Tuesday, January 22, 2013


Often I am asked questions about composting toilets. Questions such as how do they work, can they be used similarly as a conventional toilet, etc. So I have decided to write something about composting toilets.

As you may know, I live and work in rural northern New Mexico. Making electric from the sun and wind for my home, office, and my woodcarving studio. I have three composting toilets, one in my home, one serves my office and studio, and one is in my motor home. Although I sell Sun-Mar Composting Toilets, mine are not. This is because I made my own composting toilets long before I started selling Sun-Mar Toilets. I sell them because they are a good product.

Before I go any further I would like to mention something about the two images I posted. The upper photo is my "Throne", this is the toilet from the house, the second photo is the lid which was made by a fellow in Bellingham, Washington and carve by me some 30 years ago. Its held up pretty well over the years.

Although my primitive toilet serves me quite well, I would not recommend it to most. The Sun-Mar toilets are closer to conventional toilets. In fact they offer a central composting system which can be plumbed to several low flush toilets. Other then having to remove the contents from time to time it functions much the same as a conventional toilet. There is a tumbler which needs to be turned once in awhile and there is a handle provided for that purpose.

My "Throne" is nothing more then a pretty face that hides a five gallon bucket which I have to empty every other day or so. Looking at the first photo you will notice that there are two doors, the one with only one handle is where the bucket is. The other with the two handles is actually a bin which is filled with sawdust and wood shavings. Every time the toilet is used, these are sprinkled over the human waste. Outside I have composting bins where I empty the bucket. So now you know how my personal system works.

By the way, if you were to remove the "Throne" you will find an electric outlet should I ever switch to a commercial composting toilet. Also there is a cold water connection and floor drain that is piped to a non existing holding/septic tank should I ever feel I need to go conventional. Lastly there is an exhaust fan that pulls air and any odors out of the throne to the greater outdoors.

Now that you know how my system works I will tell you how the Sun-Mar works. Well actually quite similar except that the Sun-Mar starts doing the composting in a tumbler inside the toilet or the central unit depending on the system being used. They have a drawer that holds the liquids which has to be emptied on a regular bases. Most of the units come with an electric fan and there are optional heaters which are used to speed up the composting process. With the Sun-Mar the waste is mostly processed in the unit.

If you need more information about these Sun-Mar toilets please visit my website at I hope this has been of some interest or help to you.

Terry R. Wolff