Vermicomposting toilets – what are they and how do they work?

If you’ve been using your composting toilet for a while now, or are new to the world of composting toilets you may have stumbled across the term vermicomposting toilet. We’re going to look at what these are, if they work and what’s involved with keeping one. 

What is a Vermicomposting toilet?

Put simply, a vermicomposting toilet is like a traditional composting toilet but with the addition of worms to help with the composting process. Worms have been used in the composting process for thousands of years and recently (around the 1990’s) many people have been experimenting with using worms in composting toilets. 

How does a Vermicomposting toilet work?

A Vermicomposting toilet works in the same way a traditional composting toilet works but there’s an additional element added to the compost pile – worms. The addition of worms to a composting toilet means there are several organisms and processes. Adding worms to the composting pile means that they, along with bacteria, fungi and protozoa, will work at breaking down the waste in your system to make the compost. 

Do Vermicomposting toilets require additional work?

Yes! Very much so. The addition of worms to your composting pile means there are many additional steps you will need to make to ensure your toilet is running properly. 

It’s worth noting that not all composting toilets can work with the addition of worms. If, for example, your composting toilet has a mixing mechanism, this will not end well for the worms. 

Typically worms really only work in split system composting toilets like the Clivus Multrum range of composting toilets. This means that worms can live in a separate container system and aren’t agitated, mixed or moved by mechanical means. 

Do I need to add additional food items into the composting toilet for the worms to live?

Typically you will need to add food scraps to the composting toilet to supplement the worms’ diet or they are likely to die. There is nothing wrong with adding foodstuffs into a composting toilet, however, we do find that once this is done it’s likely you will now be facing issues with vinegar flies (fruit flies) as they are attracted to these food items. Once fruit flies get into your composting toilet system, it’s a fair amount of work and a bit of a process to remove them. 

Do Vermicomposting toilets require special conditions to work?

Yes. Vermicomposting toilets can be very temperamental as it’s imperative you keep your compost pile at the right temperature in summer and winter. Too hot and your worms will die, likewise if it’s too cold. Worms also need a certain amount of liquid in the pile so if you’re going away for any length of time (over a week or so) you will need to make sure someone can add foodstuffs to your compost pile, otherwise, you may get back from holidays and find all the worms in your pile are dead. 

Are Vermicomposting toilets worth the effort it takes to maintain them?

Here at Clivus Multrum we’re of the opinion that worms are better kept in the garden, not in your composting toilet. Whilst it’s possible to keep worms in a composting toilet (particularly the Clivus Multrum range) we feel the amount of work it takes to ensure the temperature, feed items and other elements needed to maintain vermicomposting toilets really isn’t worth the effort when the composting process will work just fine without them.

If you would like further advice on using worms or vermicomposting toilets, please call us on 1300 138 182.


Why national parks are a great place for composting toilets

National parks are an amazing part of the Australian landscape. They’re home to tens of thousands of species of animals and are the source of ecosystems that range from dense and luscious rainforest through to some of the most remarkably hostile tracts of land on the planet.

It’s no wonder then, that Australians and international visitors arrive all year round at these amazing national parks to view the full splendor they afford us.

Whilst many get right to it taking photos, hiking the thousands of kilometers of trails or getting around via 4WD, some of us need to make a pitstop before we take off into the wild.

This is where you will find a contraption that’s very simple in it’s design and execution, but within its bowels there is a complex and lively combination of processes going on. I’m talking of course about the humble composting toilet.

Now for those Australians or international visitors that haven’t used one of these types of bathrooms before it can be quite the experience. The idea of sitting atop a mound of one of humanity's less talked about pastimes can seem somewhat strange to modern day man, but if we look back over the history and explore the benefits of these natural bathroom wonders, you’ll soon see that what we get out, is certainly not what we put in. It’s much, much better.

If you travel around Australia and visit some of the 500 different national parks on offer, you will notice that a large proportion of them tend to have composting toilets. The question we’re going to explore today is why?


Australia is a rugged and unforgiving landscape. The Aboriginal people paid their respects to the land they lived on and in the spirits that shared them because they knew all too well how quickly things can change in this wide brown land.

Now imagine that you need to engineer a way to get plumbing, water, and a sewage system into the landscapes you’re bound to encounter in the 28 million plus hectares of national parks in Oz. That’s quite a feat in landscaping, project management and transportation.

One of the more innovative solutions that Clivus Multrum have designed is the flat packed bathroom system. This is a composting toilet and building all-in-one that’s boxed up and ready to ship to wherever it’s needed.

We have even helicoptered these into remote locations that weren't accessible by vehicle.


The sheer size of Australia means that you need to travel many kilometres to get anywhere. This means that governments and councils responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of public amenities also need to travel vast distances to maintain these facilities.

It makes sense that the less maintenance that’s required on these buildings, the better. That’s why many national parks, local councils, and state governments choose a composting toilet solution because put simply, there is minimal maintenance needed when compared to a conventional toilet plumbed in system.

Composting toilets have almost no moving parts, won’t have components that rust or fail and require minimal maintenance to perform at optimum levels. It’s a simple, elegant and beneficial solution that many government departments and accommodation providers are starting to explore.


Australia is the driest continent on earth. This being the case it makes sense to save as much of this precious resource as possible. Composting toilets or waterless toilets as they’re sometimes called use no water in their composting process.

This leaves any water requirements for drinking or washing hands which can be taken care of with the installation of a water tank next to the bathroom building. This is ideal for remote and dry locations as there’s no need to run piping or town water to the block.

Composting toilets are essentially drought-proof. Having little rain or groundwater available will have minimal impact on the composting process.

So the next time you’re in a national park and happen to stumble across a composting toilet, put a smile on your face as not only are you saving water and helping the environment, you’re reducing your footprint on our beautiful national parks so future generations can enjoy them (and the bathrooms) for many years to come.


What actually happens when you poop in a composting toilet?

Poop, kaka, number two, the black banana, the bondi cigar, colon cobras, doo-doo, the monkey's tail, mud bunnies, mr ploppy, or the simple turd… no matter what you call it (and trust us we’ve heard all the names!) we all do it. But not all of us have gotten over our ‘poo-a-phobia’ to realise this is actually…

Top ten reasons you should consider a composting toilet

At one time or another, we’ve all considered what we can do to help the planet. Sure there’s the usual waste less, recycle more, plant a tree, grow a few herbs, etc. If you’re considering doing something that will make a big impact on your life and the planet, consider installing a composting toilet. With that in…

Why more commercial businesses are using composting toilets

When thinking about commercial toilet systems there’s a couple of things companies are always looking for:-
Page 1 of 2

Blog Categories

Contact us

25 Shannon Place
Virginia QLD 4014

Phone: (07) 3889 6144
Toll Free: 1300 138 182