To flush or not to flush….

Let’s be honest, one of the most challenging aspects of living off the grid is the issue of toilets.  The old outhouse had its day but was inconvenient, smelly and still required that sewage waste be periodically pumped out and disposed of.  It seems most tiny house folks solve the challenge of toilets by using composting toilets.

You can spend a little or a lot of money on manufactured composting toilets but some tiny housers go very simple- they use a bucket/seat combo and compost the waste.  There are a number of simple bucket type toilets available for around $20.  The question is, what are you using as the composting starter?  Many people recommend using sawdust or peat moss as the key ingredient- starting with a scoop at the bottom and adding a scoop or handful after each use.  This works well is you have a steady source of sawdust (a neighborhood DIY carpenter?) or plenty of muscles to haul around bags of peat.  But neither of these solutions will work in the middle of the National Seashore.  The folks at Peaked Hill Trust have come up with a great solution to this composting challenge- popcorn.

During the week we spent in the Thalassa shack we used a composting outhouse located just over a dune from the shack.  A large plastic container of popped popcorn was kept inside the outhouse and we were instructed to drop in a handful of popcorn after every use.  Before we left at the end of our week we popped enough corn to refill the container. It was surprising how little popcorn was used and how efficiently it worked.  So, to all your composting toilet aficionadi, I invite you to take the popcorn challenge.

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