Inspiration booklet Naturia 

Dry toilets or composting toilets

Did you know that 20 to 30% of household water consumption goes down our toilets? And for most of us it is drinking water that we use for this purpose. It's absurd, isn't it? When you think that in the world in 2005, more than one billion people did not have access to drinking water.  

It is therefore urgent to propose and implement alternatives. 

Dry toilets, which do not use water (or very little), are one of them and allow, thanks to the practice of composting, to give back to the earth what comes from it.  

What is it? 

Dry toilets or toilets with controlled organic litter are toilets that are not connected to water or sewers. They are also called composting toilets because the excrement is recovered to make compost. 

More and more of them are found at festivals or in public places.  

The advantages are numerous 

  • Significant reduction in drinking water consumption 
  • Reduction of soil pollution 
  • A toilet without the constraints of a complicated installation.  
  • No need for connection to the sewer 
  • 0 waste approach 
  • Participate in alternative consumption 
  • Ecological method 
  • Easy to implement 
  • No more clogged toilet problems 
  • Prevents pipes from freezing in winter 
  • Inexpensive method & possibility to make it yourself 
  • Resilience - more autonomy 
  • Nutrient recycling 
  • Respecting the water cycle and reducing treatment by sewage plants. Drinking water is a precious element, too precious to be polluted by our excrement. Water treatment plants are not capable of filtering all the toxic residues they contain (pesticides, medicines, toxicity linked to our consumption etc.). 
  • Water savings (one flush = 6 to 12 litres per use, i.e. up to 3800 litres of water per year per person) 
  • Financial advantage
  • Creating rich compost for the garden 
  • Urine and excreta are rich in phosphorus, while the world's reserves are soon to be exhausted and non-renewable. Urine is also rich in nitrogen and potassium 
  • Dry toilets are transportable/moveable because there is no need for a water supply 
  • Have the satisfaction of doing a good deed for the planet 

     The disadvantages? 

    • The logistics involved: emptying buckets into the compost, storing and transporting sawdust, maintenance etc.

    And what about the smell? 

    There is not supposed to be any smell if the dry toilet is used properly. 

    If the sawdust is well put after each need, if this one is well dry, the emptying well carried out, there will not be any concern. 

    So there will be "just" the smell of sawdust that smells like horse for some ^^ 

    If there are still odours, they may be caused by : 

    • The plastic of the bucket used because it is a material that retains odors, soaks in, colors. Plastic heats up with the urine. You should therefore choose a stainless steel bucket.
    • It is also advisable to use ash before sawdust (in fact, some people only use ash). 
    • Our diet would have an enormous influence on the odours of excrement (meat consumption would amplify the odours) 
    • It is the urine that smells the most and gives more logistics. You can opt for a urine separator. 
    • The quality of the sawdust will affect the odours, fine and/or treated sawdust will not have the same efficiency as a dense and clean sawdust. 

      Our relationship with excrement  

      Faeces, excrement, poop, dung,poopNo matter what you call it, poop is a taboo and misunderstood subject. We call it vulgar, we talk about it with humour, but rarely seriously... yet there is so much to say and to learn about this universal organic matter! Everyone defecates, regardless of their social rank, sex or beliefs! 

      The name changes, but the reactions to poop are the same for most people: disgust, rejection, fear or indifference. Yet feces are part of us and our daily lives. Excrement reveals our state of health and our diet, but even more so, our relationship to the body and to intimacy. 

      Individual toilets

      Forget the image of the toilet which looks like a hole in the bottom of the garden, theecological dry toiletis much better than This! 

      No smell thanks to the wood chips, ease of use and above all water saving drinkable!

      You can order from a Belgian craftsman, for example or

      Build your own dry toilet

      Here are some ideas for home construction


      Online training to learn how to make a dry toilet

      Tutorials :

      We are not in favour of plastic/PVC dry toilets, always for the sake of ecology.

      Sawdust or shavings?

      Sawdust is said to be more effective at blocking odours than wood chips. It is also more convenient to handle. Shavings are more interesting for animal bedding.

      Where can I find it?
      You can find them for free or at a low cost in carpenters/sawmills/woodworkshops sometimes on the bon coin, DIY store. They are happy to get rid of them, it saves them from taking everything to the waste disposal center). You can also find them online.

      It is important to make sure that it is not treated wood, it would be a shame to put it in the compost.

      Separating urine?

      Urine brings a lot of minerals and is very rich in phosphorus, nitrogen (urea is a very good fertilizer) and potassium. It can be poured directly into the garden, at the foot of trees, shrubs, vegetable garden. But for that, it is necessary to wait until it cools down because the plants do not like heat.
      So, gentlemen, don't hesitate to nitrogenize the hedges, in all discretion of course!

      Separating urine also helps to limit the consumption of sawdust.

      Short video on this subject

      Communal toilets

      They help reduce environmental pollution and water consumption in the home. But their greatest interest? The possibility of composting the waste to obtain fertilizer. 


      The bucket should be emptied into a dedicated compost bin. So dry toilets are not emptied into compost bins with garden and house waste!

      Pour the bucket into one of the bins lined with dry carbon-rich materials (shredded material, straw, leaves and dry grass). Spread with a shovel, and cover with the same materials. Rinse the bucket and shovel over the bin. Once full, the bin will be emptied to form a pile. It will only be used after one and a half to two years of composting and three or four turnings. The temperature increase after the pile has been built and the maturation period guarantee the absence of pathogenic germs. If you have not yet mastered composting, you can use this compost for trees and shrubs as well as for the ornamental garden (in any case, avoid fast-growing vegetables that are eaten raw). Do not overuse it, it is very rich.

      At Naturia, we will run with 3 compost heaps to make it easier to find our way around and to respect the two year waiting period. One heap/bag of decomposition compost for the current year; a second heap/bag of maturation for the year before and a third of maturation for the year before so that it makes 2 full years. Remember to turn it over every year.

      Posters that you will find in the toilets at your disposal:

      Toilet paper

      And if you feel like going one step further...

      Did you know that? A European consumes an average of 120 rolls of toilet paper each year, which is about 13 kilos of paper, most of which is not recycled

      There are many solutions available to us:

      • Turn to unbleached (and therefore chlorine-free), recycled toilet paper. You can easily find it in organic shops. It can easily be put in the compost
      • Take a washable glove/wipe or a water bottle or both
      • For the more adventurous, some plants can be a good alternative to toilet paper like tree leaves (the hazelnut tree, its leaf is very soft!)

      Here is an interesting excerpt found in this article

      "In the Middle Ages, in Europe, chestnut leaves were used. In the United States, mullein (also known as white broth) was used, nicknamed "Cowboy Toilet Paper". The big leaf aster commonly called "Lumberjack Toilet Paper" was also used. In Africa, it was mainly the Coleus forskohlii leaf that was used. Moreover, Rob Greenfield, a famous American ecologist who has lived without industrial toilet paper for more than 5 years, has adopted this plant which has the particularity of having a particularly fluffy texture. In Kenya, in rural areas, its leaves are still used as such today. Because of the softness of its leaves, people also use it as a handkerchief. "

      Recap in pictures :

      The leaf of the chestnut tree, the leaf of the hazelnut tree, the leaf of the great mullein (or white stock), the leaf of the great aster, the leaf of the coleus forskohlii.

      There is another plant: "Woolly Epiary" which has really soft leaves!