Living in a Mongolian Ger, also known as a Yurt, is an amazing way to exist. However, it does lack some of the amenities one usually finds in a house or apartment, like a bathroom! Come along for a tour of the outdoor and indoor compost toilets we have available to us while living on a Permaculture Farm.
Outdoor Compost Toilet
First, let’s take a look at the compost toilet we use most often due to its close proximity to the Mongolian Ger.
As you can see, it’s a pretty makeshift setup, but it gets the job done. This wooden structure sits on top of a hole dug several feet into the ground. It’s protected from the rain with an old tin roof with some holes in it which we cover with a small tarp. It faces away from the most commonly used areas on the farm to provide some privacy while still maintaining a nice view of nature.
Inside it has a seat salvaged from a broken toilet. After the deed is done, we toss a couple handfuls of sawdust from the blue bin down the hole to help with the compost process. Once the hole is full another one is dug nearby and the structure moved to the new location. After a few years a tree can be planted on the old spot giving it access to plenty of yummy nutrients!
Indoor Compost Toilet
On the other side of the property is a garage with a small indoor compost toilet for times when we’d prefer to keep our tushes warm.
This one is just a small box with a toilet seat on top. Inside the box is a 5 gallon bucket which can be easily swapped out when full. Ideally a compost toilet is only used for pooping, but I’m sure we’re all aware it can be difficult to separate the two biological functions. Saw dust from the bin on the left is added after each deposit to absorb moisture and keep down the smell.
After enough buckets are full they are processed in a nearby bin to be used as fertilizer in the coming years. If you’re going down the compost toilet route with the intention of using the end result for growing food, I recommend you ensure everyone using it eats a healthy organic diet and is not taking any toxic prescription medication.
It doesn’t take much time to get used to using a compost toilet, and after just a few days it didn’t feel much different than the standard situation. It also feels great to know that I’m taking part in something a little more ecologically responsible.