In this video above, I cover one of the less pleasant aspects of vanlife, emptying the cassette toilet!
In my Talbot Express camper van, I have a Thetford cassette toilet, that can hold around 20 litres in the waste tank. It has a separate tank for fresh water, and this is used for a water flush, similar to a normal toilet that you have in your house.
I generally use the toilet for "number ones" only, but will use it for "number twos" in an emergency, generally if I am drunk or hung over 😉 haha.
The waste tank is removed via a locker on the side on the van, and it can be emptied down any normal toilet or specialist waste disposal point at a campsite. Looking around online, many people who wild camp empty their cassettes in public toilets, and carry a dedicated kit (antibacterial wipes, air freshener etc) to make sure they leave the public toilet cleaner than when they found it. However you may get some strange looks if the adjacent cubicle is occupied when they hear the sound of the waste flowing into the bowl!
In the video above I didn't wear gloves when emptying, but made sure I cleaned my hands with antibacterial hand wash afterwards. You can of course keep a set of washing up gloves in the cassette locker for use when emptying the tank.
You have to add chemicals to the holding tank to help break down solids, but many people now use a bio washing liquid in place of the expensive chemicals. The cheapest place to find this is in Aldi or Lidl's in the UK. Many people report satisfactory results on motorhome forums and Facebook groups, and I can confirm the bio liquid works well, and helps keep the waste cassette smelling fresh! Of course, you can use it to wash your clothes too!
So there you go, not the most pleasant of topics, but it is an important aspect of vanlife. Just remember, try not to watch the video whilst having your dinner!