Everything you need to know about your solids bin and probably something you didn't.
1. OGO™ Solids Bin
How do I empty my OGO™ Compost Toilet Solids Bin?
There are two ways to access the solids bin, you can lift the top of the toilet bowl and lift the solids bin from the top of the unit or unlock the drawer hooks, remove the drawer and urine bottle and remove them from the front. There is no “right” way, it comes down to your individual space and preference. After removing you can discard your compost medium from the solids bin by one of these methods:
- Use a compostable trash bag, we suggest 4–6-gallon bags for single convenient single-use dumping. You can see in our video below that this is our preferred method.
- Once in a compost bag it can go into a long-term compost bin/pile to finish the process.
- If your local municipality allows it, throw it in the trash. (It will continue composting inside the bag, even in the landfill which is safer than untreated waste which becomes biohazardous)
- Dump bin directly onto the designated compost pile
- Your local community may have designated compost dumpsites already set up. If not talk with your local government about setting one up. As composting grows in popularity, the more accessible dump sites will be.
- REMEMBER composting is a cycle, so while it starts in your solids bin, it will take 6 to 12 months to fully break down into usable and safe compost.
- Proper rotation is important to remember (FIFO, first in first out) having several bins at various stages of the composting process helps keep the cycle moving.
- Humanure (compost medium + solid waste) will create nitrate-rich compost, which will need to be balanced out with carbon-rich (leaves, peels, wood, food) compost to be the most effective for plants and gardening.
Compost Medium and Mixing
What compost medium do I use for my compost toilet?
If you google this question, you may get discouraged quickly at the amount of conflicting information on this topic. Compost medium refers to the organic material used to mix with the solid waste within the toilet and picking the right one MATTERS!
For the OGO™ Compost Toilet, we highly recommend coco coir, however, sphagnum peat moss is a pertly acceptable medium as well. Both are really cheap and come in many different sizes, types, and brands, which we will go further into in a second. But first, let’s talk about what NOT to use.
Some compost waste systems use a wide variety of compost mediums. These systems work by layering, (medium, waste, medium, so on) since there is no mixing needed with this style it does have the benefit of utilizing a larger variety of materials. However, this method also is prone to odor, and bugs, and takes more medium. Since we have a power agitator, it is NOT RECOMMENDED to use the following in the OGO™ Compost Toilet:
- Wood chips/shavings
- Cat Litter
- Saw Dust
- Regular Soil
- Pine Needles
These materials will obstruct the unit’s agitator, resulting in improper mixing and possible motor failure.
One of the main factors that are going to keep your unit functioning properly is your compost medium. Having a light, fluffy, and absorbent material keeps away odors and helps the beginning of the compost cycle begin. The microorganisms need oxygen to do their job, they can live on as little as 5%, but having a light compost medium, low moisture and proper ventilation will help everything fall into place.
Coco Coir vs. Sphagnum Peat Moss | Which is Better for a Compost Toilet and Why?
A GOOD OPTION- Sphagnum Peat Moss is usually dried and sterilized after harvest. It is a light brown color and has a fine, dry texture. Sphagnum peat moss is usually sold in compressed bales or bags. It is a very popular soil amendment because of its ability to help sandy soil hold moisture and helps clay soil loosen up and drain better. Because it has a naturally low pH of about 4.0, it is also an excellent soil amendment for acid-loving plants or highly alkaline areas. Peat moss is also lightweight, easy to work with, and inexpensive.
To use in your solids bin, use about 24oz of the sphagnum peat moss. It should be damp and crumbly, never wet or soupy. If your sphagnum peat moss is dry, add a small amount of water. When not in use, the lid of the toilet should be in the closed position, preventing the entry of insects and allowing proper ventilation.
THE BETTER OPTION- Coir coir (also known as coco peat) is a product produced from coconut husks that can be used as an alternative to the soil for planting once tannins, lignin, EC, and pH are processed to a level suitable for plants. Coco peat contributes to plant growth and brings huge value to the living environment, particularly natural renewable energy sources, due to its safe and tested features.
Coco coir is super absorbent and handles moisture control like a champ. Using coco coir, you will not be able to tell the fresh bin from a used bin. It is readily available and is commonly sold in a brick form which would need to be portioned out and rehydrated. If buying in bulk and the extra math is your thing this is the most cost-effective medium for your compost toilet. We have single measured-out bags if that’s too much work and you don’t want to deal with it. We also have automatic shipments you can set up that way you never run out.
Why is a power agitator better in a compost toilet?
If you are asking that question, then you have never had to hand crank a full solids bin. That’s okay you are not missing anything except for work. The first couple of times hand cranking is okay, but as it fills up it can take quite a bit of muscle to turn properly. There are foot pedal options as well that definitely take the strain off the arms, but we have this crazy notion, why?
Most of us are using a compost toilet not only because it is a great eco-friendly, clean, sustainable waste system, but because we are traveling to our next bucket list destination that is going to captivate the wonder in our hearts and maybe even bring a tear to our eyes, so why would we want one second of that to be wasted on our waste?
For a little bit of power, our 12v system lets you push one button, and our agitator will cycle for 45 seconds, giving you more time to enjoy the reasons you are on this journey.
How do I fill my OGO™ Compost Toilet Solids Bin?
Here is a great video showing how easy it is to refill your compost toilet with coco coir. Remember to pour water at the sides of the solid bin slowly. This will help avoid leaking. Your solids bin IS NOT a bucket, so it will not be watertight, when adding water start with less and slowly add more until the desired consistency. Your medium should never be “soupy.”
During use if you are using toilet paper or if your mixture becomes dry, thick, or clay-like in texture add a little water to fluff it back up. As always close the lid when not in use and ensure proper air flow.