Date of Award

Fall 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Technology Leadership and Innovation

First Advisor

Kathryne A. Newton

Committee Member 1

Jonathon Day

Committee Member 2

Jordi Segalas

Committee Member 3

Robert J. Herrick


The amount of fresh water available in the world is a finite resource. Large quantities of the fresh water are located in remote locations, while more accessible sources of fresh water are disproportionately distributed around the world. Some populations lack reliable access to clean water for daily life, making the routine use of potable water in toilets of upper-income countries a questionable practice in terms of resource responsibility, energy use, and sustainable infrastructure. The innovative nature of composting toilets offers potential solutions to the downfalls of conventional, waterborne toilets. However, the path to adoption of composting toilets has encountered barriers of different types, impeding further development of a more acceptable system. This study identifies current barriers to the adoption of composting toilets into use in urban and suburban locations in the United States. A purposeful sample of knowledgeable stakeholders in the industry of composting toilets was contacted for open-ended, semi-structured interviews to collect data. The interviews explored four major discussion topics; the perceptions of stakeholders of barriers to the adoption of composting toilets, the barriers in urban and suburban locations, the differences and similarities between the location types, and what project experiences of the stakeholders had taught them about the adoption process. Twelve barriers to adoption were determined, with seven of these barriers discussed in depth due to their perception by stakeholders as the most problematic, yet effective in encouraging adoption if overcome.