Composting Toilet question...

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Composting Toilet question...

Post: #177673 grahoom
Wed Nov 18, 2009 11:44 am

Hello,

So - my dad has recently found himself an allotment near to where he lives (he moved up north a few years ago, and had to give up his allotment down south).

The allotment committee (that word always seems to have too many letters!) - had started to build a composting toilet, my dad is now secretary of the committee and is involved in finishing off the toilet.

He informed me last night that the chap who had started building it has left quite a large area for the "waste" to go, so my dad wants to collect the waste in some kind of containers so that it can be (eventually) easily transported to the compost heap.

Last night whilst chatting to him on the phone I suggested using old plastic dustbins (cut down if needed) with holes in to allow air flow and also lower down to allow liquid to soak away. The toilets are not going to be used on a regular basis, but will be there for when people are caught short. My understanding with regards to composting toilets is that the "wetness" is the real issue, so as long as there is a good air flow, and a good means for the liquid to soak away then the composting should take place. As there is room for two dustbins under there I suggested having two, one current and the other composting. (and switch round when full and composting has completed).

Those who know about this sort of thing - any suggestions, alterations, advice?

cheers
g
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Re: Composting Toilet question...

Post: #177695 mamos
Wed Nov 18, 2009 2:35 pm

You want to keep urine separate from the solid waste as much as possible.

Peeing onto a straw bale is a good idea

Keep one bin in use the other fermenting and throw sawdust or wood ash down the hole after each visit

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Re: Composting Toilet question...

Post: #177698 grahoom
Wed Nov 18, 2009 2:53 pm

mamos wrote:You want to keep urine separate from the solid waste as much as possible.

Peeing onto a straw bale is a good idea

Keep one bin in use the other fermenting and throw sawdust or wood ash down the hole after each visit

mamos



Hello Mamos,

thanks for that - and agree need ot keep urine separate as possible, but this composting toilet will be used by people who probably won't want to pee on a bale of straw and want to do their business as similar to how they do it as home as possible.

So, essentially it needs to be a system that can self drain as much as possible (or dry out) so that the urine can escape the system.

I was aware of the sawdust, to aid in the absorption of the urine - so will pass that info on.

cheers for the info.

g
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Re: Composting Toilet question...

Post: #177767 frozenthunderbolt
Thu Nov 19, 2009 7:14 am

Google and download 'humanure handbook' it will tell you a great deal.
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Re: Composting Toilet question...

Post: #177770 grahoom
Thu Nov 19, 2009 8:49 am

frozenthunderbolt wrote:Google and download 'humanure handbook' it will tell you a great deal.


Thanks Frozen Thunderbolt. I'll do just that.
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Re: Composting Toilet question...

Post: #188013 Nome
Tue Feb 23, 2010 4:00 pm

I've got to ask...

WHY is peeing onto a strawbale a good idea? I've not heard that before.

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Re: Composting Toilet question...

Post: #188016 grahamhobbs
Tue Feb 23, 2010 4:05 pm

Peeing on to a straw bale is no better than peeing on to your compost heap, but is possibly more convenient. Either way your pee is a great activator for breaking down cellulose into compost.

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Re: Composting Toilet question...

Post: #189758 sortanormalish
Fri Mar 12, 2010 4:55 am

Peeing on a strawbale is simple chemistry. Pee has nitrates and nitrites that are absent in the straw which is mostly carbonaceous. The two together form a more balanced system that encourages thermophilic composting within the bale breaking the bale down much more quickly.

Also we use a composting toilet so I am not completely ignorant of the workings. Seperating your urine is not recommended unless you have a system designed for cool composting (anaerobic), which stinks to high heaven. If you separate your urine you have to add water to the solids regardless of the system used.

Also, you need to add carbonaceous matter to the toilet if you want thermophlic composting, which is oderless if done properly and kills any pathogens in hours-days. Otherwise, you are going to compost anaerobically which produces methane and smells like...well...s___ :pukeright: and can take years to kill pathogens.

This is all rather simple chemistry too. Excrement is high in nitrogen so to get a well balnced compost you need to add carbon. Sawdust, leaves, kitchen scrapes etc. If you properly plan your thermophilic compost you can safely use it on edible crops.

On the other hand, you don't have to worry about pathogens unless they are already in your body, ie you are sick. In which case worrying about the contaminants in your poop is a little ridiculous don't you think.

You can google and download a free copy of the HUMANURE HANDBOOK for more information.
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Re: Composting Toilet question...

Post: #189773 seasidegirl
Fri Mar 12, 2010 7:43 am

My understanding is that male urine is the best compost activator. Not sure if female is much good at all.

http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w- ... lution.htm

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Re: Composting Toilet question...

Post: #189794 grahamhobbs
Fri Mar 12, 2010 12:17 pm

Will be interested to hear more on this one, I'd seem to remember being taught female urine was the best activator - but really any urine is great.

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Re: Composting Toilet question...

Post: #189796 pelmetman
Fri Mar 12, 2010 12:32 pm

seasidegirl wrote:My understanding is that male urine is the best compost activator. Not sure if female is much good at all.

http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w- ... lution.htm


Seems a bit sexist to me :lol: I did offer to put a loo seat over our compost bin for Sue, I won't repeat her reply :oops:
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Re: Composting Toilet question...

Post: #189801 seasidegirl
Fri Mar 12, 2010 1:23 pm

Will be interested to hear more on this one, I'd seem to remember being taught female urine was the best activator - but really any urine is great.


There's probably not much in it - if anything. My husband's would have beer in it most days so his would probably be excellent. He thinks I'm a bit mental already so if I start telling him to go and wee on a straw bale, well nothing much wd surprise him. He does do the odd one around the garden boundaries because we are trying to deter the foxes. Another old wive's tale?

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Re: Composting Toilet question...

Post: #189806 Green Aura
Fri Mar 12, 2010 2:10 pm

seasidegirl wrote:He does do the odd one around the garden boundaries because we are trying to deter the foxes.


I've heard of that and also hanging old tights or socks stuffed with human hair. We don't seem to be troubled by foxes, in fact not much wildlife invades our small concrete compound, so I've not been able to try them. And nothing deters sheep :shock: :lol:
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Re: Composting Toilet question...

Post: #189818 sortanormalish
Fri Mar 12, 2010 6:43 pm

Not foxes, coyotes for us. My husband and all four boys pee around the gardens, near the rabbits, beside the chicken coop, in the pastures, sometimes in the toilet-which is composting as I said ealier, so I couldn't make a blanket statement about one being better than the other for compost. I prefer the toilet-the squating puts me off.

I ask my guys to pee anywhere the nitrogen is low in the garden, anywhere we have seen tracks, and on the compost pile if it seems a little dry.

As for the wife, good luck.
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Re: Composting Toilet question...

Post: #189989 happy place
Sun Mar 14, 2010 12:09 pm

grahoom try looking on this web site www.natsol.co.uk they may be worth contacting if you still have any Q's
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