An innovative eco-loo that doesn’t need water, electricity or chemicals has been installed at the new dolphin-watching centre at Torry Battery.
The whole Greyhope Bay facility and café is entirely off-grid, in keeping with the sustainable, low-impact ethos of the founders.
It made sense for the toilets to be eco-friendly too, but building an eco-loo in one of the windiest and most exposed points of Aberdeen wasn’t easy.
A poo with a view
Fiona McIntyre is the founder and managing director of the Greyhope Bay Centre, the new dolphin-spotting community space housed in glass-sided shipping container at Torry Battery.
The centre, and the toilets, face directly out to sea and open to the public in April.
Fiona explained that of all of the specifications, suggestions and community feedback they received over the course of the project, toilets at Greyhope Bay were top of the list.
“That was the main thing people told us, ‘there are no loos at the Battery’,” said Fiona.
“So we knew it was important to include them, but we couldn’t just shove in a couple of Portaloos.”
The whole site is built on a historic monument at the top of an exposed cliff, not to mention being off-grid and environmentally sustainable.
Several weeks of internet searching later, the team found the Kabuza Eco-Loos.
How do the eco-toilets work?
The round wooden pods are what is known as dry composting toilets, using wind and sunlight to break down the organic matter.
“Imagine a big bathtub buried below each toilet,” said Fiona.
“Then there is a raised platform with baskets to collect the solid waste, so to speak.
“Liquid waste goes right through the basket into the tub.”
She explained that the loos are each attached to a chimney which is orientated to the south.
This chimney pulls air up and through the toilet, evaporating the liquids and drying out the solid waste so it decomposes quicker.
“They are very cool,” said Fiona. “And apparently odourless, especially when things have been… first deposited, shall we say.”
This is because the chimney is pulling air through the loo at all times, so any smells shouldn’t linger.
Where else could these toilets at Greyhope Bay be useful?
Inside, the toilets are much bigger and more hygienic than any outdoor facilities you’ve likely used before.
There’s a shelf for bags and coat hooks for jackets too.
The pair of loos cost around £15,000 in total, funded in part by Aberdeen City Council’s Coastal Communities Fund.
“I’d never seen one before but they are brilliant and incredibly simple to maintain,” said Fiona.
“I’d love to see them around in places where people go to visit wildlife and environments but where there aren’t any amenities around.
“Even around the city centre in parks and such – they are perfect for that, particularly since there are so few public loos these days.”
Another idea would be to place them strategically around popular but remote tourist routes like the NC500 where there have been problems with human waste.
You can try the new Greyhope Bay eco-loos for yourself later in April when they (and the rest of the centre) open to the public.
They are sure to be the number one (or number two…) place to visit in Aberdeen in no time.