Some toilets that don't require a septic system offer convenience and portability, while others are designed for water conservation at home. Chemical toilets are designed for temporary convenience when camping, at events, and at construction sites. Composting toilets and incinerating toilets can be a residential solution to waste management, but they may not be allowed by local zoning laws or your neighbourhood association. Check with local regulators for laws governing their use in your neighbourhood.
Chemical toilets make use of chemicals to deodorise and neutralise waste. Sizes vary from large reservoir toilets used in RVs to the full-sized portable outhouses used for large gatherings. Portability of these toilets enables their users to empty them at designated sanitary waste disposal stations while on the road. Chemicals in the reservoir of the toilet deodorise and partially disinfect waste. Recirculating chemical toilets separate waste and recirculate the chemical in the toilet for reuse. All chemical toilets require periodic cleaning by a septic company. Dumping the contents of a chemical toilet into a residential septic system is not recommended, according to InspectAPedia.
Incinerating toilets heat waste by means of electricity or gas to temperatures that incinerate the contents. These waterless toilets are ideal for areas where plumbing and water are not available. Venting to the outside is necessary for incinerating toilets to function and reduce waste to small amounts of ash. One drawback of an electric incinerator toilet is power failure: It only functions where electricity is available. Like chemical toilets, the incinerating toilet has a limited capacity.
Low-water incinerating toilets are available, but they discharge grey water and sewage, so disposal is regulated.
Composting toilets, also known as dry or biological toilets, rely on aerobic bacteria to break down waste. As in a garden compost pile, proper ventilation, heat, moisture, and a balance of bacteria and fungi decompose the waste. If improperly maintained, composting toilets can produce odour, leave unprocessed waste, and increase health risks. The proper end-product of the composting toilet should be similar to humus, according to the Environmental Technology Institute. The Onsite Water Demonstration Project says this humus can be used in landscape gardening in some locales, but to ensure safety should not be used on food-producing plants. Composting toilets can be simple or elegant in design. They include continuous or batch composting models. Continuous composters allow addition of materials at the top of the composting toilet and removal of end-product at the bottom of the composter. Batch composters require alternating and filling at least two composters, allowing each to cure when not in use. These waterless toilets are ideal for areas with high water tables or scarce water, and in remote areas.