Separett Toilet Review


Separett Composting Toilets

Separett composting toilet
Separett Villa



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. These are “urine separating” toilets, which divert the urine away from the main composting chamber for separate disposal.

The logic behind this is simple – most of the problems associated with composting toilets result from too much liquid in the composting chamber. If there is too much liquid you can get odor problems and leaks. Composting will not occur if the contents of the main chamber are too wet. Instead of compost, you get a tank full of sewage.

Separett composting toilet urine drain forward
top view showing separate openings for liquids (forward) and solids.

The older composting toilet designs try to get around this problem with evaporation. They use built in electric heaters and/or fans to achieve this. As long as evaporation can keep up with the liquids being introduced, this will work fine. But in the real world, they sometimes fail to keep up, and the aforementioned problems occur.

Separett composting toilet drain pit for urine

 

 

 

By eliminating urine at the source, Separett toilets avoid these problems. However, you do need to devise a method to get rid of the urine. Separett suggest diverting it directly into a simple drain pit outside of your home or cottage. Alternatively you can store it in a tank, dilute it 10:1 with water, and use it as fertilizer. A third option is to connect it to your gray water system. Urine is basically sterile and does not pose a health risk.

The Separett toilets come in two models – the 9200, which plugs into a regular wall outlet or the 9210, which runs on 12 volt electricity (i.e. battery, solar panel). An adapter is included with the 9210 so you can actually plug it into a wall if your needs change.

Separett composting toilet emptying
sliding out the removable bin (shown with lid on)

Striving for simplicity (which equals greater reliability and lower cost), there are few moving parts inside the Separett. Unlike many other toilets, there is no mechanical system to rotate the contents, no trays that must be cleaned, no drawers that slide out, and as mentioned, no heaters.

The Separett uses a removable composting bin, lined with a compostable plastic bag, to contain the solid wastes. The company states that, because very little liquid enters the bin, it should not need to be emptied frequently – but this depends on how many use it. Practically speaking, a family of four would likely empty it once every 2 months or so.  When the bin becomes full, you open the toilet, close the compostable plastic bag, and roll out the inner composting bin. The Separett comes with three of these inner bins, so you simply replace the full one with an empty one. Put the lid on the bin you just removed, and let it sit somewhere for about 6 months for the contents to fully break down. After 6 months, it is safe to put the contents on ornamental plants.

A big advantage of the Separate is that the inside of the toilet itself stays clean. All waste is contained in the compostable bags and removed. You are never faced with cleaning composted, semi-composted and (yuck) un-composted feces from inside the toilet. This is a common (and unpleasant) task with older styles of composting toilets.

Separett composting toilet inner bin
removable bin lined with compostable bag

With the three included composting bins, the Separett has essentially unlimited capacity. You can purchase extra bins if large numbers of people are using the toilet.

One nice feature is the weight activated “door”. The lower chamber remains tightly sealed at all times, but once you sit on the seat the door automatically opens, allowing solids to drop below.

The Separett is an attractive toilet that would not look out of place in any home. There is no awkward step up, as with some models. It seems well made and sturdy. There are no complex inner workings, like mechanical “raking” systems that are prone to failure. There is a 5 year warranty. Separett is made by well paid and fairly treated workers in Sweden, which makes the very reasonable price surprising.

Separett composting toilet inside, bin removed
Inside the toilet, bin removed

See a detailed installation video here.


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2 thoughts on “Separett Toilet Review

  • Carol Ann Hardenstein

    I have almost decided on purchasing the Separett Villa 9000. I have normal electricity. I am running scared regarding a utube video where they were dealing with constant maggot issues. I am a 65 year old woman living by myself in the woods of upstate New York. I cannot afford a septic system plus do not want a septic contaminating the only spot I have for a shallow hand dug well. Can you address this fly/maggot issue for me? I am getting tired of emptying out a porta potty to my outhouse twice a week. I’ve done this for almost 4 years now and it’s killing my back to lift the sloshing swill laden container. I need to make my life easier at this stage of my life. Oh I also have a gray water setup with piping going down 8 feet to a 33 gallon drum sitting on 1 ft of drainage stone with a sandy soil. I plan to put the urine hose into that. Is that safe to protect my future well which will be a good 50 feet from the well site?

    • richardbrunt Post author

      I know the video you are talking about, and I’ve tried several times to contact them and help them solve their problem (which is easy to do), but they will not respond to me. Flies (or maggots) is a problem that affects about 5% of users, normally in the deep south, and is easily solved. I have a complete post on this topic that explains what to do in detail. Call me if you want to discuss. Rest assured, flies or maggots are not a difficult problem. You likely won’t have them, and if you do, they are easy to get rid of and prevent.
      Regarding your well, I’m not an expert in this and cannot advise you if that is too close to your well. I think it depends on the soil. Sorry I don’t know the answer.