National parks are an amazing part of the Australian landscape. They’re home to tens of thousands of species of animals and are the source of ecosystems that range from dense and luscious rainforest through to some of the most remarkably hostile tracts of land on the planet.
It’s no wonder then, that Australians and international visitors arrive all year round at these amazing national parks to view the full splendor they afford us.
Whilst many get right to it taking photos, hiking the thousands of kilometers of trails or getting around via 4WD, some of us need to make a pitstop before we take off into the wild.
This is where you will find a contraption that’s very simple in it’s design and execution, but within its bowels there is a complex and lively combination of processes going on. I’m talking of course about the humble composting toilet.
Now for those Australians or international visitors that haven’t used one of these types of bathrooms before it can be quite the experience. The idea of sitting atop a mound of one of humanity's less talked about pastimes can seem somewhat strange to modern day man, but if we look back over the history and explore the benefits of these natural bathroom wonders, you’ll soon see that what we get out, is certainly not what we put in. It’s much, much better.
If you travel around Australia and visit some of the 500 different national parks on offer, you will notice that a large proportion of them tend to have composting toilets. The question we’re going to explore today is why?
Australia is a rugged and unforgiving landscape. The Aboriginal people paid their respects to the land they lived on and in the spirits that shared them because they knew all too well how quickly things can change in this wide brown land.
Now imagine that you need to engineer a way to get plumbing, water, and a sewage system into the landscapes you’re bound to encounter in the 28 million plus hectares of national parks in Oz. That’s quite a feat in landscaping, project management and transportation.
One of the more innovative solutions that Clivus Multrum have designed is the flat packed bathroom system. This is a composting toilet and building all-in-one that’s boxed up and ready to ship to wherever it’s needed.
We have even helicoptered these into remote locations that weren't accessible by vehicle.
The sheer size of Australia means that you need to travel many kilometres to get anywhere. This means that governments and councils responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of public amenities also need to travel vast distances to maintain these facilities.
It makes sense that the less maintenance that’s required on these buildings, the better. That’s why many national parks, local councils, and state governments choose a composting toilet solution because put simply, there is minimal maintenance needed when compared to a conventional toilet plumbed in system.
Composting toilets have almost no moving parts, won’t have components that rust or fail and require minimal maintenance to perform at optimum levels. It’s a simple, elegant and beneficial solution that many government departments and accommodation providers are starting to explore.
Australia is the driest continent on earth. This being the case it makes sense to save as much of this precious resource as possible. Composting toilets or waterless toilets as they’re sometimes called use no water in their composting process.
This leaves any water requirements for drinking or washing hands which can be taken care of with the installation of a water tank next to the bathroom building. This is ideal for remote and dry locations as there’s no need to run piping or town water to the block.
Composting toilets are essentially drought-proof. Having little rain or groundwater available will have minimal impact on the composting process.
So the next time you’re in a national park and happen to stumble across a composting toilet, put a smile on your face as not only are you saving water and helping the environment, you’re reducing your footprint on our beautiful national parks so future generations can enjoy them (and the bathrooms) for many years to come.