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compost toilets

Posted by Jeremy-122573 - Created: 4 years ago
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10 replies (Showing replies: 1 to 10)

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Posted by Dormouse-445105 - 4 years ago

Faecal contamination of water or food (often transmitted via hands or flies) is a frequent cause of illness, although deaths are very rare. Animal faeces are safer for humans because most pathogens have their greatest effect in the species they come from, but that doesn't stop toxoplasmosis from cat faeces being virtually endemic.

That's the reason there are strict laws about waste treatment in most countries, but, if it is legal, then we can all work out what risks we choose to take. And even if it isn't legal we can choose to take the risk of breaking the law. But it still doesn't make a bucket and a compost heap a composting toilet.

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Posted by JLJ-429896 - 4 years ago

People do seem to use composting toilets without dying. The "traditional" dry toilet has two chambers. One is used until full then shut to compost away whilst you fill the other. This too would not meet your hygiene standards.

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Posted by Dormouse-445105 - 4 years ago

to JLJ

That doesn't sound like a composting toilet, just a bucket and a compost heap.

Wouldn't meet my hygiene standards - though others may be happier with it - I would want to be confident that the pathogens in the faeces were being killed and not presenting a risk of infection.

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Posted by JLJ-429896 - 4 years ago

The simplest composting toilets these days are little short of a toilet seat on a bucket with a box of sawdust alongside to shake on top following a visit. Yes you wee in them too. Every couple of days the bucket bit is emptied into a hole scraped on top of your compost heap which is then rapidly covered with fresh organic material you have to hand. Your compost heap needs to be meticulously managed with particular thought to possible runoff and must not disturb your neighbours with bad odours if it is to satisfy the authorities. It seems more and more communes are coming around to the benefits of dry toilets.

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Posted by Dormouse-445105 - 4 years ago

Key issues in composting are the amount of moisture, the amount of oxygen and the carbon/nitrogen proportions. All gardeners who are keen composters will be very well aware of these.

Urine helps by adding nitrogen, and would also help if the mix were too dry - but it would be a problem if it were already too moist. Very likely to be a problem in a closed container with limited access to air for evaporation. Urine would not kill or harm composting bacteria unless it waterlogs the compost and prevents the bacteria accessing oxygen.

But a closed container with limited evaporation would not be a good for composting either - especially if there weren't enough nitrogen.

I don't think what rabbit describes would be a composting toilet unless the amount going in and the evaporation were just rightl and unless he aerates it regularly - although the compost he adds may be a sufficient source of nitrogen. But everything will rot down eventually if there is enough access to air, and as long as there are enough wheelie bins to cycle through I can see why it is an acceptable solution for him.

But it would be difficult to get just the right balance, with or without urine, in any simple, cheap construction.

 

PS I thought that this page on the site recommended by normandyranger  gave a reasonable explanation of the basics - http://www.toiletrevolution.com/news/magic-composting/

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Posted by LRV24 - 4 years ago

Two totally different things: a chemical loo is a small scale tank where 'waste products' are stored for a short while until they are removed. To keep odours down perfumed liquid is added. Composting toilets are a long term system where the waste products break down naturally. 

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Posted by rabbit-390317 - 4 years ago

Before we had the composting toilet we had a chemical toilet and I can tell you it was disgusting and always used to stink badly why? I guess it was because the urine and the solids were mixed together there was no way it can break down it just sits there festering. So please tell me what would be different if we were peeing and defecating in our wheelie bin composting toilet? nothing it would just be a larger version of the chemical toilet. Ours and thousands and thousands of others worldwide work by keeping the pee and solids seperate, its so simple.

Some are designed to seperate the two substances when I researched before I built it some years back I found that some have a low gulley in front of the chamber for the pee to run into (apparently when women pee it goes forward so also goes into the gutter gulley and is drained off to seperate container) 

 

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Posted by normandyranger - 4 years ago

See this link, urine is required to fuel the breakdown

 

http://www.toiletrevolution.com/news/composting-toilets-vs-urine-diverting-toilets/

 

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Posted by LRV24 - 4 years ago

People peed into the Canadian ones and they worked.

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Posted by phlophf-409902 - 4 years ago

If you live anywhere near Loudeac there are 2 at the aquarev park (as well as a block of ordinary ones)

They do not smell and take pee and toilet paper and there are no flies - if you are near take a look - there is some sort of working part next to it (but never been interested enough to investigate !) but i think it might be the composting stuff