Black Forest: Ecological toilets: this is how the S’Klo business works

A bucket full of sawdust should accompany the toilet aisle of the future. It is part of the basic equipment, the so-called S’Klo composting toilets in Titisee-Neustadt in the Black Forest – and comparable models from other suppliers.

Save water with composting toilets

The main idea is to save water: instead of washing it off after finishing work, you sprinkle it with sawdust. This is to prevent the stool from developing a smell. “At worst, it smells like a farm,” says Fridolin Einwald, who is building the outbuildings with Michael Heizmann. His concern is not to waste drinking water as rinse water. “A lot of people don’t even think about what will happen when we press the flush button.”

According to the Federal Ministry of Environment, a toilet flush uses nearly 40 liters of water per day, which is around 30 percent of drinking water consumption. In times of water scarcity, the topic becomes more and more important, explains Einwald.

In the composting toilet, behind the

In the case of a composting toilet, wood shavings are dumped into the toilet after the “store”. | Photo: Philipp von Ditfurth

Dry toilets themselves are not a new invention, there are also ones with litter bark, rock dust or charcoal. They are also used in countries with poorer sanitary, sewage and water infrastructure – e.g. in Africa and Asia.

Years ago, engineers at the Bauhaus University in Weimar even received the Order of Merit from the Mongolian city of Darkhan for such a project. Another example is separation toilets, where feces and urine are collected in separate containers. So you need less rinsing water.

In line with the eco trend, dry toilets not only save water, but also do not require chemicals. And if some producers get their way, it should go a step further: S’Klo’s founders, such as Einwald and Heizmann, want to stop shipping the waste collected in containers to treatment plants at some point, but use it as a natural fertilizer.

Fridolin Einwald uses a pallet truck to push the mobile dry toilet down the street.

Fridolin Einwald uses a pallet truck to push the mobile dry toilet down the street. | Photo: Philipp von Ditfurth

However, the law currently stands in the way. According to the Federal Ministry of the Environment, human manure should not be used as compost in accordance with the provisions of the Waste and Fertilizer Act.

On the other hand, there is a risk of spreading – possibly resistant – germs, pathogens, hormones and drug residues in the faeces. Moreover, it cannot be ruled out that other materials, which may contain additional contaminants and foreign substances, will also end up in the composting toilet.

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The hygiene aspects of the epidemic must be addressed

The ministry argues that compost fertilizers are generally used for agricultural and horticultural purposes in a particularly sensitive area of ​​food and feed production. “Therefore, the ingestion of drug and hormone residues by humans and animals via the food chain cannot be ruled out,” it was written. These, inter alia, aspects of epidemic hygiene would need to be addressed before any legal changes are introduced.

For this purpose, research projects are carried out. For example, the ministry refers to a test project by Finizio from Eberswalde in Brandenburg. In a pilot plant, humic manure is produced from human manure. In the field test, it was distributed in open ground.

Fridolin Einwald (left) and his business partner Michael Heizmann.

Fridolin Einwald (left) and his business partner Michael Heizmann. | Photo: Philipp von Ditfurth

Finizio says that many soil and plant samples were collected, incl. in terms of pH, salinity and all kinds of elements and chemical compounds. The harvest of plants is planned for the summer. So it will be a while before the final results are available. The necessary steps for legislative changes would be even longer.

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