Saturday, November 29, 2008

How to make a composting toilet

I just found this great site called In the Wake: A Collective Manual-in-Progress for Outliving Civilization. Heading back to live in my gertee next week and been thinking a lot about giving up our lovely bathroom and going back to my honey bucket routine in the dead of winter. I doubt this will be a good winter project but I can study it now and maybe try it in the spring. I do have a plan for an inside shower that I can rig up for immediate use. But to figure out a way to recycle all my waste would be really nice. It's a long hike to the outhouse, and I carry out all the dirty wash water too. Seems like the more water storage jugs I get, the more water I use. Also need to find the best way to clean the algae buildup from inside the jugs I can't reach inside. I may end up going with only the wide mouth ones because they clean up nice.
Composting Toilets, by Aric McBay

Composting is an aerobic process—it takes place with the presence of air. That means that properly operating composting toilets do not produce unpleasant smells or gases. The temperatures reached inside the compost, along with the time the compost spends “curing”, kill the disease organisms that might be present. Composting toilets also conserve the nutrients in the feces and urine, so that they can be returned to the land. Compost itself contains valuable organic matter that does wonders for soil life and gardens, a topic which will be expanded on in future writings on gardening.

Some people are worried about the fact that one might have to handle material containing human feces. This is a valid concern, but it shouldn’t be a problem if proper handwashing and other simple precautions take place. After all, most of us are quite literally full of poop all the time, and use the toilet on a regular basis, and it doesn’t harm us. As long as you wash properly, a composting toilet is no more dangerous than any other kind of toilet.

Read full article here:

Here's another upgrade "option":


Anonymous said...

I don't know the author, but I think there is a book caled something like 'Humanure' that you might want to check out.

Anonymous said...

Now yer talkin' about something I know about! I spent over 25 years with an outside toilet, and the below-freezing winters weren't much fun, especially at night.

I used 5 gallon buckets, upon which I fixed a toilet seat, so I could set it on the bucket when I brought it in for use and remove it and replace the lid for outside storage between uses. Keeping it cold prevents the issuance of a lot of "fumes" as the bucket fills up. I would start up with sawdust in the bottom, and would add wood ashes to solid deposits, and more sawdust for liquid deposits, as needed. One can spray the interior of the bucket with a light oil like cooking spray to help removal of "sticky stuff" on the inside sides when clean-up time arrives.

Since it gets so cold there, you might have to have many buckets to last 'til spring breakup.

Worked for me.


Stop Common Purpose said...

Hi Niki

This is worth a read if you have not seen it: