Simple compost toilet

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by SpiritMountain, Dec 16, 2003.

  1. www.weblife.org/humanure/chapter8_2.html

    This website shows an easy way to make a compost toilet. Cheap inexpensive and simple to build, with very little water usage. This toilet may not be for everyone, but it does take away the amount of water that is used in conventional systems and one gets the compost.
     
  2. earthship

    earthship Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for that informative link - really appreciate it!
     

  3. ajoys

    ajoys Well-Known Member

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    Does anyone use one of these sawdust compost toilets?
    If so, how much smell is there?
     
  4. Swampdweller

    Swampdweller Well-Known Member

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    We use a bucket... sawdust added with each use...and there is no smell.
    Sawdust is almost pure carbon. Carbon seeks and binds nitrogen--the odor culprit--and then decomposes to make near-perfect soil.

    I built a box--wife painted it white--that houses the bucket in what looks like a little bitty outhouse. If you had a really open imagination you might think it was cute. It was certainly cheap and uses NO water. We dump the bucket every couple days and bury everything in more sawdust. No worries.

    Swampdweller
     
  5. Dawndra

    Dawndra I'm back

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    After seeing Swampdweller's toilet, I decided I wanted one... we're going to be building a basement house soon & we face the problem of pumping water up... this way we wouldn't have to!!

    It doesn't smell at all & takes away all the hassles of a flush toilet...
     
  6. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

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    If you had a sawdust toilet in a workshop, how often would you need to remove the contents to the compost pile?

    Assuming that there are not daily deposits in the bucket.
     
  7. MTNwomanAR

    MTNwomanAR Well-Known Member

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    I use one of these too....and let me tell you, it beats the heck out of going outside in the snow, and freezing rain!!!!! Not to mention a nice northerly wind...... :no:
     
  8. harmony

    harmony Well-Known Member

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    I use one too. It you follow the directions in the Humanure Handbook, there are no smells or flies in the summer. Beats the heck out of doing your business in the water supply, then letting them dump chemical in it and sell it back to you!
     
  9. They say there is no smell. The author said he left the bucket of ,you know what, in the kitchen for I think it was 2 weeks and had no problem. It all depends though.

     
  10. outofmire

    outofmire Well-Known Member

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    We use a bucket toilet. You really need to follow the directions in the Humanure book to do it safely. You need to monitor the temperatures to make sure that the pile is heating up adequately. When building your outdoor compost heap, you first start with a "sponge"....The author uses a very thick layer of straw. Then each time you dump the contents of the toilet onto your outdoor heap, you cover it with straw, not more sawdust. The purpose of using a material like straw is that it traps air in the pile to ensure that it stays oxygenated and heats up well. You also need to make sure that it stays moist but not soggy. It's not hard, but there are a few basic things you should know. Read the book if you plan to do this. Some of it has a philosophical tone and most of it is crudely humorous, but I like it because of the valuable information about how to do this responsibly. You can read the book online for free, but it's worth it to own it. I read it online, but I still bought the book. I think I've absorbed more of the vital information having the book in hand. We use peat moss, and it works to keep the smell down just fine. I would like sawdust better, because I would like the look of a bucket of sawdust better than peat moss.....and because it doesn't have so much dust. Anyway, we have to empty the bucket about once every 3-4 days for the four of us. I think it fills up quicker with peat than it would with sawdust, but I don't know for sure. We use about one $7 bag of peat moss per month. It's easy to clean....just takes a few minutes. You can visit the forum at the Humanure website for more information.
     
  11. Swampdweller

    Swampdweller Well-Known Member

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    I have one in my workshop...where there is an ample supply of sawdust. I empty it when it is full. I use one half inch of sawdust each covering. It never smells. It goes from three days to three months, depending on work schedule. NO problem.

    Not to dispute anyone's record or experience here, but there is no need to monitor temperature, no need to get specific about anything, no reason to wear gloves and/or a chemical warfare suit while emptying contents into compost pile, no need to bury it any special way. Just bury it, with more sawdust. IF it does smell, use more sawdust. It is a science, not an art....and it's not a very involved science.
    I mean, I can even do it without screwin' it up. Come ON, folks.

    Swampdweller
     
  12. outofmire

    outofmire Well-Known Member

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    Well, I don't know where ya'll plan to bury it, but our property is a hill with every area sloping into creeks and eventually lakes. To make matters worse, we only have a few inches of soil, below which is bedrock. So we can't bury anything, and if it rained alot on our heap, then the leachate may run into the creek. Plus we plan to use the cured compost on our garden, which is safe to do if you monitor the temperature. If you plan to use the bucket toilet as a recepticle for an outhouse, then I guess you are doing something different than what's described in the Humanure Handbook. If you are basically doing an outhouse, then you don't necessarily need the information in the book. But if you were going to compost the manure and use it, then I recommend reading the book. I assumed since ya'll mentioned the Humanure handbook that we were talking about the techniques described in it.
     
  13. sancraft

    sancraft Well-Known Member

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    We use a sawdust toilet. When I can't get a load of sawdust, I use peat moss. There is no smell. Sometimes my outdoor pile will smell like urine, but I add more straw or leaves to it and that takes care of the odor. We love our compost toilet and my best friend likes to come to my house to use the "library" because it's so comfortable. We bulit a basic box out of furniture grade poplar and attached a toilet seat. My youngest daughter burn the half moon outhouse symbol on the sides and we stained it. We're tall so we made the height comfortable for us. If I bulid a house, I don't even want a flush toilet in the house.
     
  14. Swampdweller

    Swampdweller Well-Known Member

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    If I were in this situation, I would build a compost bin, above the rocks, and "bury" all compost toilet material under more sawdust, while at the same time layering with other good compostable materials. If there is a good sawdust base, it will take one hell of a rain to wash anything undesirable into the creek. If this ever IS a problem, put a tin roof over the compost operation to keep runoff out. I've been to Arkansas a time or two. You folks need all the compost you can get. Shouldn't be lettin' it run into the crick, composting toilet or no.

    Swampdweller
     
  15. Shrek

    Shrek Singletree Moderator Staff Member

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    Easier than that is a bush and shovel. :haha:
     
  16. Thumper/inOkla.

    Thumper/inOkla. Well-Known Member

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    This link should take you to our photos, of our setup.

    www.photoisland.com

    then put in the user name, slrldr@yahoo.com

    the password is, homestead pic

    There is really nothing hard about it, and I don't think that in over a year of using it, that it has ever smelled anywhere near as bad as a formula fed baby diaper.
     
  17. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks for the pics! Nice place!
     
  18. ajoys

    ajoys Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for sharing. I enjoyed looking over all the photos.
     
  19. Seeria

    Seeria Well-Known Member

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    I'm hoping some ingenius, experienced minds can help me. :)

    We're will be RVing part of the year, homesteading the rest. I would like to put a compost toilet into the RV to help save on water use and sewer dumping (and fees). But, never having a compost toilet I'm not sure how this all works.

    Here are some pictures of the commercial RV compost toilets. Is it just me or are those really complicated looking? o_O
    http://www.envirolet.com/enwatsel.html
    http://www.letsgogreen.com/mobile-composting-toilets.html


    Some questions :)
    If this is in an RV, whether sitting in the woods or driving down the road, how is supposed to compost while IN the RV?

    I read that the amount that goes into the compost is turned into a small amount of great compost dirt. How much smaller, because space in an RV is rather limited. :)

    Is there a way to alter the plans mentioned in this thread so they would work in an RV that doesn't have a compost pile to dump into?




    Kind regards,

    See
     
  20. Bonnie L

    Bonnie L Well-Known Member

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    You would have to have some place to dump the contents of the bucket. The composting doesn't really start until you get the stuff into a compost pile.

    We have an electric composting toilet (a compromise - dh wanted a flush toilet, I wanted a bucket) & even tho it evaporates most of the liquid, it still has to be composted outside. This winter we have been putting it in a trash can outside the back door (couldn't get to our usual dump spot because of snow) & it isn't full to the top yet. That's with 3 of us using it. I think a bucket system would take up more space.