Green Toilet – the best toilet
In short, the Green Toilet is an off-grid dry toilet that is based on batch composting. We argue, it is the best of all modern toilet solutions. In this post, we shall explain:
- what it really is
- how it works
- key features of it
- who is it for
- and what is costs
What the Green Toilet really is?
At first glance, the Green Toilet may not look like a toilet. In fact, it looks more like a container with dark green color. Unlike in most toilets, there is nowhere you could sit on it. However, the greatness of the Green Toilet is not so much about how you can use it, but actually what it does for the human waste and how it facilitates continuous toilet usage regardless of any external circumstances.
The Green Toilet is a container into which you can lead all human waste and it will take care of the rest. No need for sewage, electricity, water, or chemicals – ever. The Green Toilet will compost all the human waste inside itself – like magic. All you need is some time and temperature above 0 * Celsius degrees.
“No need for sewage, electricity, water, or chemicals – ever.”
How it works?
Technically speaking, the Green Toilet is a container into which all human waste (including urine, excreta, and toilet paper) drops into and then gets mixed. Inside the container, the is a double base that has tiny, few-millimeter holes in it. Through those tiny holes, liquid waste may flow while the rest of the waste is contained on the double base layer. That is how the Green Toilet container separates urine from excreta, toilet paper and other solid waste. It should be noted that majority of the liquid waste will not actually flow through but absorb into the solid waste itself and later evaporate through ventilation (more about ventilation later in key features).
By time, the solid waste inside the Green Toilet composts to material that can easily be used as a fertilizer in all kinds of places such as in gardens, farms, or forests. Fully composted material is hardly recognizable as being originally toilet waste. It does not smell at all and looks like general mulch. The average time it takes to compost fully is between 6-12 months, but it depends highly on the climate the Green Toilet is used – the warmer the climate, the faster the waste composts.
The most common way to use the Green Toilet is to install it underneath its user and harness gravity to drop toilet waste inside the Green Toilet. In the early days of the Green Toilet, it used to be primarily set up in outhouses under a wooden bench as shown in the images.
More recently, the Green Toilet has been used with many other kinds of user interfaces as well such as porcelain seats and squatting slabs. The fact that you cannot sit on the Green Toilet itself, really makes it versatile for all kinds of use cases and installations.
Another marvel of the Green Toilet is that you can have multiple containers at the same time – some in use, others waiting to serve and finish the composting process. This technique is called batch composting. It means, that you always have a Green Toilet in use, while the other container(s) is getting fully composted for emptying and ready to be back in use.
Thanks to the spare container(s), you never run out of toilet capacity and can always access a toilet.
The Green Toilet has had many versions throughout its 30-year history and is therefore a product of carefully chosen and tested design features. Each new version has made the product a little better than its predecessor. Hence, the Green Toilet we see today is sanitation solution that is extremely robust, pleasant to use, effortless to maintain, affordable, scalable, and flexible.
The most important feature of the Green Toilet is the double base inside the container which I have already mentioned in this post. This feature makes the container odorless and enables the composting process to begin already when the toilet is in use. Nevertheless, there is more to the double base than just the separation of liquids. As you see from the image below, the double base has these capillary pillars through which the Green Toilet can also absorb liquids backward to the solid waste. The capillary pillars keep the solid toilet waste perfectly moist for composting process all the time. Importantly, the compost never gets too wet nor easily dries out.
The double base inside the Green Toilet separates liquid waste from solids only after they have mixed. The majority of the liquid (80-95 %) will therefore first absorb into the compost mass and then evaporate through ventilation pipe of the Green Toilet. However, because of peak usage and/or cold climate, a small fraction of the liquid waste will flow through the double base to the bottom of the Green Toilet never getting absorbed back to the container. That is why, there is an outlet hole at the very bottom of the Green Toilet for the excess liquid to come out. From there point on, the excess liquid can be led to a regular canister or biofilter, again, depending on the use case. Usually, the small amount of excess liquid can be poured back to the Green Toilet from the canister. Alternatively, the excess liquid may be lead for example on to the roots of a large tree which again can reuse the valuable nutrients in the liquid.
The double base of the Green Toilet and the way it separates urine from other solid toilet waste only after they are mixed is great because it produces so little liquids that need to be treated. Many other dry toilet models aim to separate straight on the toilet seat so that the liquids do not get mixed with solid toilet waste. Consequently, a lot more urine is produced and have to be dealt with. Note, that 80-90 % of human waste is urine.
The double base and separation of liquids are not the only clever design features of the Green Toilet. On top of the Green Toilet, it has a lid with a vertically adjustable shaft which makes the Green Toilet easy to connect different kinds of structures. The spare container of a Green Toilet in contrast comes with a sealed lid so that insects or rain cannot get in while composting is still in progress.
Another key feature of the Green Toilet is of course ventilation and air flow. The standard package of the Green Toilet comes with two meters of ventilation piping plus a flexible pipe that enables bending of the piping. The ventilation pipes are connected to the top of the Green Toilet’s lid and detachable without any tools needed. In order for air to flow out of the Green Toilet, it has to first get in first from somewhere. For this purpose, the Green Toilet has brown ventilation caps on sides.
To make the maintenance and switch of containers effortless, the Green Toilet is equipped with large rubber wheels and a sturdy handle. No tools are needed for service of the Green Toilet and it can be done in matter of minutes.
Who is the Green Toilet for?
The Green Toilet started as an off-grid toilet solution for Finnish people living in the archipelago outside of the public sewage system. Since then, we have taken the Green Toilet to all continents of the world, including but not limited to countries like Norway, Switzerland, Australia, Iceland, Mongolia, Peru, Uganda, Spain, Italy, and others. Thus, we know, the Green Toilet works great in all places and environments.
The Green Toilet is highly scalable toilet solution in both directions, meaning that it can serve as many people as needed. For example, two Green Toilet containers can provide a sustainable continuous toilet for a family throughout a year. Eight units can do the same for a small public place such as a school. For a refugee camp or festival area, you might need 20-50 Green Toilets. For a part of a city, probably few hundred Green Toilets would be needed.
When it comes to user experience, the Green Toilet is more pleasant to use than any other toilet, including the water toilet. The toilet does not smell. It fits all toilet cultures. Users do not have to be trained in anyway to use the toilet. Nor does the Green Toilet get broken by misuse. Thus, it can be used in places of high living standards such as remote holiday homes, five-star hotels or bungalows. In sharp contrast, just as well it can be put quickly into use in areas of crisis and aid. Again, there really is no place in which the Green Toilet could not be used and expected to deliver excellent outcomes, except maybe in an airplane or a space shuttle 😉 .
What it costs?
In Finland the smaller Green Toilet 120 Family and the larger Green Toilet 330 cost 529.00 euros and 629.00 euros respectively. The spare containers cost 290.00 and 390.00 euros. However, the prices may vary from country to another because not all customers and use cases require the same package of accessories included in list prices. In addition, quantity discounts are frequent since the Green Toilets can be stacked inside one another for efficient transportation. So, if you are a customer from abroad, we recommend contacting our sales for exact prices and special discounts – especially if you are looking for more than one Green Toilet.
We hope you now have a better understanding of the Green Toilet. Should any further questions arise, feel free to contact us at any point. We do our best to respond on all inquiries within 24 hours.