straw compost toilet

Discussion in 'Designing, building, making and powering your life' started by greenfrog, Jul 11, 2007.

  1. gbell

    gbell Junior Member

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    That's interesting... wouldn't that mean the rest of the decomposition was in anaerobic conditions, which we usually try to avoid because of smell?
     
  2. SueinWA

    SueinWA Junior Member

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    "I tend to agree with Mollison: by composting, you lose available nutrients..."

    Now, this is the first I've heard of this idea. And of all the info I've read on composting, I've never heard of such a thing. I wonder if that is fact or opinion? The benefits of raising the temp high enough to kill bacterial pathogens also kills parasites and weed seeds. Why am I doubting that nutrients would be lost? Would some nutrient loss be outweighed by the included loss of parasites/pathogens/weed seed? I'm not saying Mollison isn't right, necessarily, but how is it that he's the only one who says so?

    Oh, and speaking of fecophobia, how about Listeria Hysteria?

    I don't know about Oz, but here in the U.S., where I am willing to bet that our politicians are bigger idiots than your politicians :D , they are trying to outlaw raw milk and raw milk products.

    I was just reading the last issue of Acres U.S.A., The Voice of Eco-Agriculture, and they were telling of the false raw milk scares our illustrious government has been perpetuating.

    They said within the past year, eleven dairies here have had their sales suspended because their milk has tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes. There had been no illness, it had merely been found in routine checks. But the press releases said that listeria could cause "a serious and sometimes fatal disease called listerosis in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems".

    Then earlier this year, the info was released from the Center for Disease Control on the number of people who had become ill from consuming raw milk and raw milk products from 1972 through 2005. The records showed that there had NEVER been a case of ilness caused by Listeria monocytogenes in raw milk or cream during that time, more than 30 YEARS!

    Fear-mongering is just another form of control.

    Our government is full of idiots, and our country is full of idiots who allow it to continue.

    Sue
     
  3. gardenlen

    gardenlen Group for banned users

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    we only ran our boxes hot enough for worms to be happy and they added castings as well, but i can't honestly believe too much nutrient would get lost in most forms of composting, most composters end up- with near anabolic anyway as it is near on impossible to keep a pile as hot as what they say to kill weed seeds, all my composting and vermiculture happens on the garden beds, with how we garden the only problem we get with seeds is we don't get enough volunteers coming up and it is hard keeping the sow thistles etc.,. perpetuating in our system (good bee attracters).

    len
     
  4. arawajo

    arawajo Junior Member

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    Re: Speaking of Fecophobia, how about Listeria Hysteria?

    Sorry Sue - I think we win - I'm sure our lot outlawed raw milk ages ago!
    Someone around where I live is marketing it as Cleopatra's Bath Milk.

    Here is a bit about it - "They had been selling raw milk from their Jersey herd as "pet milk" in local health food stores. When the health department told them to desist, they came up with a better idea. They now sell Cleopatra's Bath Milk as a "Cosmetic Skin Treatment." The label states: "As it is presently unlawful in Queensland to supply pure, unprocessed dairy products as food, it is important your body is able to absorb the vitamins and enzymes only available in raw milk, this can be done by bathing in it. Please tell your member of Parliament what you think."! "
     
  5. gardenlen

    gardenlen Group for banned users

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    yes our stoopidist administrator had that rule in for a long time now, you can only buy raw milk for pet food, not if i can find a supplier, not happy drinking their poison.

    len
     
  6. M a x

    M a x Junior Member

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    Sue, in my opinion, it is fact :wink:

    i have no idea why you doubt it. from what i've read and experienced, it is fairly obvious to me that a cool process with hungry roots and macro organisms present right from begining, is more efficient in terms of nutrient reclamation and humus production than a hot ex-situ process whereby the product is mechanically damaged and exposed to the elements.

    not for me. i'm not trying to create a benign 'product' that i can safely handle and spread over annual vegetable beds. that is 'make work'. if the resulting humus is left in the ground, completely shaded, then parasites, pathogens and weed seeds are inconsequential.

    people say lot's of things, like the fool who said that the earth isn't flat. turns out he was right.
     
  7. christopher

    christopher Junior Member

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    Most incidents of infection with e. coli come from eating contaminated meat, especially ground beef. This is the result of manure/meat contact, with the manure from what should be grazing herbivores being fed grain crops, especially corn. Infection can be from a knife that cut beef, or from a burger, or from a counter where the beef was handled. This is a direct result of the dominant model of meat production, and has little to do with human feces to mouth transmission. There is little risk of contamination with the dangerous e. coli from human feces.

    Sue says it needs to get to 150 degrees for one hour, not that it will get to 150 degrees in one hour. Over a period of a few months, with the right carbon/nitrogen ratio, that is likely to happen.

    If someone could cite chapter and verse on this, I would like to see the source. I have never read that in any of Mollisons writing. I do know that he thinks composting to be too much work to be worth while (which I tend to agree with with the exception of composting manure).
     
  8. M a x

    M a x Junior Member

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    https://www.barkingfrogspermaculture.org/PDC_ALL.pdf page 86 of 155, "Now let me tell you about composting..."

    humanure is not a material one would sheet-mulch, of course.

    the composting process is like a wood fire - the hotter it burns, the more material volatilised. just ask the bio-char/amazonian dark earth proponents.
     
  9. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    Location:
    inland Otago, NZ
    Climate:
    Inland maritime/hot/dry/frosty
    What's a banana circle toilet?
     
  10. Ichsani

    Ichsani Junior Member

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    We had a banana circle shower when I was a kid.

    I guess a banana circle toilet would be the same except with a toilet in the middle.

    Funny, we always had lots of bananas, people must have been peeing in the shower...... :lol:
     
  11. M a x

    M a x Junior Member

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    yeah that's it Ichsani, a banana circle with a toilet in the middle. you can use papayas too (or just about any hungry trees), but it's best not to mix tree species in the same circle.

    alternatively you can make a 'tree bog' https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tree_bog which uses biomass type willows ("Osier").

    if you would prefer to use an indoor sawdust toilet, that will involve carrying and emptying of the humanure bucket about once a week. there are some good examples here: https://www.jenkinspublishing.com/photo_ ... /index.htm
     
  12. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    Location:
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    Climate:
    Inland maritime/hot/dry/frosty
    Ok, so for those of us that don't live in the tropics ;-) a banana circle is a circle of banana trees? And a banana toilet is a tree bog made from banana trees?
     
  13. SueinWA

    SueinWA Junior Member

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    Okay, I read Mollison's opinion of composting, and for the most part, I agree. But his opinion was not absolute: he also said "There are some items that are good to compost...", and I am going to assume that things like human and pig manure are some of those things. (Why pigs? Because there are quite a few pathogens and parasites that can cross between the two species.)

    Also, his comments about compost gases being released (and lost) into the air... if charcoal were incorporated into the compost pile as it was being built, would that apply?

    Someone mentioned that a compost pile won't be able to reach the required 150F temperature to kill pathogens all the way out to the perimeter of the pile. This is absolutely true. But notice what Joseph Jenkins says in his The Humanure Handbook: "It is best to dig a slight depression in the top center of the compost pile in the outdoor compost bin, then deposit the fresh toilet material there, in order to keep the incoming humanure in the hotter center of the pile. This is easily achieved by raking aside the cover material on top of the pile, depositing the toilet contents in the resulting depression, and then raking the cover material back over the fresh deposit."

    Keeping the stuff you want to heat up the most in the center of the pile prevents having to turn the pile, and you still don't have to worry about the edges of the pile not getting hot enough -- they don't need to do so.

    Another form of the banana circle toilet is what a village in Africa is doing. A portable outhouse is built and placed over a that has been dug in the ground. When the hole is close to full, the outhouse is moved to another hole. The full hole is covered with soil, and a food tree is planted over the site of the former privy.

    Sue
     
  14. M a x

    M a x Junior Member

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    for pebble:
    https://www.mitra.biz/howto_bananacircle.htm

    sue, i'm glad you understood what i meant in my first post, about the shape of the humanure pile.

    there is no one system that is suited to everyone. some people in cold-winter areas might want a compost-heated glasshouse, others might want a biogas digester. what i want is efficiency and speed through simplicity.
     
  15. gardenlen

    gardenlen Group for banned users

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    g'day max,

    that's a great looking link hey, i have been sitting on me pat malone wishing for the day i can buy a small nature-loo for even my own use here in suburbia, but i realy should get off me butt and do something about it hey, so you have inspired me to look into a commode chair and bucket affair, should read 'humanure' again hey chuckle?

    seasons greetings and a happy new year to you and yours from len & his family.
     
  16. arawajo

    arawajo Junior Member

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    I love that link to the sawdust toilets. We have one of those too. I have two Clivus Multrum composting toilets - one in the bathroom one in the ensuite - at my place but Martin and I have a sawdust toilet at our shack on the new block.

    We collect the white 20 litre buckets with lids from where ever we can and we buy the bags of wood shavings from the produce store. A bag lasts for about 6 months. I used to take bags to the sawmill and fill them more cheaply but it's more convenient to just buy the bags.

    Just make a wooden box to fit a 20 litre drum, cut a hole in the hinged lid and screw a plastic toilet seat over the hole. So simple. We empty the contents into an old water tank with no bottom. It can keep on composting for ages and we will use it one day around trees or something.

    I'm glad to see so many pics of other people's sawdust toilets - sometimes one can feel a little odd when no-one else has ideas like these in one's circle. I'm sure the people I work with would be horrified if they knew about our toilets! lol
     
  17. Jez

    Jez Junior Member

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    IMO, activated compost has altered the landscape quite a bit since Bill wrote/said that. While you are certainly losing some of the potential 'goodness' of your compost if you're using a fast Berkley method or similar, you're adding far more back when you activate that compost and encourage the beneficial microbes to multiply many times over.
     
  18. M a x

    M a x Junior Member

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    hey thanks len, same to you. i'm glad the link inspired you, let us know how it goes.

    something else to remember is that inert materials like sand and rock are broken down by bacterial action to provide nutrient, but because these materials inhibit the thermophilic effect in the compost pile, they are often excluded! when the pile eventually cools down and is ready to use then the action is finished and the opportunity to create a nice, black loamy soil is wasted.

    i think humanure-style compost ideal for use in the nursery for starting seedlings and cuttings, because it is a finished and stable humus and is guaranteed to be free of nasties and full of goodies, but that is about all.
     
  19. Ichsani

    Ichsani Junior Member

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    Hi,

    Love the thread. My 2 cents...

    Re compost..... yes volume is lost when a pile is composted, but its important to remember that the density of the material increases as well. Humus is a very dense and complex jumble of molecules, especially when compared to the dry matter used in the pile. So looks are a bit decieving.

    As far as I understand, some carbon is lost as CO2 due to microbial respiration, some nitrogen is lost as gas (denitrification) which can be reduced by by making sure the pile is not soggy as the presence of oxygen reduces this process (as well as not applying too much simple sugar). Phosphorus doesn't move much, but it does change what its attached to, which dictates how available it is to plants. Of course some nutrients are taken up by the microbes themselves and become available as the little buggies die.

    In a pile there is a complex process of microbial succession as the simplist molecules are decomposed first, followed by harder ones like lignen. When these molecules are decomposed (through many forms) by a succession of microbes into a more chemically stable form (ie the bugs get the energy) the more the material resembles humus.

    Which brings me to something else.......

    .....temperature is NOT the only thing that a potentially harmful (to humans) bacteria has to worry about in a compost pile. The microbial environment is highly competitive with many players that have a veritable arsenal of weapons against their neighbours (its certainly not all happy happy symbiosis!). This is why our most powerful antibiotics are derived from soil bacteria........ they've been trying to kill their neighbours since life began and happen to be quite good at it :lol:

    So between a hot compost knocking off the 'bad' bugs and their nasty neighbours turning up the chemical warfare heat..... I don't think there will be too many that make it in a well made pile.

    Basic hygiene, hand washing before prepping food, rubbing eyes, picking nose or teeth, not snorting any dust and keeping unfinished compost well away from water should be adequate.

    ....there was also a article in the SMH today, something about bacteria and minor infections priming the immune system.....apparently reduces the likelihood of cancers, asthma, allergies etc...

    ....makes me glad i ate so much dirt as a kid. :lol:

    Ichsani
     
  20. hank freid love

    hank freid love New Member

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    Re: straw compost toilet

    I am agree with the user Max, there is no one system that is suited to everyone. some people in cold-winter areas might desire a compost-heated glasshouse, others might want a biogas digester. what i want is competence and speed through simplicity.
     

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