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disadvantages of sawdust

 
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The flip side, which like a 45 record is the lesser of the two but still there. The disadvantages of a lovable loo clone.

1) Requires a cover material, in our case sawdust. A supply must be found and moved into the toilet room in increments, in our case about a weeks supply although I do top it up every few days for convenience of reach. There also tends to be a bit of tidying up with sawdust cover since it is being scooped, carried and then shaken over the loo. Always seems to be a bit on the floor.

2) Requires a reasonably fit person to move a full pail out of the loo, cap it and take it to the compost when ready. Our full pails are about 30 lbs now that we are comfortable with the system. This requirement is a variable though since you could trade off weight with convenience by swapping out more often.

3) The ick factor. I have left this to last since in my opinion it is not a strong disadvantage. Almost no smell in use or in dumping. Visually both are bland as well. Our kitchen compost smells and looks much worse. I would rate diaper changing and babies throwing up on me much higher on the ick scale than a sawdust toilet. Not sure it would even make the top 10.

That is the whole list as we see it, we are only 6 months in but I think that we have run the range of advantages and disadvantages already. To see the advantages list go to https://permies.com/t/41876/composting-toilet/Advantages-sawdust#328068


 
pollinator
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I agree on the toting back and forth of things getting old and plan on making the compost pile a lot closer in the future. We're a family of 4, two males two females with the kids just into their double digit years and there is some sawdust spillage. I'm going to be setting up an RV toilet for the girls to pee in. That'll help a lot for the weight of the full buckets. Really dry sawdust to start with also helps with the weight.

I'd have to disagree with the lack of odor when dumping the full buckets. The pile doesn't smell when opened up but the new stuff going on certainly does as do the buckets before first rinsing.

P.S. We use sawdust for our kitchen compost bucket. Works like a charm.

Yeah, I used to gag when changing diapers. Finally got to the point where I couldn't do it. Can you imagine hurling on the poor baby?
 
Wyatt Barnes
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John, I find it interesting that you have a noticeable odour when dumping buckets. I was not exaggerating when I said there was almost none with mine. It could be that I have a less sensitive nose, that the odour in question doesn't register strongly with me due to being around a farm when I was growing up or there may be a difference in how well my sawdust is damping the smell down. Either way it is good to get other data.
 
Wyatt Barnes
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I have been trying to get my new compost pile commissioned at our house for over a month now, needed to move things, do things, had other things to do, things things things. Today was the day and I will say that I noticed odour today. I dumped thirteen pails and one full pail of kitchen compost and among the 13 some of them smelled fairly strongly. The kitchen compost though was still the worst of the bunch.

Don't know if it was the older ones, the oldest being about 5 weeks or if it was one of the 3 different sawdust sources represented in the 13 but I definitely noticed more odour today than ever before.
 
Wyatt Barnes
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I am adding another thing to the disadvantage list at the suggestion of my wife. For her as a person waiting for the bathroom to be available she misses the sound of a flush toilet. This let her know that her wait was almost over but now she has no audible clue to let her know the end is near. A related disadvantage of the sawdust toilet manifests itself only for those people who use a flush to mask an embarrassing personal noise. See the link to this common device in Japanese stalls for a possible solution. ( women's, men don't care )
http://www.iol.co.za/news/back-page/sound-princess-eliminates-toilet-noises-1.223254#.VJuQP14AHA
 
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We use urine diversion. Cuts down on weight, smell, and trips to the pile.

Check out Separette

or the coolest guy making the coolest toilets....

Cotuit Dry Toilet
 
pollinator
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In my experience there is a difference in odor depending on what type of wood you use for your cover material.

When we used green chestnut sawdust from a local timber mill it was lovely - the smell was almost gone by the time we came to empty buckets and deposits were pretty much indistinguishable from sawdust. I put it down to the very fine dust and the absorbency of the material.

When we used dry pine shavings (bought from a pet shop because we were out) the shavings were not really absorbent at all and the smell was much more marked when emptying (not when using however).

Pine shavings have an almost waxy feel - like they are water proof themselves - which definitely gets in the way of a composting process. That bag is still knocking around out in the garden exposed to the rain two years later. The shavings look almost fresh still.

My suspicion is that different people's experiences might depend on what they have available as cover material.
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