Separett Toilets – Composting Toilets USA


Separett Composting Toilets – Composting Toilets USA

Separett composting toiletUrine separating toilets like the Separett represent the first true advance in this technology in many years.

Composting toilets have been slow to catch on, because of problems with odor. This has largely resulted from too much liquid mixed with solids. With too much moisture you don’t get compost – you get a stinking mass of raw sewage! By separating the urine from the solids these toilets solve this problem – resulting in odor free, trouble free composting. Separett composting toilets are only now becoming widely known in North America, although they have been used and proven in Europe for over 10 years.

Separett urine drains forward

Urine flows down the forward drain, while solids drop down the large opening at the back

Here is how the Separett works:

Urine is separated in the bowl. There is a drain in the forward section. Urine will naturally flow into this drain when we sit on the toilet. If standing, you may need to aim slightly forward. The blue ‘trap door’ or ‘view screen’ seen in the toilet bowl on the right opens automatically when you sit down. The solid material drops down into the lower compartment, where it loses moisture and shrinks dramatically.

The urine drains away from the Separett toilet and is then disposed of in one of 3 ways. Urine is virtually sterile and does not pose a health risk.

 

Separett USA composting toilet inner compost bin.

Separett inner compost bin. Solids are contained inside a compostable plastic bag.

Separett composting toilet inside

inside of toilet with inner compost bin removed

Solids are contained in a lower bin, lined with a compostable plastic bag. The solids begin to dry out, with the aid of a fan. This is critical to the success of the Separett, because the focus is dehydrating the material. To be blunt, dried poop does not stink. Because the material is shrinking rapidly, this bin will only need to be emptied about once a month or so, depending on the number of users. 3 bins (and 2 lids) are included with the toilet. Solid waste never comes in contact with the inside of the Separett toilet. It is all contained in the compostable bag. This makes emptying the Separett clean, fast and easy. You simply open the toilet, close the plastic bag, and take it outside to finish composting in a compost bin.

Ventilation

Separett composting toilet venting options

Separett Venting Options

A big advantage of the Separett composting toilet from Composting Toilets USA is that you have several venting options. Most other composting toilets MUST be vented through the roof only, because they stink so badly. This toilet operates with little or no odor, so direct venting through the wall is also possible. However, you should not vent it near a patio, deck, or opening window because some odor is possible – especially if someone is using it. All composting toilets should be ventilated. If they are not, any smell will have nowhere to go other than into the dwelling. A small fan (built into the toilet) is the best way to do this. If there is no power available, you can try a passive vent that rotates in the wind. If at all possible, I strongly recommend using the fan. You can use a deep cycle (RV or marine) 12 volt battery, and a small, inexpensive solar panel to charge it. That is all the power you need. I do understand that some people have very remote cabins, and don’t want the hassle of electricity.

 

Below you can see an outdoor Separett installation, with no power and a rotating vent.

This might be fine in an out building. In your house, you’ll need the fan to eliminate any chance of odor. There are two Separett composting toilet models, and the only difference is the fan. The Separett 9200 AC uses regular household electricity. You just plug it into a wall outlet. The two speed 9200 AC fan runs on 18 watts on high, 14 watts on low. The 9210 DC runs on 12 volt electricity. This is perfect for off the grid situations or anywhere power consumption must be minimized. The one speed 9210 DC fan uses about 3 watts. The Separett 9210 DC does come with a wall adapter, so you have the option of plugging it into a regular outlet if you wish. Both fans are very quiet, slightly louder than a whisper. The 9210 fan noise is rated as less than 30db, and the 9200 two speed fan is 31/41 db.

The fans move a lot of air. The 9210 is 25 cubic meters per hour. The 9200 on low moves 35 cubic meters per hour, and on high it is 45 cubic meters per hour.

The #1 question is….”How do you clean it?” The opening for the solid waste is large, and the sides are almost vertical. So there is less mess than you might think. Keep a spray bottle with water and vinegar by the toilet. After use, spray the bowl. Then wipe it clean with a paper towel. Drop the towel into the waste compartment.

The dimensions of the Separett are as follows. These diagrams are in metric (sorry!).

total height           541 mm  =   21.3″          height to seat       440 mm    =   17.3″
wide                     456mm   =   18″            deep                     672mm    =    26.5″

A free child’s seat is included with the toilet.

Call me with any questions. I answer the phone myself. Toll free 1 888 361 0014. I ONLY sell composting toilets. I don’t sell hardware, solar panels or tiny homes. You might as well deal with the go-to expert, for no additional cost.

5 year warranty.

 

Made in Sweden by well paid and fairly treated workers.

 

You can purchase the Separett from Composting Toilets USA on my secure order page

 

You can read frequently asked questions here

The Separett Villa toilet is ETL certified. Note: many people ask if it is ANSI Standard 41 certified. ANSI Standard 41 does not apply to this type of toilet. See the label.Separett ETL certification label

This is an excellent video review of the Separett from Gabriela Morrison, who is a well-known authority on tiny homes. She is a customer of mine. You can see her website here: Tinyhousebuild.com

 

Here is a video on installing the Separett

 

Typical Customer Feedback on the Separett. Zero unsatisfied customers to date.

“I did a lot of research when looking for a composting toilet for the new rental house I was building on my property. I decided upon the Separett 9200 Villa that separates liquid waste from solid waste. It seemed to make sense that separating the solids from the liquids would increase the decomposition rate of the solid waste, keeping it drier as well, which in turn would decrease any unpleasant odours indoors. That was four years ago, and really, it was the smartest decision I could have made.The toilet not only looks smart but it is the easiest, non fuss system you could use. For two people, the solid waste bucket gets emptied into the specially designated outdoor bin, for further decomposition, maybe once every 4 weeks. The liquid waste I simply diverted into the existing plumbing of the building, and there is no smell, none! Honestly, for a waterless system, it is clean and so simple to use that I don’t understand why every household, especially those in more densely populated areas, do not have one of these in their home. Not only that, but by doing a few very easy things to aid in furthering along the decomposition of the solid waste in your contained area outside, you can have the blackest, richest soil to use in your garden later! I will be using this system again, in a new building, soon to be completed, and when/if my current septic system in my own home finally requires a clean out, forget it, I’m putting in a Separett waterless toilet.”

– E. Posgate

“We really like the Separett toilet. It is perfect for the location of our log cabin in northern Saskatchewan. It works very well. This is a great product and the service we have recieved from you and your company has been exceptional. We truly do appreciate this service.” – Charles C.

“At first I was skeptical about the Separett being odorless. My first test the May 24th guys long weekend, do I need to say anymore. This toilet performed flawlessly, it’s easy to install, clean and maintain (emptied once a year). Need a new septic system? Why spend $25,000 when you can buy a Separett at a fraction of the price with less maintenance and hassle. – Barry J. Clayton.”

“I liked my brother’s Separett toilet so much I went out and bought myself one” – Wayne L.

“We love our Villa 9200. It is truly odorless and is very easy to maintain” – Bruce and Mary T.

“I love the toilet. Works like a charm!” Brian L.

“This is one fantastic device!” Eric B.

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55 thoughts on “Separett Toilets – Composting Toilets USA

  • Michael

    I have two concerns that I am hoping your experience/feedback you’ve received can inform: 1. The bathroom I would like to install a Separett into is an outhouse and does not have proper sealing in the walls. There are many cracks/holes, and this means that the toilet will be exposed to possible insects. How big of a concern is this? 2. The area where this outhouse sits is very humid for most of the year–it is in a boreal forest with springs and a creek nearby. Everything is always wet. How much of a concern is this? Will the unit still dry out the waste sufficiently?

    • richardbrunt Post author

      Insects could be a problem. We suggest a screened room. I don’t think humidity will be a problem. But it must be protected from the elements. Also, with a creek nearby you will not be able to drain the urine into the ground. You’ll need to collect it and disperse it elsewhere, a considerable distance from fresh water. The problem is it contains a lot of nitrogen which will cause an algae bloom.

  • Dabbo

    I have seen people post when dumping their compost, they put in a garden. Is this safe? Especially if people using it are on meds?

    • richardbrunt Post author

      It is fine to put it on non-edible plants. You should never place compost from human waste on edible plants, because of the small chance that there is still some live bacteria in the compost that could make people sick.

  • Marcia bakerjian

    Very informative blog! Just curious about how the outside composting occurs. Is nothing added to the bucket? What about outside temps in the winter months halting the process. . . Isn’t some kind of aeration needed (rotation) and what about the other traditional composting elements to create that soil look and texture to the end product? The $64,000 question is then what to do with it? I’m all for throwing it on the non edible plants, which is probably still illegal in most communities. Do you have any other suggestions for an urban area?

    • richardbrunt Post author

      Good questions! I like to add other organic material to the composting bin. However, time alone will render all pathogens harmless. But additional carbon and nitrogen (brown stuff and green stuff) will do the job better and produce a more usable final product. In the USA this is generally considered to be 12 weeks at summertime temperatures. In Europe, they recommend 6 months, without regard to the seasons. It’s just basic composting – aeration speeds it up but is not required. Cold weather, below about 50 degrees Fahrenheit, will suspend everything. The best approach I have found is to have two sealed rotating compost bins. When the first one is full (and that takes a long time), start using the second one. When the second one is full, the first one is ready to use.

      To the best of our knowledge, it is not illegal in any community, anywhere in the world, to put the finished compost on plants. If some community has enacted such a law, I’d be very interested in hearing about it. As a last resort, in urban areas, some people bag it carefully and put it in the trash. This is similar to throwing out diapers. Not illegal, but not the best idea. Remember that sewage treatment plants produce toxic sludge that also has to be dealt with at significant environmental cost. There is no perfect solution, but composting your waste is probably the most eco friendly approach.

    • richardbrunt Post author

      There is no place in America where composting toilets are automatically approved. Every single county seems to have different requirements. Some places love them, others do not. The inspectors themselves often do not know what certification applies, and have no idea what can be approved or not. For example, some areas want an NSF 41 certification. But that does not apply to urine diverting toilets. The proper certification for urine diverting toilets is ETL. The Separett has that. Whether or not your county accepts it is anyone’s guess.

      If you want approval, you’ll have to approach the local government and work with them. You’ll need to involve people higher up than the inspectors, who typically just say no. Sometime people get the engineering department involved, and apply for special consideration.

      In my estimation, 99.9 percent of all composting toilets go in without permits. It’s just too much hassle. People will install something really awful like a toilet and a tank (often called pump and haul). They get the permit, rip the pump and haul system out, and put something in that makes sense.

      If I can help, let me know.

  • Xeoncross

    How big is the bucket? Using a 5 gallon bucket for waste + mulch only lasted three days for two people full-time in my previous tests. I’m trying to gauge how often this will need to be changed. I’m not sure how the fan + mulch + waste + a side rotator (your competition) compares to simply fan + waste + whole bucket rotator (the Separett).

    • richardbrunt Post author

      The capacity of the Separett has been extensively tested and proven in the field. A family of four using the toilet full time will empty it every 4-5 weeks. There is more to it than just the size of the bucket. How quickly the solids lose moisture and shrinking is key. The fan is the vital component. (There is a toilet out there without a fan that must be emptied every 7 days with only two users.) The bin in the Separett is 6 gallons.

      The Nature’s Head, which uses coconut fiber as a composting medium and rotates the contents after each use, has about 1/2 the capacity of the Separett. Two people will empty about every 4 weeks if using full time. I also sell that one.

  • Tyler Graves

    For an infrequently used camp, how long should the fan run for after a weekend worth of use? I don’t want to run the fan for a month if we’re not there. I’m concerned mostly about wasting heat from the fan running all the time during winter months. Also, is it OK to do a direct vent through the wall to the outside?

    • richardbrunt Post author

      I agree, you don’t want to run the fan for long periods of time unnecessarily. As long as the vent is connected air should be moving. If you close the vent to save heat you may return to a slightly musty smell that will clear quickly.

      • Tyler Graves

        I was thinking of putting a timer on the fan, to shut it off after some amount of time. Do you think 24 hours is enough after the last “deposit” or should it run for a few days for best results? This is an off-the-grid solution, but I do have battery/solar and propane for heat.

  • Doug

    We’re considering a Separett for a backyard cottage in a dense residential area. We can’t have any odor OUTSIDE or neighbors will report it and our unpermitted loo will be history. It seems like vented odors would dissipate quickly. Any experience with smells outside the structure?

    • richardbrunt Post author

      This is a tough question to answer. It really depends on how close people are to the vent. Every toilet will produce some odor, no escaping that. If someone were using a regular toilet beside an open window, there would be odor. The vent stack of a traditional toilet produces sewer gas odor. The Separett produces very little odor, but there is still some. If someone is using it, or has just used it, the exhaust will definitely have some odor. Old fashioned composting toilets that did not separate the urine were much worse. The smell inside those older toilets was awful, and they had to be vented above the roof line. The Separett can go straight out the wall in many situations, because the odor is not significant. Still, you would not want it by a pathway or deck. If you can get the vent up above the roof line of the neighbors, and a good 15-20 feet away from their house, I’m pretty confident they would not smell a thing. It is an experiment in a dense urban environment, and I can offer no guarantee. I suppose worst case scenario is a neighbor complains, and you have to take the toilet out and sell it. They command high prices even second hand, so any financial loss would be minimal.

  • Holdeman

    Hello,
    A few quick questions: where can I get replacements for the absorbent pad that came with the toilet? Also, what is the power rating on the Nature’s Head solar fan? Lovin’ my Separett so far!

    Thx,
    Polly Ann

  • Cathy

    We have been using our Separett toilet for a month in our tiny house and are extremely pleased with it. It was easy to install, works great and there has been absolutely no odor. We highly recommend it!

  • Sam

    Have you had orders for the Separett from anyone in Maine? If so, do you know if there have been issues with this type of venting system being approved in relation to the Maine plumbing code? I know “alternative” toilets need to be permitted, but the regulations about how a toilet vents are unclear about a system like the Separett. I figured I’d check with you before I try to locate and ask the correct government official.

    • richardbrunt Post author

      We have sold many toilets to customers in Maine. However, I am unaware of any specific issues regarding permits in Maine. I’ve never heard of any requirements relating to the vent – they are only usually concerned with the urine and the dried feces. In most areas composting toilets are not considered a plumbing device so it’s not plumbing code. The building code should specify what kind of a pit is required for gray water, then you need to find out if urine is considered gray water in your area. If not, then you’ll need to determine what kind of a pit or system is needed for the urine. You may need to educate people that urine is not a health risk whatsoever. Almost all building inspectors and many health officials seem unaware of this fact. The main thing with urine is it cannot be discharged near fresh water, because it is high in nitrogen and could cause an algae bloom. You may need to show them how you will compost or dispose of the solids. I wish it were easier. Most composting toilets go in without permits, because of the vague regulations and building departments who are inflexible. If it’s new construction, then people will sometimes install an easily approved system – like a basic tank that is designed to be pumped out by a truck, then put in the composting toilet after the fact. All this said, permits definitely are obtained, but it can be a hassle. Hopefully this will change in the future.

    • richardbrunt Post author

      You keep a spray bottle with water by the toilet, and spray the bowl after use. You then need to wipe it clean with a paper towel. This towel can be dropped into the bowl for composting.

  • Rich Lewis

    The Separette looks perfect for our off-the-grid forest land. Any problems with wild animals (bears, raccoons, lions) being attracted to either the main toilet or outside compost? What about used feminine products?

    • richardbrunt Post author

      Animals might be attracted to the compost, especially if you have added something edible like vegetable matter in there. It needs to be protected from animals. Feminine products do not go into the toilet.

  • Derek

    We are building a tiny house and based on everything I’ve ready I think the Separett is the route we want to go. With our setup we’ll need to vent out the wall, but it’s important to me that we don’t have a vent cover that’s going to stick out very far from the house. Do you have a recommendation for a “low profile” vent cap that could be used?

    • richardbrunt Post author

      I think a dryer cap would work nicely. Or you could improvise. Anything to keep the rain out. There are low profile vents at marine stores. It would have to fit a 3″ opening. There is a nice, stainless steel mushroom vent available, but I am not sure if they make it big enough. I think the company is called Vetus. I sell a smaller one for the Nature’s Head toilet used in boats and RVs.

      Please send any other questions. It’s important to get this right.

  • Brenda

    One question I have about the Separett design is about the 12V fan. I presume it is installed in the toilet base (rather than the vent piping) – is that true and if so, when I have to replace it (marine air being what is is, corrosive), how difficult is it to get out and is it a specialized part I would need to get from the Separett company or is it something standard? Thanks!

    • richardbrunt Post author

      It is guaranteed for 5 years. Should it fail after that period, you can buy a replacement fan housing. A less expensive solution would be to buy a 12 volt computer fan, and solder that in place. You could also use a solar vent. Or take a 3″ fan, cut the corners off, and mount it in the vent pipe with silicone adhesive. You’d have to make a small hole for the wires, and seal that with silicone as well. Run those wires to a battery.

  • andrew

    Hi Richard,
    I’m having an issue with lack, or slow dehydration, thus smell outside continues to be an issue. Can I add some sawdust ? Maybe turn the fan to high for awhile just after usage. What do you think ?
    I noticed in the video a pad being placed on the bottom and guessing this is to absorb excess moisture.
    Thanks !

    • richardbrunt Post author

      Something is not right. Check the fan. The fan should rapidly dry out the solid material. No additional material like sawdust should be needed. If you have chronically watery stools, you can place a biodegradable diaper in the bottom of the bucket.

      • S Grey

        This is the first time I’ve seen someone address “chronically watery stools”, as you put it, with regard to waterless toilets. I’m happy to learn that one needn’t have ideal GI health to consider installing a Separett. Thanks for this, and all the other information you’ve provided here!

  • samantha

    Hello, i am interested in purchasing a sepperatt for our tiny house we just built! I am just curious as to where you can get the replacement compostable bags for it? I see that it comes with 3 bins and 2 lids, which i am also a little confused about what the spare bins and lids are for..but i don’t see anywhere on here to purchase the bags for it. Do you keep reusing the same bin and the other 3 are just extras in case something happens to it? Also what are the lids for? Thanks! Samantha

    • richardbrunt Post author

      You can buy compostable plastic bags at most hardware stores. The ‘kitchen catcher’ size is perfect. The 3 bins and lids are for people that want to place the full bin outside, with the lid on, to let the material break down. (Instead of dumping it in a larger compost bin). With two people, or part time use, 3 bins would suffice. Take a full one out, put an empty one in. But 3 bins would not be enough for a family – you’d need 4 or 5, and keep rotating them.

      • samantha

        Thank you for the information and quick reply! I have done a ton of research on the best toilet for our tiny house and i will definitely be purchasing the sepperatt! I see that they have their own website as well, but i found your website to be much more helpful especially just reading through the comments and your replies. Is there a difference in the warranty at all from ordering it from you?

        • richardbrunt Post author

          Actually, it is important to order through me. That is the only way you get my personal attention before you buy, when you install, and afterwards. Also, if you order elsewhere, I don’t get paid. The warranty is exactly the same – in fact it comes from the same warehouse.

  • claytonkimball

    I am trying to build an extremely tight home. I understand that the fan is constantly blowing air from the toilet to the exterior. This suggests air needs to be constantly leaking into the home to function properly, no? I’m wondering if I could instead supply an air inlet directly to the toilet base both to isolate the unconditioned air entering and also reduce the load on the fan. Does this sound possible or helpful? Would sealing the air in the toilet from the rest of the home be difficult (I don’t have one on hand to see how the pieces interact)?

    • richardbrunt Post author

      The toilet is not airtight, nor is it designed to be. The air comes in around the seat. This ensures odor free operation, as air is going in to the toilet from the bathroom area, and exhausting outside. I would not suggest making an air intake. Better would be a tight sealing bathroom door, and either a small vent or a make up air unit. I understand trying to keep the house tight, but in a tiny space you need to be very careful that enough fresh air is getting in.

  • Juli Z.

    I’m thinking of getting the Villa for my boarding stable but it would have to be installed in a (currently) unheated building. I live in northern Illinois. Will I need to heat the space to prevent problems with freezing of the liquids or solids?

    • richardbrunt Post author

      The solids can freeze, no problem. But if it’s not going to be used for awhile., you may wish to empty it. You should insulate the urine drain hose. There is no standing water in it, so there should be no problem. These are installed in unheated, very cold places all the time.

  • Dawn Williams

    We are looking at installing one because of lack of water, in place of a normal toilet. Since we have a sewer pipe for the regular toilet, how do you mate the drain into an existing sewer line without sewer smell coming back into the home?

    • richardbrunt Post author

      I don’t think you’d want to do that. You’d need a plumber, if you want to use the existing drain. He will install a cap, to block the sewer gas, with a small fitting for the drain hose, and a P trap for the urine drain. You’ll need to pour a little fresh water into the toilet’s urine drain after each use, to keep the sewer gases from coming up. Might be easier (a lot easier) to cap the sewer and run the urine into the gray water system.

      • Dawn Williams

        Thanks for the quick response. Will urine in a simple ( just going to mulch basins around our trees) greywater system have adverse problems for the trees?

  • Bill Greenberg

    Hi – we have a Sunmar in our custom built park model/cabin. Our experience is pretty much like everyone else we read – it doesn’t compost well, it’s disgusting to clean, etc. We stopped really using it. Seriously considering a Separett to replace it. I’m concerned about fan noise and electric use so I probably would want the DC version (but plugged in.) Is that DC fan quieter and still strong enough to get rid of odor?

    The Sunmar vent comes at an angle off the back and goes to the right side (as you’re looking at it.) Can you think of any reason I couldn’t adapt the Separett to use the same pipe? It’s under a counter but looks like I have enough room to turn and connect up to the vertical pipe. At the top of our vent now Sunmar gave us a larger diameter “diverter” that goes over the pipe – can we continue to use that or should we use something else. Not convinced the diverter actually keeps rain out.

    Also, the Sunmar overflow tube is just a small 1″ tube at the bottom left that we think is probably clogged up now because… well, nevermind – the whole thing is just gross. Do you think I’ll be able to hook that up to the Separett? If necessary I can drill a larger hole in the floor to accommodate a larger hose but if this one will work I’d rather just keep it. It will either go to a blue boy or a buried pit.

    • richardbrunt Post author

      The DC fan is about the same noise as the AC fan on low. I don’t have the actual decibels. It sounds like a quiet whisper. You would not want it in the same room at night if you are noise sensitive, but behind a closed door it should be fine. As a last resort, you can unplug it at night. The 12 volt fan is definitely strong enough to get rid of the odor.
      If you have enough room, there is no reason why you can’t use a transition to other 3″ vent pipe, I can’t really comment on what is possible in your specific situation. There should be no other devices hooked up to the Separett pipe – it needs its own vent.
      I am not familiar with the Sun-mar’ diverter’, but I suggest you use a high quality, screened vent cap. It needs to keep 100% of the rain out, as well as bugs. The Separett drain house is about 1.25″ outer diameter. It is possible that you can buy a transition piece, to adapt it to your existing 1″ tube.

  • richardbrunt Post author

    There is no composting agent for the Villa 9200. The goal is to dehydrate the material, which rapidly renders it odorless, and shrinks it dramatically (increasing toilet capacity). The actual composting takes place in a secondary container, outside. This solves all the problems associated with older models of composting toilets. The air is drawn from the bathroom area. The toilet is not airtight. Air flows into the toilet constantly, drying the material, and exhausting outside. This is why there is never any odor. There is no second exhaust fan, so I don’t know what you mean there. Just one fan.

    • Dave Charlebois

      Thank you Richard. Please tell me the scenario of composting. You say the actual composting takes place in a secondary container, outside. Is that to say that the 30 days of poop deposited in the toilet is not composted until it is taken outdoors and a 2nd bagged container is inserted into the toilet? Also, I believe I read in one of the reviews wherein the author stated that men must sit on the toilet to urinate — is this true?

      Dave Charlebois

      • richardbrunt Post author

        The function of the Separett is to dehydrate the solid material, not compost it. This is because as soon as the poop starts to dry, the odor disappears. Inside the toilet will be dry, crumbly, inoffensive material, and tp (except for the most recent addition). It has not composted at this stage. The composting (the hard part) takes place in a secondary container outside. This concept – keeping the poop dry (or with some toilets like the Nature’s Head slightly moist), and completing the composting process outside, was the key to composting toilets becoming trouble free and practical. Some older composting toilet designs promised that you could just almost magically removed finished compost from the bottom of the toilet – and that all composting would take place inside the toilet itself. But that turned out to be a fairy tale, as a search of reviews for those models will quickly prove. Nice idea, but it usually doesn’t work.

        The reason many people recommend men sit while peeing into the Separett, is because the forward bowl, where the urine is collected, is fairly shallow. This means that there might be some splattering. It doesn’t splatter when I use it, and I always stand. It probably depends on the pressure! Some care is needed with aim.