Design & DIY

The lowdown on incinerating toilets

incinerating toilet

Heat waste to about 600°C. The Incinolet (below) is akin to a self-cleaning oven, using an electric element to char waste. Fuelled by propane or natural gas, Storburn toilets incinerate  30 to 40 uses at a time, in a process that begins “like boiling potatoes on a stove,” says company president David R. Gabriel.

The good: 
The end result is sterile ash.

The bad: Energy demand. The Incinolet needs 1 kilowatt (about 12 cents at peak price) per use. (By comparison, the electric fan and heater in a 
self-contained composting toilet will run between 6 and 13 hours on the  same juice.) A 20 lb  barbecue-sized tank  of propane handles  90 to 120 uses of the Storburn.

The ugly: 
On still days, pungent exhaust could send the neighbours indoors.

The ick factor: The Storburn holds waste, vault-style, for days until full. Some use the com-pany’s odour-fighting masking foam—but that’s only “for the timid,” scoffs Storburn user Joe Farnham.