of odor. Just good ol’ Mother Nature!

Each time a person flushes a toilet they use 3.5 to 7 gallons of water. Estimating that a person uses the bathroom four to five times a day, that person could be wasting 35 gallons of water a day, 245 gallons a week, and an unreal 12,775 gallons in a year. People that use composting toilets waste 0 gallons of water. Not to mention they are helping to grow plants and trees that absorb CO2 from the atmosphere, helping to reduce the effects of climate change.

Not a bad deal, huh?

So, the next time you take a leak, go to the head, or take care of business, remember those few eco-friendly outhouses nestled in the Andean mountains and ask yourself, what can your poo do for you?

Beth Wright is a contributor to, where this blog was originally published. She is currently studying in Ecuador and will be posting a series of articles about life down there, what she has learned from her experiences in South America, and what the United States could learn from it.


About Alex Myles

Alex Myles is qualified as a Yoga teacher, Reiki Master, Teacher of Tibetan Meditation, Dragon Magic and a Spiritual coach to name just a few. Alex has no intention to teach others on a formal basis for many years to come, instead, she is collecting qualifications along with life’s lessons. One day, when the time is right, Alex will set up a quaint studio, in a quirky crooked building where she will breathe and appreciate the slowness of those days as life is just way too busy right now! Reading and writing has always been one of Alex’s passions. Alex likes to consider herself as a free spirit rather than a commitment-phobe. Trying to live as aligned to a Buddhist lifestyle as is possible in this day and age, she just does not believe in "owning" anything or anyone. Based on the theory that we ‘cannot lose someone that was not ours to lose’ she flails through life finding joy and magic in the most unexpected places. Mother to a 21 year old daughter and three adorable pups, she appreciates that some of the best moments in life are the 6am forest walks watching the dogs run, play and interact with one another and with nature. Connect with her on Facebook and check out her blog, Love and Madness. 


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