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Undeniably Debatable Pros and Cons of an Incinerating Toilet

Incinerating Toilet Pros and Cons
While the concept of an incinerating toilet may seem new to many, the fact remains that these are deemed to be more friendly to the environment as they do not consume water, unlike your conventional low-flow toilets. Let's take a look at the many ways in which an incinerating toilet is a good investment, along with a few disadvantages.
Mukulika Mukherjee
Last Updated: Apr 26, 2018
Did You Know?
Incinerating toilets are generally of two types―gas and electric. The models that run on gas are generally more expensive than their electric counterparts.
Now, if you're wondering how an incinerating toilet is different from your ordinary toilet, you'll be enlightened to know that instead of using water, an incinerating toilet uses some sort of fuel to incinerate the waste or turn it into ash. As for the energy source used, it can be electricity, gas, or even fossil fuels.
So, where exactly do these toilets find their place, you may ask? Well, they are preferred when and where it is not practically feasible to install a regular toilet, such as in mobile or temporary washrooms installed at public places. In fact, these toilets are ideal for use in mobile homes, and in areas experiencing water shortage.
What are the Pros?
Using an incinerating toilet offers an array of benefits, including the conservation of water. Here they are.
1. Portable and Easy to Install
The primary advantage of incinerating toilets is the ease of installation, making it possible to install these units just about anywhere you want to. Unlike traditional low-flow toilets that require a plumbing setup, an incinerating toilet requires none. If you want one for your home, all you need to do is bring one and place it in your bathroom, just like you'd place a chair!

The absence of attached plumbing makes it possible to even shift your toilet around. The portability makes it the right choice for use in mobile structures.
2. Requires No Water
A key reason you should opt for an incinerating toilet is the fact that it does not require water. This makes these toilets a boon for people living in areas where there is a permanent water crisis. Also, these toilets save water, helping in water conservation and protecting the environment. In other words, using these modern toilets can directly reduce your carbon footprint! Sounds great, isn't it? What's more, these toilets do not even end up polluting the natural water bodies with sewage.
3. Relatively Odorless
When we say that an incinerating toilet is relatively odorless, we're comparing it with the other type of portable toilet―the composting toilet. A composting toilet is designed such that the waste gets accumulated in a chamber below the toilet, where it remains for treatment for as long as 3 to 6 months. The accumulation of waste for so long can cause unpleasant odors, which makes it quite impossible to install one indoors. On the contrary, an incinerating toilet takes not more than an hour to convert the collected waste to sterile ash.
4. Relatively Fuss-free
A composting toilet requires a lot of maintenance from your end, including the addition of moss and lime into the compost pit below, and the occasional stirring of the compost, in order to facilitate the process. An incinerating model, on the other hand, does its job at the push of a pedal! What's more, it produces a very small amount of sterile ash that is easy to clean. Now, that's what we call convenience, what say?
5. Ideal for Very Cold Climate
In regions that experience very cold climate, ordinary low-flow toilets, which require water for functioning, are rendered useless. The incinerating toilet, however, can function pretty well in freezing temperatures, which makes it a popular choice in certain parts of the world.
What are the Cons?
After having looked at an impressive list of advantages of incinerating toilets, let us take a quick glance at its disadvantages.
1. No Nutrients for the Soil
Since the incinerating toilet burns the entire waste to give a very small quantity of sterile ash, it completely removes the possibility of nutrients present in human waste from reaching the soil. Thus, in an area where there are several of these toilets installed, the soil remains deprived of essential nutrients that are essential for crops.
2. Higher Average Cost of Energy
While it is a fact that an incinerating toilet saves water, it uses energy instead, and over a period of time, the additional cost of electricity or propane can be considerably high. Thus, the average energy costs are higher for an incinerating toilet. This is a major drawback.
3. Incineration Takes Time
You cannot use an incinerating toilet when the process of incineration is going on. In other words, there should be a minimum gap of one hour between consecutive uses. This can pose a problem, depending on the number of people who use the toilet.
4. More Expensive
Incinerating toilets are pretty expensive when compared to your regular low-flow toilets. While a regular toilet can cost close to USD 500, an incinerating toilet costs around USD 1500. This huge difference in price can be a deciding factor when choosing between the two types.
How Does it Work?
Incinerating toilet
Incinerating Toilet
This is for those of you who are interested to know how an incinerating toilet works, and it is pretty simple. The diagram given above shows the cross section of one. You can see the inlet that carries the waste to the oven, as well as the inlet for propane gas and the connectors to the electric batteries. The outer case is made of solid stainless steel, with a normal toilet seat placed at the top. Before you use it, just place a small paper insert at the bottom of the toilet. Once you're done, just press the paddle located near the base of the toilet and the waste is transported to the burning chamber. An incinerating toilet has electric coils located at its base, which heat up to 1200 degrees Fahrenheit, reducing the waste to germ-free ash. The next step is to press a button that signals the burning process to begin. After an hour or so, the waste is converted to ash, which needs to be physically removed from time to time.
So, you see that the incinerating toilet is a pretty cool invention after all. When it comes to choosing a portable toilet, the incineration toilet wins hands down.