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How to Make a Compost Toilet with a Wheelie Bin

Compost toilets are extremely efficient and don’t use any water, unlike flush toilets which use 30,000-plus liters of water per person each year. Instead, we can turn humanure into a sustainable waste system. Compost toilets can be made with materials found just about anywhere.



For a wheelie bin toilet, begin by drilling a hole at the bottom of the bin to attach a ball valve that will allow you to drain any surplus liquid from the bin. A filter can be created with a piece of pipe and some shade cloth fitted inside the bin, opposite the exterior valve.



In order to aerate the compost, measure the corners of the wheelie bin and cut typical pipe in half to fit in the corners of the bin. The pipe should also have slits cut every few centimeters to allow air to reach the compost at all levels. Then, the pipe can be strapped into the corners of the bin.


Next, cut a piece of metal grill to fit within the pipes down to the bottom of the bin. That should be wrapped in a piece of shade cloth at least twice.


Then, get a second lid and cut a hole in it to allow the waste deliver pipe through. When the bin is full, the original lid will be used to seal it up for composting, and a new wheelie bin will be the active compost bin.


This is one of the most ethical ways to make a compost toilet that is safe and efficient with sensible materials. In less than a year, it turns humanure into a valuable commodity.



Key Takeaways

Dry composting toilets are a safe, efficient way to handle human waste, and they can easily be made with upcycled materials.

A wheelie bin toilet needs a valve at the bottom to drain away any excess liquid.

It needs slotted pipes moving vertically along the corners and a metal grate along the bottom to aid with aeration.

The bin should keep its original top to seal off the full compost bin, while a second lid should be fitted to allow a waste deliver pipe into the bin.

This is an ethical way to handle human waste with sensible materials.



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  1. I am interested in this wheelie bin for humanure and the instructions are clear but I don’t understand how you could place a dry toilet bowl on top op the wheelie bin and be able to climb on to it to use. It would be much too high, also houses don’t have deep spaces under the floor where the bin could be lodged. Are you supposed to build this on a slope because you do need to wheel the bin away from under the toilet bowl when it is still not to heavy to pull out and trundle away.
    Also there was no link in my article that could open Geoff’s instruction video.
    Thank you for reading.

  2. Does the wheelie bin lid have to fully seal? I find the design in Australia has a gap at the back if the lid when lid is fully closed.

  3. Really keen to build and adopt your wheelie bin dry composting toilets system.
    Unable to view instruction video.
    Can you offer any advice or assistance here please?

    1. Hi Mile,
      You need to be signed in or sign up to Geoff Lawton Online first before you can access the video. You can do that on Geoff’s homepage Hope you find the video helpful.

  4. Hi Geoff
    I am a permaculture designer of 23 years and also a Wastewater consultant of 25 years specialising in non-conventional wastewater treatment systems. I have had a couple of clients that have installed your design for the compost toilet to then not pass Council approval as it is not an NSW accredited system. I am in NSW where the NSW Health Dept are paranoid and Council don’t dare to go against them. Have you had any luch getting approval for this?

    1. Hi Lyn, here at PRI we use the Nature Loo system which is council approved. The idea presented above was to show an example that fulfils the same functions but with much cheaper construction costs, and far more portable for emptying as well. We understand the bureaucratic red tape that goes into approving anything, and the fear held by said bureaucrats over stepping outside of their guidelines. Sadly, while technically the same as a Nature Loo system, it may only be able to be used by countries/regions/properties where either the red tape doesn’t exist, bureaucrats are amenable to out of the box thinking, or sensible ‘guerilla style’ tactics can be put into place. Best to you.

    2. Hi Lyn,
      I live in NSW as well and would one day love to have an off grid property with this set up. I have seen it first hand and it is great.
      They use composting toilets at the Big Red Bash on the edge of the Simpson Desert west of Birdsville in Queensland, as they cannot possibly have enough water out there for flushing and washing hands for over 10000 people for a week. I do not seem to be able to add photos, but if you Google the Big Red Bash and their composting toilets, it will all come up. They are fabulous! Massively efficient and environmentally friendly. So this tells you that Queensland allows them. You might like to have a chat to the Big Red Bash organisers and get them to point you in the direction of who approved the composting toilets for the event, what requirements they needed to fulfill and met, then you might be able to take and present all that to the NSW bureaucrats….. that is what I plan to do when I am hopefully in a position to utilise it on a property. If you get somewhere with it and the NSW bureaucrats please let me know.
      The whole system works beautifully out at the Big Red Bash on a massive scale. There is no reason why a system would not work domestically and should be allowed……

  5. Hi there, I am going to be using this design in my small off grid home.
    I have one question that I’m pretty sure I know the answer to but would like to have confirmed by someone in the know.
    Does the fan have to operate constantly or only when the toilet is in use?

  6. G,day Darren,

    I am wondering how long it takes to fill this wheely bin up with the good stuff. We are a household of two. Currently, we are using a 40L rubbish bin and it will be filled in two weeks. There is no aeration or removing the pee. We are just filling up the buckets.

    Keen to build your design.


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    Thank you!
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  8. The liquid that drains out of the bottom will be blackwater. How do you treat that properly?
    Could you have a urine diverter and then no drain at the bottom?

  9. I’m looking to buy parts to build one of these. I’m just wondering about getting the seals for the top of the bin between the large pipe from the toilet

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