On a day-to-day basis, very few of us spare a thought to the processes involved after we flush the toilet at home. All we know is that the waste disappears without having to do very much! Caravanners, however, are much more tuned in to what happens, and what needs to happen, when there is no traditional, flushable loo to hand, and many now have chemical toilets in their caravans.
A chemical toilet collects human waste in a holding tank, which may not always be emptied on a daily basis. As the name implies, a chemical toilet relies on chemicals. The chemicals are needed for two reasons; they reduce odours and break down the waste. Recirculating toilets also use the chemicals as the toilet flush liquid.
Many early chemicals contained formaldehyde, a highly toxic material more usually associated with the undertaking profession. Formaldehyde works to minimise smells because it is a biocide, which kills the bugs in human waste that cause the smells. Formaldehyde will break down over time but the concern lies in what potential damage could be done in this time. Today, however, in our increasingly eco-aware world, manufacturers are realising that caravanners want an eco-friendly product that will not damage the environment. Indeed, many caravan and campsites have now banned such chemicals as they can damage the ecosystems used to dispose of waste.
The chemicals in a portable toilet are categorised as pink and blue/green.
Pink chemicals - these work with the flushing water to keep it fresh and clean. A pink chemical is added to the fresh water tank to give a smoother flush, to clean out deposits, and to fight odours.
Green or blue chemicals – these are for use in the waste tank, where they will work to break down the tank’s contents. Green/blue chemicals also reduce any build up of gas and will minimise odours too.
Fortunately for us, as it has become generally accepted that formaldehyde-free chemicals are the best option, there are many that now state ‘formaldehyde-free’ on the packaging.
At BEC Ingoldmells, we stock a range of products by Thetford, an acknowledged market leader in toilet additives. Thetford develop and test their products in their own laboratories and their products have been formaldehyde-free since 2003. Additionally, all their products are suitable for plastic or ceramic toilet bowls.
The Thetford Aqua Rinse Plus and Aqua Rinse Concentrated are highly effective fluids for your fresh water tank. Not only will Aqua Pink enable a more effective flush, it will also keep the fresh water clean.
And finally, let’s talk toilet paper! Those wonderful, soft and cuddly puppies are all well and good but the reality is that luxury, multi-ply toilet tissue, and wet wipes, are too bulky to use in a chemical toilet. A ‘quick dissolve’ paper is best as it will break down more easily without clogging the toilet. Alternatively, ditch the luxury paper on holiday and opt for a cheaper quality which will also disintegrate more easily.