IslandWood'sComposting Toilets are a Success

IslandWood is a school on Washington’s Bainbridge Island. It is designed to give grade-school children a chance to see and feel many of the sustainable technologies. Islandwood's composting toilets have been a source of many discussions. Below the bathrooms are several composters, in which urine and feces are both separated and composted. Over the course of more than a year, solid waste volume is reduced by more than 90 percent, and the solid and liquid end products are both stable and safe to use as fertilizer, where local regulations permit.System maintenance involves creating and maintaining conditions inside the composter that favor the proliferation of a wide range of soil organisms. Although IslandWood staff manage their systems, it is not uncommon for owners to engage the manufacturer to carry out this responsibility. At IslandWood, the finished compost is not yet ready to be removed from the systems, even though the systems have been in use since 2002. However, when the time comes, the staff plans to use the compost, which will closely resemble topsoil, along the trail edge to fertilize ornamental plants.

:: Environmental Design+Construction story [by Justin Thomas]