When using a composting toilet, it is important to only put materials that decompose into the toilet, but knowing what materials are biodegradable can be tricky if you’re new to using composting toilets.
One of the most frequent questions regarding biodegradable materials and composting toilets is, “Can I use toilet paper with a composting toilet?” Luckily, toilet paper is biodegradable, meaning that it can be used with a composting toilet.
With that being said, there are some factors to consider when selecting toilet paper for your composting toilet to make the decomposing process easier. To find out more, read on.
Yes, you can use toilet paper with a composting toilet. Toilet paper is sourced from trees, recycled paper, or alternative materials like bamboo. All of these materials are biodegradable, meaning that they decompose over time. As a result, toilet paper is biodegradable as well, making it suitable for composting toilets.
With that being said, toilet paper will take longer to decompose than other waste in a composting toilet, causing the bin to fill up more quickly. In fact, toilet paper can take between 1 month and 3 years to fully decompose, depending on the environment.
Additionally, certain toilet papers are more biodegradable than others. Factors such as toilet paper thickness, material, and water exposure contribute to the decomposing abilities of toilet paper. So, the rate at which toilet paper decomposes varies from brand to brand.
How To Select Toilet Paper For Your Composting Toilet
As we have stated, toilet paper is safe for composting toilets, but they decompose slower than other wastes and the decomposing rate varies depending on the brand.
Even though all toilet paper will decompose eventually, you should opt for toilet paper that is thinner and more easily decomposed so that it doesn’t clog the bin over time. Doing so will save you from having to dump out your composting bin more frequently than you should.
There are two main factors that go into determining which toilet paper is best for your composting toilet: ply and material.
Consider Toilet Paper Ply
The thickness or ply of the toilet paper is the most important factor to consider when purchasing toilet paper for your composting toilet.
If the toilet paper is two- or three-plies, the paper will be thicker, causing it to take longer to decompose. So, it is often recommended to use one-ply toilet paper for composting toilets simply because it will take less time to break down and take up less space in your bin.
Consider Toilet Paper Material
The second factor to consider when choosing toilet paper for your decomposing toilet is paper material. Here are the three main types of toilet paper material:
- Toilet paper sourced from trees
- Toilet paper sourced from recycled paper
- Toilet paper sourced from alternative materials like bamboo, sugar cane, hemp, or kenaf
Overall, all three toilet paper materials will decompose over time and are viable options for a composting toilet.
With that being said, some toilet papers are more efficient at decomposing than others. Toilet paper sourced from trees, for example, take longer to decompose because the toilet paper is made from blends of materials that have different decomposing rates.
In comparison, recycled toilet paper takes less time to decompose than the other two options, making it the best material for composting toilets. Here are reasons why you should choose toilet paper made from recycle paper for your composting toilet:
- Decomposes faster
- Better for the environment
Toilet paper sourced from other alternative materials is a good toilet paper choice too. These materials will break down quicker than toilet paper sourced from trees, but they might take slightly longer to decompose than recycled toilet paper, causing the bin to fill up quickly.
Best Toilet Paper For Composting Toilets
With the two factors in mind, you will see that one-ply recycled toilet paper is the best option for composting toilets. As a result, you should opt for RV or Marine toilet paper if you are most concerned with the decomposing rate of the toilet paper.
RV or Marine Toilet Paper
RV or Marine toilet paper is the best toilet paper option for composting toilets. This toilet paper is designed much thinner than home toilet paper, allowing it to break down quickly and prevent clogging. Additionally, RV and Marine toilet paper is often made from recycled paper.
You should be able to find RV or Marine toilet paper at any camping, boating, or outdoor shop.
Deciding Between Function And Comfort
Many people value the comfort of their toilet paper, and RV or Marine toilet paper is simply not as comfortable as other options. Luckily, you do not have to sacrifice comfort for functionality when using a composting toilet.
If you want to use a comfortable toilet paper, that is completely fine. Thicker toilet paper made from trees will decompose, but they will take longer to decompose than thinner recycled toilet paper.
If you opt for a more comfortable toilet paper, just be prepared to need to clean the bin out more frequently to account for the longer decomposing time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a limit to how much toilet paper you should use in a composting toilet?
No, there is no limit as to how much toilet paper you can put in a composting toilet.
However, the more toilet paper you use, the faster the bin will fill up. As a result, you should try to use as little toilet paper as possible. Not only will it prevent the bin from filling up quickly, but it will allow you to use fewer materials, which is better for the environment.
Can I put wipes, tampons, or diapers in a composting toilet?
No. Wipes, tampons, and diapers often contain nylon, non-organic cotton, and other synthetic materials that do not decompose. Additionally, many of these items are chlorine-bleached. As a result, these items will clog the composting toilet and should never be used in a composting toilet.
In fact, you should never place wipes, tampons, or diapers in regular toilets either. These items can result in damage to your household lines, sewer lines, and sewer pumps and filters. Always discard these items in an appropriate wastebasket, not a toilet or composting toilet.
How Do You Take Care Of a Composting Toilet?
Here’s how you take care of a composting toilet:
Begin by taking off the seat. Then, place about 1 gallon worth of coconut coir or sphagnum peat moss into a bucket and hydrate the material until it is damp. You will probably need 1.5 to 2 L of water. Pour the hydrated material into the toilet until it levels out just below the agitator. Put the toilet back together.
You will need to dump the liquids and solid waste from your toilet before the bin becomes full. If you wait too long, dumping can be difficult and messy. You will want to dump it when the waste is to the 2/3 full line.
The liquids and solids will be stored in two different containers, and they will be disposed of differently. You can learn more about dumping a composting toilet here.