How to compost toilet


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A presentation explaining how compost toilets work, a series of photos of making a low (no) budget loo and a series of photos showing wonderful, awful and sometimes bizarre compost loos I have seen or used

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How to compost toilet

  2. 2. Why do it? <ul><li>Water input </li></ul><ul><li>Sewage output </li></ul><ul><li>Compost </li></ul><ul><li>F i nancial cost </li></ul><ul><li>Closing the nutrients loop </li></ul>
  3. 3. Water <ul><li>Less than 1% of earths water is potable </li></ul><ul><li>Gallon jug - tablespoon. </li></ul><ul><li>2/3s domestic water use is in the bathroom. </li></ul><ul><li>Flushing = 5 – 15L water. </li></ul><ul><li>“ The practice of injecting ‘waste' products and toxic materials into the arterial waterways of Earth is comparable to the idea of using our own bloodstream as a disposal site for hazardous compounds.&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>Keith Helmuth </li></ul>
  4. 4. Do they smell? <ul><li>If it smells something is wrong…. </li></ul><ul><li>Anaerobic = Smelly </li></ul><ul><li>Aerobic = Not smelly </li></ul>
  5. 5. Is it disgusting? <ul><li>You never have to touch raw shit </li></ul><ul><li>Nothing should crawl out or fly around </li></ul><ul><li>Handled properly it should never be offensive </li></ul>
  6. 6. What can go in? <ul><li>Can have wet or dry loos </li></ul><ul><li>Beware of antibiotics, hormones & tummy bugs </li></ul><ul><li>N o t tampons </li></ul>
  7. 7. Is it safe? <ul><li>Take responsibility for yourselves </li></ul><ul><li>Recommended to mulch trees </li></ul><ul><li>Pathogens are eaten and attacked by other compost organisms, cooked to death, and then finally starved of food for a year. They do not survive. </li></ul>
  8. 8. How Does it all Work? <ul><li>Microhusbandry and the 4 Stages of Thermophilic Composting </li></ul>
  9. 9. 1: Macroorganisms <ul><li>Worms and insects munch away on material, breaking it down. </li></ul><ul><li>They migrate through the compost heap, moving to cooler areas where they can thrive. </li></ul><ul><li>Some eat human parasites and their eggs </li></ul>COOL Temperature:
  10. 10. 2: Mesophillic Phase <ul><li>Bacteria, fungi and other microorganisms that like a moderate temperature range, up to that of the human body, start to feed, multiply and raise the temperature of the pile. </li></ul><ul><li>They eat and attack human pathogens and compete with them for food. </li></ul>MEDIUM Temperature:
  11. 11. 3: Thermophillic Phase <ul><li>Once the mesophiles raise the temperature enough, thermophillic bacteria and fungi, which are always present in small amounts, take over and flourish, raising the temperature past 60  C, sometimes up to 80  C. A few hours is enough to kill all pathogens, but activity typically lasts for weeks, especially over the summer. </li></ul><ul><li>You can monitor the heat of the pile with a spike thermometer (brewers thermometer) or simply leave a metal rod in the pile, which you then take out and feel (put hand near, don’t touch). </li></ul>FAST and HOT
  12. 12. 4: Curing <ul><li>Macroorganisms and fungi migrate back in and finish off the leftovers, breaking down the harder remaining carbon dense material. </li></ul><ul><li>Long process of decomposition and humification. </li></ul><ul><li>Time provides an added safety-net for human pathogens, which cannot survive without food or a host, and at low temperatures for more than a few weeks. </li></ul>LONG and COOL
  13. 13. What comes out? <ul><li>Black liquid – dilute, tree feed </li></ul><ul><li>Lovely compost </li></ul>
  14. 42. Entire Humanure Handbook available online for free download at
  15. 43. With thanks to… <ul><li>Hannah Thorogood, Aranya, Rainbow Valley Farm, NZ, Ourganics, UK, Tatnam Organic Patch, UK, Permaculture Austria, Andy & Ella Portman, UK, </li></ul>