Composting human crap

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by helenlee, Aug 4, 2010.

  1. Burra Maluca

    Burra Maluca Junior Member

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    The problem I see with that is that you soon run out of buckets... We essentially use that system using several buckets for about a month, then we have a special compost heap, Jenkins Humanure style, that we empty the buckets onto. The stuff gets put in the middle of the heap and surrounded and covered with straw, or sawdust, or donkey poop, so that everything is covered and there's no smell. After a year, we start a new heap, and after another year we declare the first heap to be ready for use on the garden and free up the space for the next year's offerings. I find the system incredibly cheap, easy and effective.
     
  2. milifestyle

    milifestyle New Member

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  3. grassroots

    grassroots Junior Member

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    I think that maybe I have underestimated the amount of poo we produce. With one person using this system in a 20 litre bucket how soon does it fill up?
    I thought it would take 6 months.
    As far as the lack of moisture, I thought that the incidental pee would be enough, if not add water when full.
    The other thought is to have 2, 20L buckets, and a couple of black 60L rubbish bins. When one 20L bucket is full, put the spare 20 litre bucket in its place. Empty the full bucket in the 60L rubbish bin, wash out the 20L bucket and allow to air, then continue with the cycle. When the 60L rubbish bin is full leave for 1 to 2 years in full sun, that should break it down shouldn't it?
     
  4. gardenlen

    gardenlen Group for banned users

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    we used to fill a 20 litre bucket in about a week, we used dried mushroom compost to cover the fresh stool each time, and found the incidental urine more than enough for moisture, but as you say water can be added later.

    len
     
  5. sweetpea

    sweetpea Junior Member

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    "No one is claiming the manure, whether human feces, animal or plant has not begun a Microbial Fermentation before the worms get to it..."

    Eric, on page 3 of this thread, you said, quoting you:

    "Worm farming would do a stage one breakdown, then add the vermicast to a traditional compost heap or let it age on its own."

    They are not stage one on human feces, I think is what got this discussion started. And even Murphy's book doesn't say they are stage one in his one mention of a composting toilet. His book is mainly about worm farming, not composting toilets. It makes all the difference in the world whether we are talking about herbivore animal feces or carnivore human feces.

    I just don't want inexperienced people thinking they can throw a container and some worms together and use it willy nilly and get good results. A composting toilet is a commitment, and when it goes wrong or it changes for the worse, it's important to know the right thing to do. :)
     
  6. SueUSA

    SueUSA Junior Member

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    Sweetpea: "It makes all the difference in the world whether we are talking about herbivore animal feces or carnivore human feces."

    Why?
     
  7. milifestyle

    milifestyle New Member

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    Yes, Worms are good for doing a stage one break down of feces, (bacterial breakdown excluded). Feces in itself is a breakdown of food. Any bacterial breakdown is just a continuation of a biological process which started in the gut and continues outside the body.
     
  8. milifestyle

    milifestyle New Member

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    Different proteins... but i wouldn't say it makes "All the difference in the world"...
     
  9. sweetpea

    sweetpea Junior Member

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    Eric: "Yes, Worms are good for doing a stage one break down of feces, (bacterial breakdown excluded).'

    Again, no, no, no. It's not bacteria, it's MICROBES in soil and decayed plant matter that is used in a composting toilet or is in the soil that an animal poops on. Microbial life, and that isn't in our guts or we'd be sick as dogs. What happens in a composting toilet is not a continuation of what's in our guts. The only way worms can use feces is if MICROBES eat and poop out the original feces of carnivores or herbivores. Microbes are the Stage One breakdown, and worms come in after it's in the soil and pass soil through their systems. If the soil has decayed plant matter, then it feeds them. If not, they leave.

    Sue: Why? The two types of poop are very different substances. Because carnivores eat meat we have different gut flora and fauna in our guts, we excrete way more meat and protein products than plant matter. Carnivores excrete a more acidic urine (pH-~ 6.0) than non-carnivores (urine pH - 7.0), and earthworms do not seek out an acidic environment. Even if you are a vegetarian, you still have carnivore gut flora and fauna that is acting on what you eat and it affects the output. Herbivore poop is dense plant matter. How each type breaks down is different, and after the microbes break it down, what is left for the worms is different. Worms are herbivores and need broken down plant matter to survive. A lot of people in the US don't even eat many vegetables.

    It's the carbonaceous organic material and dirt combined with carnivore poop that give it any hope of being what earthworms can use once the microbes break it down in a soil-based composting toilet (meaning there's an earth dirt pit as part of the toilet, not a plastic or metal container.)
     
  10. milifestyle

    milifestyle New Member

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    I don't disagree with you or agree with you entirely either. Worms do consume bacteria, "microbes" and tiny microscopic things. They need food to be soft and digestible. I have had worms where they have literally eaten the inside of a rotten pumpkin that had gone to mush and left only the seeds and the skin. Similar with potato peelings. I have also seen worms go through Horse pellets which i was using to fatten worms for fish bait (worked great too). Worms don't "eat" in the traditional sense. They simply move particles through their system. They are a little like a mobile intestine.

    We will probably need to agree to disagree on this issue Sweetpea.
     
  11. sweetpea

    sweetpea Junior Member

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    You bet, worms suck through dirt that contains pumpkins, potatoes and horse manure, all plant matter. that's got nothing to do with composting toilets or human feces. :)
     
  12. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Human faeces is of just undigested food - largely plant material. So why wouldn't worms eat it?
     
  13. sweetpea

    sweetpea Junior Member

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    You think carnivores eat a lot of vegetables? In America we don't. We eat eggs, bacon, oatmeal, puffed and sugared cereal, milk, ice cream, chocolate, bread, mayonnaise, meat sandwiches, cheetos, steak, more bread, .maybe a potato, sometimes salad, but I don't think most do 7 days a week, on and on. Even people who eat a vegetable and salad at dinner might eat 1/4 of a pound? Barely. We don't have nearly the amount of plant matter in our poop as an herbivore.

    Cows weigh 1500 pounds and eat approx. 50 pounds of plant matter every day. Deer can weigh around 150 pounds and eat 5 to 9 pounds of plant matter a day. What they excrete is treated differently in their stomachs that have different flora and fauna, and the end product doesn't even compare.
     
  14. milifestyle

    milifestyle New Member

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    Are you saying worms are vegetarians ?
     
  15. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    Humans are omnivores unless they become herbivores by choice. We're not carnivores. Even the paleo crowd aren 't ;-)

    oatmeal, cereal, bread, sandwiches, cheetos, more bread, potato, sometimes salad... those are all plant foods not animal ones. I'm not disputing the differences between humans and herbivores, just backing up my statement that humans are omnivores not carvnivores.


    There's plenty online about worm humanure systems if you want to look.
     
  16. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    And I'd reckon that those of us who might be interested in composting human manure probably are more vege than meat eaters.
     
  17. sweetpea

    sweetpea Junior Member

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    Eric, yes, on post #27 "Earthworms are herbivores"

    https://www.mhhe.com/biosci/genbio/virtual_labs/BL_14/BL_14.html

    https://www.qrg.northwestern.edu/projects/marssim/simhtml/organisms/worm.html

    Pebble, don't know if you read this whole thread or not, but we've already covered to what degree earthworms are involved in composting toilets.

    Eco, hey, if you can eat 4 to 6 pounds of plant matter a day, please tell us how you do it! :) And you know, herbivores eat raw vegetables, not fried, not roasted.
     
  18. gardenlen

    gardenlen Group for banned users

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    we are not vegetarian, and we composted our own toilet waste, the worms had no trouble doing that over about a 7 month period in the bin. once it passes through us i don't know how a worm determines what's vegetable matter and what's not as they progress through the soil or any medium.

    len
     
  19. milifestyle

    milifestyle New Member

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    In a test sample i done a couple of years ago, I found by the end of 4 months all that was left in the container was Vermicast. If worms wait for human feces to break down because they are herbivores is that any different to a vegan not eating an egg or drinking milk? Regardless of whether it was once from a meat eaters diet and has broken down, does not mean it is no longer from a meat eaters diet.

    From memory, I believe David Murphy, as a tanner got into earth worms as a way of eliminating waste products from his business.

    Sweatpea, are you a vegetarian/vegan ? If you don't mind me asking.
     
  20. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

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    Sweetpea, those links you gave are about Earthworms. Compost worms are different to Earthworms.

    I don't eat meat (with the exception of a chicken I have reared now and then) and plenty of meat eaters tell me "Well, you don't look unhealthy!" or "You don't look like you need a feed" lol

    Have you done a study on the composition of human crap? Do you hypothesise that meat passes through the human stomach and digestive system and comes out still as meat? I thought is was all the by product of digestion. I would have thought the main problem with human faeces is all the disease causing bacteria and other micro-organisms. Isn't that what the compost worms eventually feed on?

    I'm not sure why you are making such a distinction between all the different animal poo. We are animals too.

    Perhaps we are just the only ones stupid enough to crap in our own nest (metaphorically speaking of course ;) )
     

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