• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • r ranson
  • Nicole Alderman
  • Mike Haasl
stewards:
  • paul wheaton
  • Joseph Lofthouse
  • James Freyr
master gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • John F Dean
  • jordan barton
gardeners:
  • Jay Angler
  • Greg Martin
  • Leigh Tate

onerous chore?

 
Posts: 318
9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think that since our household has been exclusively using a sawdust toilet for almost two years and I have done the majority of the hauling, procuring and cleaning of aforementioned set up that I am now qualified to make an informed statement. I don't find that dealing with a sawdust toilet is an onerous chore. I have swapped out, hauled away and dumped 3 to 4 thirty pound pails a week, gathered and moved an equivalent amount of sawdust cover material as well as cutting and gathering hay for compost cover. All the pails have to be rinsed and moved back and all of this is done from a second story bathroom to a remote composting site. I have decided that I must not mind doing it since I don't avoid or dread it and everything gets done in a reasonable timely manner, most of the time. Occasionally a pail gets a bit overfull or the sawdust gets low but that is a result of my poor memory, not dread. For anyone who is worried about the work of going to this type of system I would say go ahead, it is just one more little thing that gets done regularly around a house.
 
gardener
Posts: 967
Location: Ohio, USA
188
dog forest garden fish fungi trees urban food preservation solar woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have heard of these things, but am still scared- the smell, the inconvenience, locating a remote spot, disease potential, etc. etc. I'm glad you are saying they are not onerous, but I have a few questions: What do you say to the other nuisance potentials? Also, 3 times a week + disposal sounds like a lot!! Also, regarding how you handle repetitive cleaning tasks: do you enjoy doing dishes or taking out the "trash"?
 
Posts: 51
Location: Acadia Region, Maine.
6
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I would find paying for a new septic system to be an onerous chore. The bucket really isn't a problem.
 
Wyatt Barnes
Posts: 318
9
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hey Amit let me clarify my routine as well as answer the other questions. About every 2 to 3 days, depending on use this is what I do. Carry an empty pail, lid and bag of sawdust into the bathroom. I empty the sawdust kitty litter into the 2/3 full toilet pail, put on the lid, remove the pail from the frame and drop in the clean empty pail. Rinse the kitty litter container, put it back in its spot, half fill it with sawdust, add a couple of handfuls to the pail and top off the cover container. Move the full pail to its storage spot under an entryway bench, put the sawdust bag back near the bench, wash my hands and I am done. All totaled, without rushing, I am doing something else within 5 minutes tops.

Generally once a week I take the 2 or 3 toilet pails as well as a 5 gallon kitchen compost container and empty them in the compost pile. Just came back from doing that, 15 minutes at the pile, start to finish. Remove a piece of fence wire laying on the top, remove the thermometer, use a fork to shift cover hay to the sides, move some existing compost to the sides to create a depression, dump all the pails, rinse all pails and recover with fresh hay. Pat down to firm everything up and replace the wire and thermometer. Total time per week for the system is between 30 and 45 minutes depending on whether travel time is counted.

Now to your questions, normal bathroom smells when being used, none after cover material is added and existing smells dissipate. Bit of smell when the compost gets opened and when the pails get dumped but not much and the worst tends to be the kitchen pail. I wouldn't say I enjoy doing chores but as I have gotten older I take more satisfaction in the completion of small tasks, mostly because so many times in life jobs never really get finished. As to pathogens it is not as if we never come near feces unless you have a high tech no touch backside washer so the risk in handling is about the same as normal living. Without the flush toilet misting pathogen water in the bathroom it is quite possible that the Jenkins system is actually safer to use as well. A remote spot for the compost is not really required, two spots a meter or so square and room for cover material is all that is required. Almost no odour even when emptying. Picking a discreet time to dump would be the main prerequisite for an urban close quarters system. Hope that helps, ask more if you can stand the long answers.
 
Amit Enventres
gardener
Posts: 967
Location: Ohio, USA
188
dog forest garden fish fungi trees urban food preservation solar woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You make it sound real easy. In fact, I wonder if a few structural changes might even make it less time consuming. Thank you for your reply!
 
pollinator
Posts: 283
Location: South of Winona, Minnesota
54
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We've been using a humanure bucket system for 34 years. We have 2 buckets, one for pee and one for poop (sometimes there is a little pee in this too). With 2 people in the home we empty the poop about once a week and the urine as needed. We don't put sawdust in either bucket. Instead, the chamber has a fan that we switch on before opening the lid, and that vents out the plumbing vent, so no smells while using. We put the poop in a compost bin and at that time add carbon material (most of the time we use recycled wood chips from the root cellar bins). The urine is emptied onto a compost heap, along with any toilet paper that happens to be in it. I think using a regular toilet is much stinkier. We used to use rubber buckets for the first 3 decades, swapping out a "clean" bucket for the "dirty" one when they were emptied. We would "clean" the bucket by setting it upside down in a sunny spot to dehydrate in the sun, even in the winter. Over the years we had to replace a couple of buckets as they became worn out. The last time we replaced the poop bucket we found a cheap stainless steel stock pot at a rummage sale. It has a lid which makes even removing the bucket to carry it outdoors a smell-free task. Everything works great and we wouldn't ever want to change the system. The composted feces are used on our corn crop each year, so when we are away from home and nature calls I feel bad that I'm wasting my fertility contribution in a flush toilet. Here's a PDF of our system: http://www.geopathfinder.com/ASimpleBucketSystemForHumanWastes.pdf
 
Amit Enventres
gardener
Posts: 967
Location: Ohio, USA
188
dog forest garden fish fungi trees urban food preservation solar woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thank you!

Larisa, I especially like the pictures. It's hard for me to visualize the size and extent of these things. It looks like compost-pile size is small! Pretty cool! Now my next question is ventilation- does something like this need ventilation because it starts composting while indoors, resulting in bad gas build-up?
 
Larisa Walk
pollinator
Posts: 283
Location: South of Winona, Minnesota
54
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Amit Enventres wrote:Thank you!

Larisa, I especially like the pictures. It's hard for me to visualize the size and extent of these things. It looks like compost-pile size is small! Pretty cool! Now my next question is ventilation- does something like this need ventilation because it starts composting while indoors, resulting in bad gas build-up?



When the "toilet" box is not in use and the fan is not on, the plumbing vent is still passively functional. Emptying the buckets as frequently as we do means that not much composting action is taking place indoors. We have noticed a few times in hot weather that the seat feels warm and moist, about the time that the bucket needed emptying anyway. I guess it would depend on how many people are using it, their dietary contributions, in addition to the ambient temperatures.
 
Posts: 46
Location: Sackville/Graywood, Nova Scotia
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
At our land we have a leaf and bucket system.

It's in the middle of a forest so there is never any shortage of leaves. We tend to use about a 1/4 of a bucket of leaves after each visit it seems, so every 4-5 poops it should be emptied. But the compost pile is literally behind the outhouse, about 10 feet of walking. Once dumped I throw some more leaves on top to hide any loose TP.

With our excess of leaves and under normal use I've never noticed a smell. However, we have had parties, say with half a dozen women that felt uncomfortable peeing outside and we said go ahead with using the bucket. And since it was a party no one thought to take care of things as we went. Even under that extra pressure the only additional onerous-ness was the weight of the bucket, and the extra splashyness during emptying. I did notice that the extra pee seemed to line the bucket with pee-soaked leaf matter, which would smell if not cleaned out. But I was hungover from the night of party so I wasn't doing pee cleaning, I just walked to the fire pit (10 feet in the other direction) and scooped some ash in the bucket, shook it around to coat the whole thing.

Even more exceptional are the times we forget to empty the bucket and find out only after running to the outhouse after a long drive. Even here with like 3 weeks of composting in the bucket, the composing leaves tend to conquer the smellscape (with a strong hint of ammonia)

I should note that this is more of a weekend system and if I were to be using it more often I would tend to use more wood ash along with the leaves to soak up moisture.

And since this is permies and you are all into nerd-level detail, it's mostly oak leaves but I think maple or birch would better. Them oak leaves are too big and stiff for a good poop covering.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1793
Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
95
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Larisa Walk wrote:We don't put sawdust in either bucket.



You don't use any type of organic "cover" material at all? Nothing goes into the buckets except the human waste?
 
pollinator
Posts: 509
Location: Derbyshire, UK
92
cat urban chicken
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
That is inspiring.. as someone who lives in an urban household up a set of stairs and with a small garden, and didn't think carrying buckets over carpet and up and down stairs and paths and stuff was viable... I should have a look and rethink! The compost piles don't look too big, and buckets with lids would mean the neighbours wouldn't know what I was carrying (I have to go through their garden to get to my land).
 
Larisa Walk
pollinator
Posts: 283
Location: South of Winona, Minnesota
54
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Todd Parr wrote:

Larisa Walk wrote:We don't put sawdust in either bucket.



You don't use any type of organic "cover" material at all? Nothing goes into the buckets except the human waste?



We put carbon material over the emptied bucket contents in the outdoor compost bin, but nothing added while the buckets are indoors which leaves more room in the bucket for poop/toilet paper.
 
Posts: 11
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Larisa Walk wrote:Here's a PDF of our system: http://www.geopathfinder.com/ASimpleBucketSystemForHumanWastes.pdf



Thanks, Larisa. Can you tell about what happens inside those recycled plastic bin composters? Does any liquid leak out? Can a large rolling trash bin of similar size be used instead? Without separating pee and poop, could more (dry) carbon take care of the extra liquid?

 
Larisa Walk
pollinator
Posts: 283
Location: South of Winona, Minnesota
54
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Sadie West wrote:

Larisa Walk wrote:Here's a PDF of our system: http://www.geopathfinder.com/ASimpleBucketSystemForHumanWastes.pdf



Thanks, Larisa. Can you tell about what happens inside those recycled plastic bin composters? Does any liquid leak out? Can a large rolling trash bin of similar size be used instead? Without separating pee and poop, could more (dry) carbon take care of the extra liquid?



The bin composter sits on some concrete patio blocks just to make scooping out the bin easier and to keep mice/rats mostly out. There isn't really any leakage since there is so little pee in it. I think you could use any of the commercial compost bins successfully - a trash bin wouldn't have adequate air and would get anaerobic. We used to use old barrels with vent pipes in the lids. The barrel could be tipped on its side and rolled, but the stationary bin works as well, if not better, and is a lot less work, and the barrels were never adequately aerated. As for having one bucket instead of two, the reason that smell is minimized in the house is that the poop isn't immersed in a pool of urine, so it isn't an anaerobic soup. If you live in farm country, you will know the difference between cow manure in the form of cow pies and the stuff that ends up in the manure pits in CAFO operations. The first smells rather earthy and honest, and the later just stinks.
 
Sadie West
Posts: 11
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've been using a more or less Jenkins loo and pallet-bin for about a year with no problems. Lazy and cutting a lot of corners.

In the bathroom instead of loose sawdust etc I'm using sawdust pellets, sold for fuel or animal bedding. Not dusty, but as soon as the pellets get wet they expand and fill the gaps between them.

I line the bucket with Al-Pack compostable 13 gal bags available from Jenkins's site. When the bucket is about half full, I tie off the top of the bag to prevent sloshing and just in case of me dropping the bucket. At the bin, I set down the bucket, hoist out the bag, sling the full bag on top of the pile, and then add some fresh straw to cover it. The bucket doesn't need cleaning.

I haven't tried including kitchen garbage or wet green matter. In rainy times I partially cover the bin. Using all the pee,I figure the danger would be too wet a mix if much rain came in. As is, I haven't noticed any smell or flies or leakage all year.
gift
 
The Greenhouse of the Future ebook by Francis Gendron
will be released to subscribers in: soon!
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic