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Cheap Power-Free Compost Toilets

brett diercks


Joined: Jun 15, 2011
Posts: 25
Location: Southern Illinois
I don't know if you guys have heard of this yet but it is the simplest compost toilet one could possibly own. I'm talking about the sawdust toilet. It is cheap and ecologically friendly. It uses readily available materials at a local home improvement store. All you need is a few five gallon buckets, some sawdust, plywood, and a toilet seat. I hope this interest you. For further info you can go to http://humanurehandbook.com/ .
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree

Joined: Apr 03, 2010
Posts: 5253
Location: Portugal Zone 9 Mediterranean Climate
    
208
I used mine for a year before getting round to building the plywood box, and I still haven't fitted the toilet seat...

You're absolutely right - it's cheap and simple, and it works like a dream. 

Welcome to the forum, Barefoot Joe!


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brett diercks


Joined: Jun 15, 2011
Posts: 25
Location: Southern Illinois
Thank you for the welcome. I'm just trying to learn and give what I already know to others. It is a much better solution compared to the 2.5k composters that cost you electrical cost and still waste your water.
Abe Connally


Joined: Feb 20, 2010
Posts: 1407
Location: Chihuahua Desert
we've been using the sawdust toilet for a decade, now.  It works fine, though for the outside bin, we have to add water occasionally to raise the moisture to get it to compost fast.

I am thinking of converting to earthworms or BSF for this, however, as I have animals that would love to eat either one of these...


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Joined: Apr 25, 2010
Posts: 64
This week I spotted a toilet frame for old folks complete with seat, and it was for free, took it home where I already had the buckets and sawdust ... been using it for a week and it works as well as folks say.

I don't skimp on sawdust and there is no smell ... I keep it in the garage which I'm in most of the day.

Cheers
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    9
yeah the fold up camping toilet seats work well over them as well...


Brenda

Bloom where you are planted.
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Joined: Apr 25, 2010
Posts: 64
I really don't know what all the fuss is about, I thought my wife would have had something to say about my experiment, but she's been out in my garage more often than normal  says its a great toilet  .... I emptied the first bucket today, no problems, pulled back some loose material in the compost heap and tipped it in, bucket was clean as a whistle, just needed a rinse and was ready for action again.

How long does it normally take to break down? my compost is normally fine to use within a year, so just wondering if this will take longer?

Cheers

Burra Maluca
Mother Tree

Joined: Apr 03, 2010
Posts: 5253
Location: Portugal Zone 9 Mediterranean Climate
    
208
dolmen wrote:

How long does it normally take to break down? my compost is normally fine to use within a year, so just wondering if this will take longer?

Cheers




I use the recommendations in the Humanure handbook, ie spend one year filling one heap, make sure it composts 'hot', then let that heap sit there for another year while the next year's heap is filling. 
                        


Joined: Apr 25, 2010
Posts: 64
Thank you

Cheers

                                        


Joined: Jul 07, 2011
Posts: 8
I agree that the buckets are best. I have a fancy dancy system with toilet in bathroom & composter in basement. I hate it! A lot of money up front & a lot of work, with results no better than the bucket. I'm not so young any more, so not likely to rip this out & start over with buckets, but I would advise others to save their money!

(BTW, mine is non-electric & uses no water.)
Dave Bennett


Joined: Jun 25, 2011
Posts: 641
I built the plywood box.  So far both saw dust and peat works well.  I have been using it for a couple of years and soft wood is better than hardwood saw dust.  The peat that I get from Kmart works very well too.  Most of the saw mills around here cut white oak but there is one that cut southern yellow pine exclusively.  I keep my humanure compost separate from my "normal" compost because I allow it cook longer (2 yrs.) before I use it on my gardens.


"When there is no life in the soil it is just dirt."
"MagicDave"
                                        


Joined: Jul 07, 2011
Posts: 8
Dave, do you measure the temp in your humanure compost pile? I don't have a thermometer, but I put all compost together & don't use it until year 3 (I have three compost bins). As I'm not sure what temp it gets to, I don't use the compost on my vegs.
Dave Bennett


Joined: Jun 25, 2011
Posts: 641
I had a thermometer but it is buried in there somewhere LOL.  I will tell you that even when it is quite warm if I turn it is steaming.  Pretty hot stuff.
Len Ovens
pollinator

Joined: Aug 26, 2010
Posts: 1315
Location: Vancouver Island
    
  18
Did my first try at the "sawdust" toilet this past week. Got a luggable when camping as my Yf doesn't like the camping pits at the park.... too far at night etc... I used pine needles from the forest floor which was covered with about an inch of needles etc. in various stages of rot. Also moss... dead or alive. My 5 year old who was afraid of the "big" hole to the pit (worried he might fall in) tried it first (when we weren't looking )  It smelled.. about as bad as could be, but a good sprinkle of forest matter on top, (he didn't know he had to do that part) and it was good enough it sat in the tent for the night. Only emptied it once... on our way out of the camp site. Even left it unemptied when travelling from one camp site to the next.

Because we were at two sites, the covering was different in each. Same stuff but one was completely dry and the other damp. Both worked but the damp stuff was nicer to use as the dry stuff gave off a dust cloud and this coated the sides of the bucket. So whatever is used, maybe keep it damp enough not to be dusty.... might cause less problems with allergies too. Not wet, that would take away from it's "pee capacity".

No cover was put in during the night when people peed in it. smelled but still not near as bad as a plain bucket.... put cover in when we got up... worked fine.

I haven't got a proper pile for it at home (I don't think I can get this past the Yf at this time.... but off the grid she would prefer it to a pit) don't have the room I wish to dedicate to that right now.... but it is definitely first choice for camping.... maybe even boating for our family.
Loren Luyendyk


Joined: Aug 27, 2011
Posts: 12
Location: Santa Barbara. Ca
I use 44 gal (200 liter) drums, preferably made out of plastic.  These are incredibly easy since they are water and critter tight, they can support your weight (no framing necessary), and you can usually get them cheap.  For a couple we have two drums, when one fills we move to the other.  The drums have worms in them which break down the material.  I use soil, sawdust, old hay, leaves, for cover material.  If the first drum isn't finished composting when the second one is full, I complete the compost process in a worm bin specifically for this purpose.  I also add veggies to the worm bin to feed them in between humanure inputs.

check here for simple plans you can download:
http://www.surferswithoutborders.org/Ecological_Sanitation.html


Happy pooping!


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www.surferswithoutborders.org
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Len Ovens
pollinator

Joined: Aug 26, 2010
Posts: 1315
Location: Vancouver Island
    
  18
cover material to stay away from.... Seaweed. We were staying on Sandy Island Marine Park for 5 days and brought our Luggable. The pine needle covering in the "forest" wasn't much as the Island is covered with at least a layer of sand and the trees are spaced wider than normal. So I thought to use the seaweed from the high tide line that had started to rot. It made the sawdust toilet smell bad... maybe not as bad as the out house, but not nice enough for inside either. I suspect the salt coating it was the problem as it reacts with urine (ask boat owners who flush with sea water). On the plus side, we covered the smelly part with moss and the smell was workable and when I dumped it, the stuff mixed with the seaweed seemed to have decomposed quite a bit already. So seaweed might make a good additive to the compost pile if covered with good cover.
Peter Ingot


Joined: Sep 06, 2011
Posts: 70
Loren Luyendyk wrote:
I use 44 gal (200 liter) drums, preferably made out of plastic.  These are incredibly easy since they are water and critter tight, they can support your weight (no framing necessary), and you can usually get them cheap.  For a couple we have two drums, when one fills we move to the other.  The drums have worms in them which break down the material.  I use soil, sawdust, old hay, leaves, for cover material.  If the first drum isn't finished composting when the second one is full, I complete the compost process in a worm bin specifically for this purpose.  I also add veggies to the worm bin to feed them in between humanure inputs.

check here for simple plans you can download:
http://www.surferswithoutborders.org/Ecological_Sanitation.html

Nice design, never bothered with a chimney on mine, just filled barrels and then closed them for two years. Never had aproblem with moisture except when I built one for a festival and drunks who couldn't read the instructions at night used it as a urinal (something to consider if you have lots of  guests)


However ash is  really not good. It doesn't compost  well.  I  use sawdust,but a friend experimented and found straw(NOT  hay) worked best of all
Jackson Barnett


Joined: Apr 21, 2011
Posts: 38
Location: Foothills of SW Maine - Zone 5a
Cute little song!

Poop in a bucket

 
 
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