"DIY" is becoming increasingly popular. And an increasing number of composting toilets are being tackled as DIY projects. Reason enough for us to introduce you to the various options for building your own composting toilet.
Does an “off-the-shelf” composting toilet simply not fit your individual needs, no matter which way you look at it?
It doesn’t have to. You can build your own composting toilet to suit your needs.
In this article we will show you what options you have, what you should look out for and whether you should piece together all the components yourself or use a practical DIY set from TROBOLO.
We’ll take a look at the heart of every composting toilet, the composting insert, other important components and accessories, as well as a guide for your DIY project and how to install, clean and care for your DIY toilet.
But let’s start with the heart of your composting toilet, the composting toilet insert.
Why is it the heart of the system?
Because without the composting insert, composting simply doesn’t happen.
And since it’s such an important factor, you should seek a professional solution.
Because even if your DIY project calls for your own ideas and creativity, the flawless functioning of the composting toilet must be ensured.
With our TROBOLO composting toilet insert, you are always making the right choice when it comes to functionality, hygiene and comfort.
Let’s start with the functionality: The TROBOLO composting insert takes care of the separation of excreta for you by allowing liquid to drain through the urine drain at the front into the liquid container below.
Solid waste, on the other hand, drops through the larger opening at the back into the container for solid waste below.
The two areas are separated from each other by a divider approximately in the middle.
For this reason, and because the composting insert is designed specifically to fit the human anatomy, nothing can go wrong.
In the following video we show you exactly what we are talking about:
However, for the TROBOLO composting insert to work as intended, the user must do their business while seated. The insert is not designed for urinating while standing.
Unless, you can ensure that even when standing, every drop runs down through the urine drain at the front. In which case: Hats off to you!
Back to the matter at hand: We have explained how it works, now let’s move on to hygiene.
The TROBOLO composting insert has a sealed surface, is made of high-quality polypropylene, and is therefore 100% recyclable. The latter is an important consideration for us when selecting our materials.
On the one hand, the sealing guarantees the separator a particularly long lifespan. On the other hand, it enables the heart of the composting toilet to be cleaned quickly and easily.
In contrast to a conventional toilet, the TROBOLO composting insert has no corners or edges. As a result, dirt cannot accumulate as easily as it does under the flush rim of a toilet. No more tedious scrubbing.
And where there is no stubborn dirt, there is no need for aggressive chemical cleaners. A big plus for the TROBOLO composting insert.
Now that we have dealt with hygiene, let’s finish the composting insert eulogy with the third and final benefit: The ease of use and installation.
In addition to its anatomical design, our separator is characterized by the use of the innovative TROBOLO adaptor system.
This enables the filter sieve adaptor, which is located at the lower end of the urine drain, to be replaced with an alternative attachment in a matter of seconds.
This means that, if required, you can quickly attach a hose for external drainage and connect it to the grey water tank of your motorhome, for example.
Thanks to this flexible drainage solution, the TROBOLO composting insert is perfect for any DIY project.
Regardless of whether you want to construct a stationary or mobile composting toilet.
The installation of the separator in your composting toilet is just as easy. Because we have kept to standard dimensions. You can therefore easily combine the TROBOLO composting insert with a conventional toilet seat.
As an alternative, we also offer you a set consisting of a composting toilet insert with a wooden toilet seat at a reduced price. You can decide for yourself whether you prefer the composting insert in grey or white.
Since our toilet seat is made of FSC®-certified wood, the production process is verifiably responsible.
Two high-quality stainless-steel hinges connect the toilet seat and lid. This gives the set a particular stability that you can rely on.
So it’s worth taking a look at this option if you are building your own composting toilet.
And since we’re already on the subject of sets, let’s continue with them.
The clever combination of toilet seat and composting insert in grey or white is not the only set we offer.
Since, to make your DIY project as easy as possible, we have a few more tricks up our sleeves.
So before you go and painstakingly collect all the components individually at your local DIY store, take a closer look at our TROBOLO DIY Sets.
Are you mobile, travelling with a campervan or even a tent, for example?
Does your composting toilet not have a fixed location, rather “your spot” changes from time to time?
Or do you only have limited space available, which does not allow for a larger, external urine collection solution, so you need everything to be as compact as possible?
Then the DIY set and the DIY set with wooden seat are the right choices for you. Both sets include a solids and liquids container in the size of your choice.
Both DIY sets include:
Additionally included in the DIY set with wooden seat:
To make your DIY project with these two sets a complete success, an assembly guide for the composting insert with cutting template as well as instructions for use, care and maintenance are included in addition to the components.
So if you already know that you require a set with a liquids container, you only need to decide between the option with or without a toilet seat and the size of the two collection containers.
Firstly, when choosing the containers, you can choose the perfect size for your individual DIY composting toilet.
And secondly: The spill stop included in both sets reliably prevents liquids from spilling. This is particularly practical if the ride in your campervan is a bit rough or if your composting toilet changes location.
If your DIY composting toilet is always situated on the same solid surface, such as in the summerhouse or tiny house, then you don’t need the spill stop.
Speaking of summerhouses and tiny houses…
For a summer house or tiny house, it is common for urine to be collected externally. But also in larger campervans or mobile homes that have a tank, the liquids are often drained off.
In this case, you do not need a liquids container, but rather a hose for drainage, which you attach directly to the TROBOLO adaptor system at the base of the urine drain on the composting insert.
You have this option with our DIY set with urine drainage and our DIY set with urine drainage and wooden seat.
In contrast to the two DIY sets with solids and liquids containers, these two sets include the solids container in the size of your choice, but no liquids container.
Here’s what you can expect with these two sets:
Both DIY sets include:
Also included in the DIY set with urine drainage and wooden seat:
As for the DIY sets with a liquids container, for the two DIY sets with urine drainage you only have to choose between the options with or without a wooden toilet seat and select the size of the solids container.
Furthermore, an assembly guide for the composting insert with a cutting template as well as instructions for use, care and maintenance are also included to provide you with the best possible support for your DIY project.
We have now introduced you to our four DIY sets with and without wooden toilet seat and liquids container.
In addition to these, there is also the simple set consisting of the TROBOLO composting insert and toilet seat in grey or white.
All in all, you have the choice between six clever and unique sets for building your own composting toilet.
If you are still not sure which is the right set for you and your needs, we will walk you through the most important questions:
If you answered “No” to question four, you may find the detailed information on our accessories later in this article under “Operation” and “Cleaning and care” helpful.
If you’ve already decided on a DIY kit, then great!
Now it’s on to the next step, the wooden body.
If you want to build your own composting toilet, the composting insert, the collection container or the drainage hose and, if necessary, the spill stop and the toilet seat alone are not sufficient.
All of these components require a basic framework. This provides each component with a secure spot in order to perform its function properly.
One option for getting the necessary materials for the body of your composting toilet is to buy them from a hardware store. With a lot of luck and some searching, you are sure to find something that fits your requirements.
You may have to cut the parts to size or have them cut at the store so that you can build the basic framework of your composting toilet.
In any case, this variant requires a considerable amount of effort.
Because all of these things take a lot of time.
So that this task doesn’t take the fun out of building your own composting toilet, we offer you the appropriate TROBOLO wooden body options exclusively via our DIY composting toilet configurator.
Our wooden body made of FSC®-certified wood is available in two sizes. So you can choose the model that best suits your individual needs.
The wooden body comes as a set. It contains all the necessary individual parts and can be assembled in a few minutes without any additional tools. This retains the fun factor of your DIY project.
Choosing a TROBOLO wooden body for your DIY composting toilet doesn’t just save you a trip to the hardware store.
The robust 15 mm multi-layer alder panels also ensure a long lifespan and, thanks to the distinct grain, make your DIY composting toilet unique and a genuine eye-catcher.
A TROBOLO wooden body will also make your DIY project easier because it is very easy to equip with our accessories.
In particular, if you couldn’t decide on one of our ingenious DIY sets, but instead chose to assemble your own composting toilet from our accessories, these combine perfectly with a TROBOLO wooden body.
We will now explain in detail step by step how to assemble all the components into a fully functional composting toilet.
Whether you went for one of our DIY sets, our accessories or some other components, for example from the hardware store, one thing is certain: All the individual parts must now be assembled in order to form a functioning composting toilet.
Since we do not know exactly which individual parts you have, we will describe step by step below how to assemble a composting toilet with urine collection using TROBOLO components and the tools and other accessories you will need.
Materials and tools for DIY assembly
• Allen screws and spanner (included with the TROBOLO wooden body)
• Glue or screws for attaching the composting insert
Components and accessories for your DIY composting toilet
• Composting toilet insert
• Toilet seat
• Wooden body
• Solids container
• Liquids container
• Electric or natural exhaust system
• Spill stop
The TROBOLO wooden body can be assembled by hand in just a few minutes. Additional tools and special skills are not required. Just follow the detailed assembly guide, which is included in the package.
The wooden body is already complete. Now it is time to place the composting insert into the upper wooden panel of the wooden body.
You can either screw or glue the TROBOLO composting insert in place. Both options are equally effective in ensuring the longevity and perfect functionality of your composting toilet.
So make it easy for yourself and opt for the more convenient option. The next step is to mount the toilet seat.
To do this, attach the supplied hinges to the same wooden panel as the composting insert and connect them to the toilet seat. Make sure to mount the hinges to the back of the wooden panel where the large opening of the composting insert is located.
Otherwise, you will be forced to sit back-to-front on your composting toilet and “separating” things will be difficult.
The installation of the TROBOLO composting insert and the toilet seat is particularly easy with the corresponding installation guide. You will receive this free of charge when you order both products as a set.
Next, you can position your two collection containers underneath the openings intended for them in the composting insert.
We have carefully designed the TROBOLO containers for liquids and solids so that they stand securely in the TROBOLO wooden body and do not slide around.
But even if the containers themselves don’t slide around, it can sometimes be your campervan that skids over bumpy roads and causes the contents of your liquid container to spill out.
To prevent such moments of distress, we have developed the reliable TROBOLO spill stop. In the following paragraph on optional accessories, we present it in more detail.
Our ingenious TROBOLO spill stop does not allow anything to escape from your liquids container that shouldn’t. Irrespective of the fill level and even when using your composting toilet on the move, this clever lid makes your liquids container spill-proof. Wait a minute, lid?
That’s right, the spill stop is integrated into a lid that you screw onto the liquids container. Just like you’d normally screw a lid onto a container. That’s all there is to it.
When you put down the lid or composting insert, the urine drain of the separator is automatically integrated into the spill stop.
Liquids can therefore be collected directly in the container below as usual. However, the spill stop prevents the liquids from coming back to the top in an uncontrolled manner if it gets bumpy.
In contrast to use without a spill stop, use with this safeguard is a one-way street for your liquid excreta.
Besides their self-sufficient operation without water, chemicals or electricity, one of the biggest advantages of TROBOLO composting toilets is their odourless functionality.
If you plan on using your DIY composting toilet continuously, we recommend installing an electric exhaust system. As with very frequent use, some moisture and residual odours can arise in your composting toilet. The electric exhaust system efficiently carries these outside.
If you should opt for the integration of such an exhaust system, you only need to think about whether the 50 cm exhaust pipe, which is integrated into the exhaust system, is sufficient. 50 cm is ideal for direct discharge to the rear of the composting toilet.
If discharging to the rear is not practical for you because, for example, your dining table is behind the wall of your composting toilet and the odours discharged could be somewhat unappetising, you can use our electric exhaust system set which includes a 2-metre exhaust pipe. With this significantly longer exhaust pipe, odours can easily be discharged upwards or to the side.
Even though the electric exhaust system is very energy-efficient and can be operated flexibly either with a mains plug or USB connector, you can also dispense with the use of electricity completely and still not have to forego the removal of moisture and odours.
Because an excellent alternative to our electric exhaust system is our natural exhaust system, which makes use of the chimney effect. The electricity-free discharge of residual odours then takes place vertically above the roof.
The installation is just as simple as the principle itself, since the pipes, which are equipped with an integrated rubber seal, are simply connected together and the exhaust system is complete.
For the occasional use of your DIY composting toilet, for example only at weekends, you can also use litter instead of an electric exhaust system. This absorbs the residual moisture from the waste in your solids container and thus likewise ensures that your composting toilet remains absolutely odour-free.
If, instead, you notice undesirable odours coming from the liquids container, put a small dash of vinegar into it from time to time. This neutralises any odours. It is also possible to use a natural exhaust system in conjunction with this method.
Now that you are equipped with everything you need for the successful use of your DIY composting toilet, let’s finally get down to this: Operation.
Congratulations on making it this far. There’s a lot of work behind you. Fortunately, it only takes a few simple steps to put your composting toilet into operation:
First of all, spread out the compostable inlay in your solids container. Then, if possible, put a handful of litter into the solids container. Now it is ready for your first visit.
Generally, you should use sufficient litter before and after each big operation. Sufficient means that your business is completely covered and nothing can be seen of it. This will absorb any moisture it contains.
Before doing your business, it is important to throw a handful of litter into the container so that the moisture can also be absorbed from underneath. Better safe than sorry.
In contrast to a number two, there is not quite as much to consider for a number one. You don’t have to line the liquid container with an inlay or use litter to bind with the liquid.
Instead, it is recommended to put a splash of vinegar into the liquids container at regular intervals (author’s tip: twice daily, once in the morning, once in the evening). The vinegar neutralises unwanted odours that might escape from the container.
After doing your business, we also advise you to give the composting insert a quick wipe down. For example, with a piece of (damp) toilet paper or a cloth and a squirt of organic cleaner. The less residue that adheres to the separator, the fewer unwanted odours you will have to deal with afterwards.
This brings us to the penultimate chapter, the cleaning and care of your DIY composting toilet.
Cleaning and caring for a toilet is rarely something you look forward to.
In this case, however, we can give you the all clear. In principle, a composting toilet requires less cleaning than a conventional toilet.
We have described this in detail in the corresponding entry in our FAQ.
If you follow the tips already outlined in the Operation section, you’re already halfway there. The less residue that gets left behind from use, the less time-consuming the cleaning process is after emptying.
In principle, the liquids container should be rinsed thoroughly after each emptying. Generally, the solids container does not need any extra treatment. This is because it is equipped with the inlay, which keeps any soiling away from the solids container.
Whenever you clean the parts of your composting toilet, you should always use organic cleaners. Even the TROBOLO toilet seat and wooden body can be wiped clean with a damp cloth, since they are sealed with an antibacterial protective coating or impregnated with a natural oil.
The TROBOLO cleaning set with citric acid powder is simply made for this purpose. This is not only environmentally friendly, but also prolongs the life of the individual parts.
As far as care is concerned, the wooden parts can certainly use a little maintenance every now and then. The more often you wipe them with a cloth, the more the basic impregnation or varnish wears off.
You can do this without any trouble with our TROBOLO natural oil set for surface impregnation.
We have put together more detailed information for you in this video on cleaning a composting toilet.
And this is our recommendation for cleaning and maintaining your composting toilet:
If you have made it this far, we are confident that you are well prepared to build your own composting toilet. Let’s summarise briefly.
We have gone through the following together:
Have you come to the conclusion that building a composting toilet yourself is not really your thing? Then we have two alternatives up our sleeves for you:
Whichever you choose, with the tips and tricks from this article, nothing stands in the way of your use of a self-sufficient (composting) toilet without odours.
Your TROBOLO team wishes you a lot of fun!
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