Compost matter on a glove

What is the difference between compost toilets and composting toilets?

Deciphering the distinction: compost toilets vs. composting toilets

In the realm of eco-friendly waste management, the terminology surrounding various toilet systems can often be perplexing. Two such terms that frequently cause confusion are "compost toilets" and "composting toilets." Are they the same, or is there a difference? Let's delve into the nuances to understand their distinctions and functionalities.

Defining compost toilets

A "compost toilet" primarily refers to a system that separates solid waste from liquid waste, often within a receptacle, without actively promoting the composting process inside the unit. These toilets segregate waste, aiming to make eventual composting more manageable outside the toilet unit. This separation is a fundamental step for the later processing of the waste into compost but doesn’t complete the composting process within the toilet itself. These toilets are compact in size and can be designed to mimic the toilets we are used to seeing.

Separett urine diverting toilets

Understanding composting toilets

On the other hand, "composting toilets" function as a complete unit that initiates and facilitates the composting process inside the toilet system itself. These toilets are designed to compost waste directly within the unit, allowing for the breakdown of organic matter into usable compost, generally leveraging natural processes and microorganisms to break down waste effectively. Such toilets take up a huge amount of space since one should allow at least 12 months for the composting process to break down waste and kill the eventually occurring pathogens in the waste.

Differentiating key features

The primary distinction lies in the manner of waste treatment. Compost toilets focus on segregating waste, while composting toilets take it a step further, actively initiating the composting process within the toilet system. The latter facilitates the breakdown of waste materials into compost directly within the unit, fostering the transformation of waste into usable organic matter.

Choosing the right system for your needs

Deciding between a compost toilet and a composting toilet depends on various factors, including available space, intended usage, and waste management objectives. Both systems aim to promote sustainability and eco-friendly waste treatment, but their functionality varies based on the processing of waste within the unit.


Understanding the differences between "compost toilets" and "composting toilets" is crucial in selecting the right system that aligns with your waste management goals and living situation. By discerning their distinct functionalities, users can make an informed choice that best fits their specific needs and environmental concerns.

Whichever system you choose, both "compost toilets" and "composting toilets" offer innovative solutions for eco-conscious waste management, each with its unique approach to promoting a greener, more sustainable future.

Clean water flowing from pipe

See all Separett compost toilets

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