A Green Guide To Camping Toilets

New campers often say that going to the toilet is one of the things that concerns them most when contemplating time away from home in a caravan, campervan or tent. Often, a camping holiday makes us think more than we would want to about our bodily functions. Whether we are camping in the wild with few facilities, at a campsite or enjoying comparative luxury when it comes to our toilet arrangements, where and how we deal with our bodily waste is something we should all consider.

Those of us with a love for the natural world should consider the environmental impact we are having at all times. So, what is the greenest way to handle our waste? This green guide to camping toilets is designed to demystify this messy business and help you manage waste in the most eco-friendly way possible in every situation.

Going Outdoors

If you are far from civilisation, going outdoors is a viable option. But human waste can pose a hazard to the environment. Make sure that when going outdoors, you go at least 30m from the nearest waterway, bury waste in soil at a depth of at least 15cm, and place paper in a sealed (biodegradable) bag to take away with you. Be considerate of others and steer clear of trails and busy locations.

Campsite Toilets

If you are not wild camping, then you will likely have access to toilet facilities on the campsite where you are staying. Campsite toilets can vary considerably in how 'rustic' they are. If you can, it is usually the greenest option to use campsite facilities rather than bringing your own. It is also important, however, to avoid putting strain on campsite systems. Obey all instructions, and don't put anything into the septic system that does not belong in there.

Simple Composting Loos

If you are staying at an eco-friendly campsite, you may be lucky enough to have access to a composting toilet. These are perfectly sanitary, and allow for the management of waste in a way that can allow for the return of nutrients to the natural system, and a reduction in the waste of water. Composting loos that are managed correctly should not smell too bad, and using them is often a green and perfectly acceptable experience.

Bucket & Bag Options

If you are camping somewhere without toilets, are far from the toilet block, or camping with young kids, you may find it helpful to have somewhere to go inside your campervan, caravan or tent. The simplest option is simply to use a bucket/bag with a lid. Sawdust can be used to mask the smell and the contents can later be disposed of responsibly. If using a plastic bag, try to use a biodegradable option.

Portable Flushing Toilets

Of course there are also a wide range of portable flushing toilets on the market. If you do choose to use one of these for your camping trips, be sure to use eco-friendly, formaldehyde-free toilet chemicals if you are trying to make a green choice.