Can worms recycle the contents of Dry Urine Diverting Toilets?

by Morgan

Worms can recycle human feces

Worms can recycle human feces

Hello I have a question about "Dry urine diverting toilets (U. D. D. T. s)", sometimes referred to as "composting toilets" which is actually a name for something else. Can worms eat and recycle the contents of those toilets?

These toilets work by having feces mix with a considerable amount of matter more or less the same as the various worm beddings suggested and the urine is diverted into a bottle for separate disposal.

Since chicken waste was ruled out - presumably due to urine and feces all being mixed as one, but not sure if that's the only reason why - just wanted to check for sure.

And, since people tend to eat pretty acidic diets and worms don't fare well in acidic conditions, it seems possible that worms may not like this particular waste if the acidity is retained in the feces. -

just a starting reference for what these toilets are. -

One of the other kinds of toilets confused with urine diverting dry toilets. -

another effort toward which some various other kinds of toilets may be designed that might be confused with either of the two previous types of non-plumbing toilets.

So, can worms eat the contents of these U. D. D. T. toilets (minus the urine)? If so, how often should how much be added... say for a typical family of 4 or 5, how often should they contribute their toilets' contents?

Thanks for your time, Someone with a Question :)

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Jul 24, 2016
more comments
by: Caroline Littlewort

Here is some further comment that may be relevant, and as far as I understand from my reading, the ecosan, composting toilet and UDDT are not mutually exclusive, the UDDT being a type which could be used in an ecosan or a composting context, or not. If the feces in the UDDT get very dry, the worms will not like it. I am not sure how to interpret the description 'desiccation' in the UDDT and wonder how this is done, if it is done with the application of heat, isn't this rather energy wasteful. If the feces merely dessiccate naturally I think the worms will cope just fine, but here is a comment which includes them all... I would say yes it can be done, this is just confirmation from another source who appears to know what they are talking about... its all in getting the balances right

Jul 24, 2016
yes I believe they can
by: Caroline Littlewort

hi there, this was a very pertinent question. I do not have one of these special urine diverting toilets. However I am basically practicing with the same process in a more low tech manner. For six months I have been feeding my own manure to worms, and I separate off my urine by using a shallow bowl in the toilet for catching it, and a bucket to sit on when I know the feces are coming, to catch those. So I basically separate off the urine 'by hand'. I do this because Stephan, of told me that the worms cannot take too much urine, and I put out about 5 Litres a day. The urine produces ammonia, and since worms breathe through their skin this would burn them and have toxic effects. I process the urine by mixing it with high carbon additives like sawdust, newspaper, dried leaves and so on, and composting it somewhere else. The worms dispose of my feces within about 3 months, so you need enough surface area. I use 7 square meters of worm bed surface to do this, and its working fine without odour, and the worms are thriving and flock to the feces in great solid masses of wriggling pink life. In short I believe ....yes you can... just watch the relationship between feeding quantities, bed area and worm population, my population was low, and with a higher population, a smaller surface area may be possible.

Jul 23, 2016
Worms can recycle human feces
by: Stephan

Hello I trust you are well.

Thank you for your post and the interesting questions. Let me get right away to the answers.

Q1) Can worms eat and recycle the contents of "Dry urine diverting (U. D. D. T. s)" toilets?

A1) As a rule of thumb, worms can basically eat and recycle anything that has ever been alive and is now dead. This includes as well many kinds of feces. We have successfully recycled dog poop, horse manure, human manure and cat poop ourselves and other animal waste like rabbit-, sheep- and cattle manure are eagerly consumed by compost worms as well. Having said this it is important to make sure that the basic living requirements of the worms are put in place in their environment for the process to be successful in the long run. For some more information about the requirements of the worms have a look at

So it should generally not be a problem to feed the contents of a U.D.D.T. toilet to compost worms.

As you rightly mentioned worms dislike acidic environments but are able to feed on acidic materials as long as they can retreat into their pH neutral and moist bedding once they have finished feeding.

Another important aspect for the survival of the worms will be enough oxygen flow in their environment. They breath through their skin and are therefore in need of a regular air supply.

Q2) So,if worms can eat the contents of these U. D. D. T. toilets (minus the urine), how often should and how much should be added... say for a typical family of 4 or 5, How often should they contribute their toilets' contents?

A2) The amount of human manure and other food worms can consume depends on the consistency of the waste and the quantity of worms to do the job. It is estimated that 8000 compost worms (Eisenia fetida) can consume an average of 1kg of food per day. In order to find out how many worms you would need to successfully recycle all the waste that is produced by a household in the U. D. D. T. toilets (minus the urine) you would have to weigh the amount of human manure and bedding that the people in question produce on average every day. Making a rough estimate I would guess a worm herd of about 30 to 40000 might be sufficient to recycle the solid waste (minus the urine) 4 to 5 people produce in their Toilet per day.

For some more information about recycling of feces read our page that explains how worms recycle dog poop

convert it in nutrient rich natural fertilizer.

I trust this information will help you.

Kind regards

Stephan Kloppert
Author of "How to start a profitable worm business on a shoestring budget"

Editor of ""

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How worms recycle human manure