Envirolet Buzz | Composting Toilet Reviews, Photos, News, Tips and more

Toilets & Sanitation Archives

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Envirolet FlushSmart VF System in Ontario

Just a quick post with some customer submitted installation photos and video of an Envirolet® FlushSmart VF 300 Series System in Ontario.

Thanks, Jack! We appreciate it. Send us your Envirolet® installation photos and comments so we can post on Buzz!

Friday, November 14, 2008
Toilets & Sanitation

Taking Sanitation Seriously

CNN has an article about an issue that we know all too well about: the lack of proper sanitation in the world for over 2.6 billion people.

“The number of people worldwide without access to a toilet — no public restroom, no outhouse, no latrine, no smallest room — is a whopping 2.6 billion. That’s four out of ten people.

According to the World Toilet Organization, 2.2 million people, predominantly children, die every year from diarrhea — more than from malaria, from AIDS, from TB. That number dwarfs any casualties related to violent conflict.”

As you can see the issue is quite serious and needs immediate attention. The article does mention eco-sanitation, like our Envirolet® composting toilet systems, as a solution. Hopefully governments will begin to take this problem seriously.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Ban the Flush

Donate to charity: water

Did you know that more than 1.1 billion people in the world today don’t have the most basic thing: clean water to drink. Sadly, over 4,500 kids die each and every day from water-related disease.

To do his part, our friend & colleague Graham Hill (the founder of one of our favourite web sites, Treehugger) is using his birthday to support an organization called charity: water that has been making a real difference by contributing to their September campaign to bring clean and safe drinking water to the people of Ethiopia.

He has asked his friends that in lieu of birthday gifts to donate instead. 100% of the money raised will go directly to building freshwater wells, which will be proved with GPS coordinates and photos on Google Earth.

Well, you can help too! For more information or to donate visit his page:


Please pass this page off to your friends as well.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Envirolet in Greenburg Project

BUZZ WORD An Envirolet® Composting Toilet System is part of the Greensburg, KS re-building project. The project is to help re-build Greensburg, KS after a May 2007 tornado destroyed almost the entire community.

Architectural Review explains more about what happened and the re-building project:

“This Sunday, May 4, [2008] marks the one-year anniversary of the EF-5 tornado that destroyed most of Greensburg, Kansas. As part of a town-wide green initiative, students from the state’s two architecture schools are lending a hand in helping residents rebuild using sustainable design principles and techniques.

University of Kansas architecture professor Dan Rockhill’s well-known Studio 804 is working with the nonprofit Greensburg Art Center to develop Sustainable Prototype, a versatile prefabricated building that deploys multiple passive and active sustainable design techniques. Meanwhile, a group from Kansas State University is dotting the small city with 10-foot pods – a project called Greensburg Cubed – that promise to educate locals about the ecologically responsible design to which municipal leaders have committed in a variety of high-profile announcements.”

The project is being document on Planet Green’s television show, Greensburg. The show is executive produced by Leonardo DiCaprio. Of note, this is the second involvement by Envirolet® with Planet Green. Envirolet® filmed an episode of the new Bill Nye show, Stuff Happens.

Envirolet in Greensburg

Envirolet in Greensburg

An Envirolet® was supplied by Sancor Industries Ltd. (at no cost) to help with the project. The advanced composting system is being placed in the “watering can” cube (or pod).



Some features of the “watering can” other than the Envirolet® Composting Toilet System include:

• exterior cladding - reused aluminum newspaper press plates
• hot water - evacuated tube hot water heating system
• shower - Evolve shower head
• interior cladding - reused chalk boards from KSU campus
• doors - salvaged french doors from remodel project in the area
• decking - Tendura, wood fiber and recycled plastic composite decking, purchased used from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Kansas City
• window - the window above the sink is created from glass bottles mortared together like glass block
• roof / skylight - Polygal, a corrugated, slightly insulating polycarbonate
• tile and countertop - Enviroglas recycled glass
• structure - Structurally insulated panels

More photos and info to come soon!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Envirolet FlushSmart VF System Installation Update, Part 2

This is Part 2 of a series of testimonials about an Envirolet® FlushSmart VF 700 Series model installation. Be sure to read Part 1.

Some highlights from this testimonial include:

• Dramatic reduction in size of “mass” as system composts efficiently
• Reduction in water use from 0.5L to 0.2L per flush
• Toilet tissue preferences
• The lack of noise from vacuum unit

Read on:

Friday August 24, 2007

Arrive at cottage. Check level of mass in the Envirolet Compost Unit. It is just over the Aerator bar. No odour whatsoever. Will not be adding peat moss to unit. Trying new compost mixture. Add approximately 1 cup of Sanibark wood chips and 1/3 bag of new compost mixture. Move aerator bar to spread evenly.

Confirmed with son-in-law regarding leaching pit, that he did indeed (as instructed by one of the installers of the compost toilet system) cut a 3 inch pipe, drilled holes in it, closed one end with a margarine lid taped securely, made a hole in margarine lid and inserted drain line tube into the hole. This was placed down in the leaching pit 2 to 3 feet.

Husband has insulated drain line outside barn and inside leading from Envirolet Compost Unit. This will ensure that drain line will not freeze in the winter.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Early morning, very hot & humid at cottage. Very Faint urine smell around barn. (Editors note: Customer has vent installed lower than normal because of heavy trees.) Immediately add l cup of Sanibark wood chips and 1 cup of new compost mixture.

Late afternoon smell is totally gone! Using the Sanibark wood chips with new compost mixture (Editors note: New product we are testing.) works better than Sanibark wood chips and peat moss. With new compost mixture, smell is gone in the same day. Very pleased because we are having everyone over in the afternoon after the annual lake golf tournament. More cottagers ask to see the Envirolet VF Vacuum Flush Composting Toilet System. They are very impressed! I pass out your web site address.

Mary with Envirolet VF System

Husband placed plastic heavy duty garbage can lid over leaching pit with drain line inserted into lid. He places rocks on the lid. This will ensure that the lid does not blow away.

He cannot hook up water regulator because he could not get a union connector with a proper thread at local hardware store. Will try to come up with something else.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Very hot & humid again. No smell! But, I am being pro-active by adding 1 cup of Sanibark wood chips and 1 cup of new compost mixture to the unit. I move aerator bar to spread evenly.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Still hot & humid. No smell. I do not add anything to unit.

Studies have shown that an average individual will have 2 liquid and 1 solid waste per day. Have done my own study for our entire family of eight over a 3 day period. Total liquid 63 and total solid waste 21; therefore, average over 3 day period is, liquid 21 and solid waste 7.

Tuesday, August 28,2007

Husband has partially closed shut off valve on the water line to reduce the amount of water by more than 1/2. Previously was 5 ltr, now 2 ltr coming into bowl. We can definitely tell the difference because I had purposely not cleaned the toilet bowl in order to see the faint colouration of the water line. (Note, when bowl is cleaned, line disappears.) It should also be noted that there was no need to add any further water for waste - but if necessary in the future, we will hold down the electronic water button to the count of 2 before flushing. Because everyone has already gone home, the real test will be next weekend (Labour Day weekend) to see how this works for everyone in the family. We will ensure to inform everyone of the reason to conserve less water in the toilet bowl, hence the unit at the end of the day and what to do if they need more water.

Envirolet VF Tank in shed

I vacuum the units opening because some insulation has gotten into it. This will allow the air to flow freely. I also vacuum the power unit box to ensure no dust is retained inside. Before going home I am now ready to do my weekly maintenance program with the unit. I am very surprised to see that the mass has been reduced even further UNDER the aerator bar. When we arrived at the cottage on Friday, the mass was over the aerator bar. I use the aerator bar to spread mass evenly. I add 1 cup of Sanibark wood chips and 1 cup of New Compost Mixture. I then sprinkle a mixture of 2 tablespoons of Activator with 1 cup of warm water. I use the aerator bar again to spread mass evenly.

I spray the toilet bowl with an environmental cleaning product bought at the local Dominion store. I like this product because it is virtually odourless and really cleans the toilet bowl of any water stains from the lake water. I also use it to clean the toilet seat.

Just one last note from the family. Everyone agrees that the biodegradable toilet paper is the worst type of toilet paper. It just falls apart and just did not stand up to tests. We have used it just to compare but now that we are out we will go back to No Name/Equality (Editor note: These are well-known Canadian brands.) 1 ply tissue.

We do all agree that the Envirolet VF Vacuum Flush Composting Toilet System is the very best system that we have every had. Someone had asked if the noise of the vacuum flush was too loud. My response was that our newborn grandson was sound asleep in the next room and the noise of the vacuum flush didn’t even wake him up!! We would definitely recommend the Envirolet VF Vacuum Flush Composting Toilet System to everyone. For us, it just works great! And for our family of 8 using the system every weekend, we just couldn’t be happier! Thank you from all of us!


Look for Part 3 coming soon!

Send us your comments and photos for us to post on Envirolet® Buzz and help spread the word!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Envirolet FlushSmart VF System Installation Update, Part 1

Back in July 2007 we helped install an Envirolet® FlushSmart VF 700B at a cottage in Ontario for in-the-field testing. In exchange for us installing the system the customer (Mary D. and her family) agreed to keep detailed notes and update us on the status of the system. As you will read Mary and her family are satisfied Envirolet® customers. A future post will include her most recent comments.

Original installation slide show:

The customer notes and comments have allowed us to create a multi-part testimonial (more parts to come!) and in-the-field notebook on the operation of this Envirolet® System. It has also added to the already most comprehensive collection of composting toilet testimonials, collected here on Envirolet® Buzz, complied by any manufacturer of composting toilets in the world.

Photos and notes regarding the actual installation can be found on Buzz in a post from August 1, 2007.

In the original post, we noted that this was not a typical installation. It presented some interesting challenges with some unique installation requirements, including:

• There was a distance of 50 feet (15m) from the toilet floor in the bathroom to the VG (vacuum generator) and Compost Unit that was to be located in a stand-alone shed.

• In the first 5 feet (1.5m) the drain traveled down from the toilet about 5 feet (1.5m). In the next 35 feet (9m) the drain line was ground level (below the toilet). For the last 10 feet (3m) it had to travel up about 5 feet (1.5m).

• The wiring for the wall-mounted switch had to travel this same distance to the VG Unit.

• The customer wants to be able to use the system occasionally over the winter. So, a special heat cable was added to ensure the drain pipe does not freeze in the Canadian winters!

Here is a very detailed update that the customer (Mary D.) sent us in August 2007:

Saturday, July 21, 2007

How exciting!!!

Our Envirolet vacuum flush composing Toilet System was installed today!

We are a family of 9 with grandparents, parents, children and grandchildren (includes a newborn baby) that gathers every weekend at the cottage from early spring to late fall. We also spend weeks at a time on holidays at the cottage. Because we are water access, we wait until the ice is frozen before our entire family once again can spend quality time together at our family cottage over the winter months. Therefore, our priority was finding the toilet system that was right for our family, that can be used year round (spring, summer, fall and winter) and especially was environmentally safe, which was very important to us.

When you want the best, you go to the very best in the business, Sancor Industries Ltd. A family run business for over 30 years. We know this because we purchased our first Envirolet toilet system back in 1977. 25 years later, my husband built a wee bunkie for the two of us when our youngest daughter married. Our family was expanding. Of course, we installed a second Envirolet toilet system in our cabin. And now we are ready for new technology! The Envirolet VF Vacuum Flush Composting Toilet System! We decided to go with the VF 700B model with the push-button electronic flush. I liked the look and the convenience. I loved the fact that not only was the system completely environmentally safe, it’s ceramic bowl looked very modern & slim, giving us more room in the bathroom. More importantly, we decided upon the Envirolet VF because of its advanced technology; whereby, the vacuum generator pulverizes and aerates waste for improved composting efficiency! And for a family as large as ours, you can appreciate how important this is!

Although, the Envirolet Compost Unit could have been installed directly behind the wall of the bathroom or underneath the bathroom floor, we opted to have it installed in a newly built shed that was especially built for the Envirolet Compost Unit. Before the Sancor Team arrived we had an electrician install wiring according to code in the shed. We (our son-in-law, actually) dug a 50 foot, 9” deep trench that went from the bathroom floor to the shed for the drain tube, wiring and heated cable.

Toilet in the Bathroom

The Sancor Team arrived on time. We picked them up by boat because we are water access. They worked together efficiently to install the Envirolet Vacuum Flush Composting Toilet system. Within a 3 - 4 hour time frame everything was easily installed and ready to go. The Team had thought of everything! They had the foresight to have family members test the push button electronic flush before they finalized the connection. This ensured that the little ones and other members of our family could push the “flush button - to test it”; therefore not filling the Envirolet Compost Unit with excessive “testing water”.

While the Sancor Team were installing the system, our son-in-law (isn’t he terrific?) dug a leaching pit ensuring to have a gravity drop from the composting tank drain exit to the drain site. Stones and gravel were put into the leaching pit according to local regulations.

Upon finalizing the connection, time was spent with the family specifically detailing how the Envirolet Vacuum Flush Composting Toilet System works. We were also brought into the shed and shown, “hands-on” how to maintain the Envirolet Compost Unit.

Before leaving, the Sancor Team cleaned up and removed all of the original packaging from the system.

The entire family agreed that the installation went very smoothly!!!

Monday, July 23, 2007

We marvel at how efficient the Vacuum Flush Composting Toilet System is!!!

And on top of that…. it looks great!!! We also have more space in our bathroom.

Eight family members have constantly used the system - with absolutely no complaints. We are using biodegradable rapid-dissolving toilet paper (environmentally safe). Before leaving the cottage, as per instructions given to me by the Sancor Team, I remove the service panel in the compost unit. I add one cup of peat moss mixed with one cup of wood shavings. I also add 2 tablespoons of compost accelerator with a glass of warm water to the unit. I then move the aerator bar back and forth. I turn the switch on Fans Only to test if the unit is energy efficient.

It should be noted that before our first weekend with our new system, we have had a total of 4 different cottagers over to inspect the system. They all have the same goals in mind for an efficient, environmentally safe system that could be used over the winter. We are happy to share this new technology with our friends!!!

Mary with Envirolet VF System

Friday, July 27, 2007

Back at the cottage I am pleased to see that just keeping the “Fans only” on has kept the mass dry and saved energy. I now switch to Heater & Fans. Our entire family of 9 will be up for the weekend, with four members of the family staying for a week’s holiday thereafter. System working great!! Loving it!!

Monday, July 30, 2007

I am leaving the system of Heater & Fans on, as previously stated, because of family holidays. I ensure to add peat moss mixed with wood chips and the compost accelerator mixture before I leave the cottage.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Entire family at cottage for next 5 days. It is very hot and humid. Everyone is using the Envirolet Vacuum Flush Composting Toilet System. Shed is now insulated inside. My husband felt that insulating would help to further keep the shed’s temperature warmer in the winter months. Another cottager comes over to find out more about the Envirolet VF System. Very interested!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Notice a very faint smell near the shed. Not surprising, we are all drinking more liquid as it continues to be very hot & humid; therefore, using the system constantly. Immediately troubleshoot by adding 1 cup of peat moss mixed with 1 cut of wood chips to system.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Although it continues to be very hot and humid the faint smell from the previous day is entirely gone. Remind myself and everyone else to be pro-active the next time in hot & humid weather and don’t hesitate to add peat moss & wood chips more frequently.

Because we are going home today, I add 1 cup of peat moss mixed with 1 cup of wood chips and the compost accelerator mixture in warm water and uese the aerator bar. I have purchased an environmentally safe cleaner to clean the toilet bowl & seat from the local hardware store. It works very well.

It should also be noted that we are just hitting the flush button after use, irregardless whether it is a dry or liquid mass going into the toilet. It has not been necessary to add more water when flushing.

Our children, spouses and grandchildren all agree with us that Envirolet VF Vacuum Flush Composting Toilet System is the absolute very best, most efficient system we have ever had! Especially knowing it is environmentally safe and we can use it year round. Cottagers are always helping each other; therefore, from one Family Cottage to another on a scale of 100 we rate this system 120 !!! It goes beyond our expectations!! Sancor’s new technology will totally blow you away!!

Wow! Great comments! Thank you to Mary and her family for their wonderful updates. Look for more updates in a future post.

Send us your comments and photos for us to post on Buzz and help spread the word!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Envirolet is a Holy Convenience in the UK

Churches are a popular application for Envirolet® composting toilet systems. Especially, in older churches that have no access to water. Check out this story from Country Way magazine in the UK.

Holy Convenience

It’s a case of relief all round in Wilby. No longer will parishioners sit crossed legged in St Mary’s following the installation of a unique environmentally friendly compostible toilet, a first for the diocese. Developed in the Canadian backwoods, the loo, located in its own inconspicuous wooden hut, needs no water or septic tank, only an electricity supply.

“Wilby’s showing the way. This is a very modern and responsible solution to the problem of providing toilet for a medieval building,” says Lay Elder Sheila Pipe. “It enormously expands the use the community can make of its church.” The green convenience cost about £2,500.

“We are keen to embrace modern technology into medieval buildings,” says James Halsall our DAC Secretary. “It’s a cheap option with a minimal footprint, that is removable if necessary. It makes it very much easier to grant permission for it to be installed.”

Reprinted with permission from Country Way magazine in the UK.

Download a PDF version of the article.

If you are in the UK, visit us online at envirolet.co.uk.

Send us your Envirolet® photos and stories!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Envirolet in Antarctic at E-Base 2041

Envirolet® can be installed anywhere! Now it’s in the Antarctic!

There is a great video testimonial showing two waterless Envirolet® Composting Toilet Systems in use in the Antarctic at the E-Base 2041 camp. E-Base is a cool project that sent a team to the Antarctic to live on renewable and clean energy.

Envirolet® helped provide the sanitation and is described in the video as their “prized possession.” It was installed in a sturdy tent structure called the “Scott Tent.”

Watch the video now.

Video still showing Envirolet® in the bathroom tent.

More About E-Base

Following his success in removing 1,500 tons of rubbish from Antarctica and with the foresight and support of the Russian Antarctic Division, Robert Swan stood at the Bellingshausen Russian base on King George Island looking down on the beach that had been cleaned. From that moment he believed that an education station in Antarctica, where the world could see the beauty of this incredible continent, would inspire and educate people around the world about climate change and play a crucial role in promoting renewable energy, preservation and conservation for future generations.

Since 2003, Robert Swan and the 2041 team have taken over 150 people from 25 nations to Antarctica. Each year these teams have contributed to the design and construction of what would be known as the E-Base.

The E-Base serves as a model for educational, environmental and energy issues. Its purpose is to inspire a global audience to tackle the issue of climate change. It shows that if we can achieve the seemingly impossible in Antarctica, then we can all take small, achievable steps in our own backyards.

The E-Base is located at Bellingshausen Station, a Russian Antarctic station at Collins Harbor on King George Island, the largest of the South Shetland Islands, located at 62°12’S, 58°58’W.

Via E-Base web site.

We love seeing Envirolet in use! Send us your photos, video and comments!

Older entries

Older entries