Which litter should I use for composting toilets?

Streu für Trenntoiletten
Table of Contents

The operation of composting toilets is based on two factors: separation and drying. The separation insert ensures the separation of urine and solids, while you need litter for the optimum drying of the big business. Everything you need to know about the function, use and cleaning of a composting toilet can be found in our detailed guide. At this point, we will take a closer look at the litter for the solid waste container.

Litter is the scent coat in a composting toilet. It removes moisture from the solids, thereby promoting the drying process and preventing odors from forming.

There are several types of litter you can use in your composting toilet. A common variant is sawdust, which is obtained from wood residues and is very suitable as a litter due to its fine grain size.

Alternatively, you can also use fine bark mulch, hemp fibers, Terra Preta, agents with activated carbon or coconut fibers. Dried coffee grounds also work well as a scent coat in the composting toilet. It is important that the litter is made of a natural, absorbent material that is biodegradable.

On the one hand, organic materials are ideally suited to the environmentally friendly operation of the composting toilet, and on the other hand, they are also suitable for composting.

Sawdust as litter for composting toilets

Sägespäne für Trenntoiletten

Sawdust as litter for composting toilets extremely popular, as it offers a variety of advantages.

In order to absorb moisture optimally, the components of the litter should be as dry and dust-free as possible. The latter is also an important point if you suffer from allergies. Here you will find an overview of the different types of litter for composting toilets.

Sawdust is highly absorbent and is good at absorbing moisture and odors.

Readily available
You can either buy sawdust from carpentry shops, hardware stores, or nurseries, or if you do a lot of woodworking, you can easily make your own. Compared to other litter materials such as hemp fiber or coconut fiber, they are relatively inexpensive.

Sawdust is very light. Thus, they provide very good aeration and improve the composting process.
Important: The sawdust should not be too fine. If the shavings are too small, they quickly become sticky.

Small animal litter as litter for composting toilets

Kleintierstreu für Trenntoiletten

Small animal litter is another option as litter for composting toilets and offers several advantages.

Small animal litter is usually made of absorbent material such as wood chips, hemp, straw, hay or paper, so it can absorb moisture and odors well.

Readily available
Small animal litter is available pretty much everywhere in the world in pet stores or supermarkets, making it easy to get even during a road trip.

Small animal litter, which is made from natural materials, is an environmentally friendly litter for segregation toilets and is suitable for composting.

Small animal litter is often less expensive compared to other litter materials such as hemp fiber or coconut fiber.

Small animal litter is sold in vacuum packs that can be transported to save space. 

Fine bark mulch as litter for composting toilets

Rindenmulch für Trenntoiletten

Fine bark mulch is also very suitable as a scent coat for composting toilets. 

Strongly odor-binding
Bark mulch contains polyphenols (flavonoids), which provide very good binding of odors.

Since bark mulch contains fragrances, it also provides a pleasant woodsy note to the quiet toilet.

Promotes the composting process
Fine bark mulch ensures rapid composting in the composting toilet.

Easily available
Bark mulch is available in just about every garden center. This makes it also very suitable as a "re-purchase litter" for on the go. 

Coconut fibers as litter for composting toilets

Kokosfasern für TrenntoilettenCoconut fibers are becoming increasingly popular as litter. They are especially suitable for toilets with agitators. If you want to use coconut bricks in your composting toilet, you should consider some things.

The coconut fibers convince with a very good absorbency. They also provide extremely good odor absorption.

Coconut fibers are a by-product from rope production, making them a sustainable use of resources.

Coconut fibers are available as compactly pressed bricks and are therefore very easy to transport.

Important: Coconut fibers are primarily suitable for use in composting toilets with agitators. For use in composting toilets, they must first be softened so that they swell apart and then dried again before they can be used as litter. Due to this rather cumbersome process, they are rather less suitable for composting toilets. In addition, coconut fibers are imported, leaving a larger carbon footprint.

Terra Preta, humus or soil as litter for composting toilets

Terra Preta für Trenntoiletten

Terra Preta, humus or soil can also be used as litter for composting toilets.

Promotes composting
Terra Preta, humus and soil naturally support the process of composting with their microorganisms. This makes them particularly suitable as litter for composting toilets in garden sheds or Tiny Houses.

Rich in nutrients
Terra Preta, humus and soil are rich in nutrients and, when composted completely, provide for the creation of high-quality fertilizer.

Important: If you choose Terra Preta, humus or soil as your litter of choice, you should not use a garbage bag in your solid waste container. Since the litter is quite heavy, there is a risk that the bag will tear when removed. 

Litter with activated carbon

Aktivkohle für Trenntoiletten

A special litter with activated carbon as a litter for composting toilets offers various advantages.

Odor neutralizing
Activated carbon is known to effectively absorb and neutralize odors. This makes it ideal for keeping unwanted odors out of the composting toilet.

The activated carbon in the litter binds moisture very well and thus optimally promotes the drying process in the back closet of the composting toilet.

Important: Litter with activated carbon is not available everywhere. Therefore, it makes sense to have enough litter on board before you go on tour. It is also possible to mix litter with activated carbon with other materials such as sawdust or small animal litter. This way you can make up your own and have an additional odor-binding effect. By the way: Why activated carbon is such a good scent blocker, we tell you here.

Dried coffee grounds as litter for composting toilets

Kaffeesatz für Trenntoiletten

Dried coffee grounds as litter are especially popular with filter coffee drinkers. 

Odor neutralizing
Coffee grounds have natural odor-fighting properties and can effectively reduce unpleasant odors, helping to keep the composting toilet fresh.

Coffee grounds can effectively absorb liquids and moisture, ensuring a good drying process.

Readily available
Coffee grounds are readily available. However, you really need to drink a lot of coffee if you want to exclusively use the grounds as bedding.

By recycling the coffee grounds, you are being very sustainable with this type of litter.

Biological cat litter for composting toilets

Katzenstreu für Trenntoiletten

Similar to small animal litter, organic cat litter is also made from plant fibers such as wood or corn, so it can also be used as a litter for composting toilets.

Because of its plant-based components, organic cat litter has high absorbency, making it a good moisture and odor absorber.

Easily available
Organic cat litter is available in many pet stores.

Organic cat litter is environmentally friendly and biodegradable.

Don't use conventional cat litter!

When it comes to litter for composting toilets, sooner or later the question of cat litter always comes up. Obviously, it is. After all, the cat litter with its absorbent litter works similarly scent-blocking, as the litter over the solids of the composting toilet. However, cat litter has no place in the latter because it develops serious disadvantages here.

Less absorbent
Compared to other litter materials such as sawdust, small animal litter or coconut fiber, cat litter has a lower absorption capacity. This means that it can't absorb moisture as effectively and thus doesn't bind odors effectively.

Contains chemicals and fragrances
Some types of cat litter contain chemicals and fragrances that can cause irritation or allergies. They also don't fit with the eco-friendly concept of the composting toilets.

Forms lumps
Cat litter forms clumps when it absorbs moisture. These can become so heavy that the litter bag tears when removed from the solids container.

You see, conventional cat litter is not suitable as litter for the composting toilet. Instead, you have a choice of a colorful bouquet of different litter varieties made from a wide variety of materials that are much more effective as scent coats. And do not forget: The proof of the pudding is in the eating! Try out different materials to find out which litter suits you and your quiet little place best. You are also allowed to mix and match. The main thing is that you like it!


  • Günther

    Jede Streu-Art hat ja auch ihren Nachteil, z.B. Gewicht, Anwendung, Preis oder Stauraum usw. – könntet ihr die jeweiligen Nachteile bitte noch ergänzen? Sehr hilfreich wäre auch z.B. jeweils eine Sternchenbewertung der Leistungsfähigkeit – Danke!
    Trelino® Composting Toilets replied:
    Hallo Günther, vielen lieben Dank für Deine Anmerkung. Allerdings fällt es uns schwer, hier Bewertungen zu ergänzen, da die Einschätzungen der Kunden recht unterschiedlich ausfallen.  Jeder Kunde hat beim Streu eigene Vorlieben und Ergebnisse. Aber gerne veröffentlichen wir alle Kommentare mit einzelnen Erfahrungen und Empfehlungen. Ganz liebe Grüße aus Düsseldorf – Justyna – Dein Trelino® Team

  • Moll Dirk

    Wir waren 6 Wochen mit einem 20Kg-Sack unterwegs. Und wir haben immer so viel Duftblocker verwendet, dass die Toilette hat nie gemüffelt hätte. Wir haben aber auch den Trelino Lüfter verbaut, der auch sehr hilfreich ist.
    Gruß Dirk

  • Kerstin Haß

    Hallo, wie lange reichen wir, 2 Personen mit einem Sack Duftblocker von euch ? Bei 1x pro Tag / Person " großes Geschäft ", wollen 4 Monate unterwegs sein und da Stauraum und Gewicht im VAN begrenzt sind, diese Frage
    Trelino® Composting Toilets replied:
    Hallo Kerstin, der 20 Liter Sack Duftblocker reicht für etwa 3-4 Wochen bei Verwendung von 2 Personen. Natürlich kommt es darauf an, wie viel Streu Du verwendest. Liebe Grüße Justyna – Trelino® Team

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