Phipps Conservatory brings first composting toilet to Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH — Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is home to the first composting toilet in Pittsburgh.

The addition is part of Phipps’ composting initiative and uses the same biochemical processes found in backyard compost heaps.


While the composting toilet works like a regular toilet, it uses oxygen, heat and moisture to convert waste into nutrient-rich compost and eliminates pathogens, according to Phipps. It reduces water use and also reduces emissions by using aerobic microbes that quickly break down waste.

“Composting is part of Phipps’ larger commitment to advance human and environmental well-being. From food and plants to cardboard, Phipps composted over 1.1 million pounds of waste in 2016,” a news release said.