Wellington Trial of Emergency Compost Toilets

Greater Wellington Regional Council


4 Months

Project Manager

Date Completed

Could a compost toilet be the institutional response solution for councils and government in an emergency?

Following on from the great work of the Permaculture Emergency Response Group’s work in Christchurch through 2010/11, running workshops, talking to stakeholders in council, community groups and individuals a model composting toilet was devised that is user friendly, safe, cheap and simple to use.

GreenEarth and has been in talks with emergency management representatives from the local councils in the Wellington region discussing the activities and lessons from Christchurch and how they may apply to the Wellington scenario.

Although initially the response was hesitant, the potential in the system was realised. GreenEarth also began a public awareness push to gauge public interest from a population uninfluenced by the upheaval of an emergency situation. So through a Transition Towns Lower Hutt presentation, Lower Hutt community centre emergency preparedness day (including having mayor Ray Wallace sit on the toilet!!) and a stall at the Kāpiti Sustainable Home and Garden Show an positive response was gauged providing more momentum to push it along.

In early 2011 the Wellington Regional Council decided to submit a funding proposal for a pilot project to explore the feasibility of composting toilets in emergencies. In June 2012 the proposal has been accepted and work will commence inSeptember on a 4 month project.

GreenEarth along with Gary Williams from Waterscapes (www.waterscape.co.nz) will consult on the design and implementation of the project as well as facilitating workshops for council staff and participants.

Throughout this process Greenearth has been involved in:

  • Organising and running workshops on composting toilets.
  • Designing and building composting toilet prototype models.
  • Organising, presenting and discussing composting toilets with Wellington Council officials.

Media and Links
Taking quake readiness to the next level

Compost loos the best in a pinch