This topic contains 5 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Scott 1 year, 5 months ago.

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  • #4264

    John Dennis Liu

    We’ve discussed toilets for several months and the consensus seems to be that we will have dry composting toilets.

    This in my understanding requires a careful ratio between carbon and nitrogen to work well. I’ve heard 17 to 1 and 20 to 1 carbon to nitrogen. With a mill milling timber into boards and the woodworking shop for building the camp we should be blessed with plenty of wood chips and saw dust. We can also use Straw for this which I’m told is readily available.

    I’ve filmed the toilets from the Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihood Project in Haiti and these can be seen at the link below.

    It might be in our interest to adapt these slightly so that we don’t have to handle to poo or clean containers. This could be done by replacing the reusable plastic tubs with biodegradable containers that can be composted with the poo. This could be a wax covered paper machete or it could be something more robust like Terra Cotta that we simply break on the compost area after the container is full.

    Alternatively, we could compost the material where it is deposited by burying it and moving the toilet.

    I think we probably need to use the first method however or we will be having composting human feces in many places in our camp and I don’t really think this is a good idea. Or we will have to take a hike to the toilet area and this is not really convenient. (when you’ve got to go … you’ve got to go).

    Camp Builders need to give this some thought and reach an agreement and make some prototypes right away.

    Looking forward to the conversation.

  • #4671

    John Dennis Liu

    Thanks to Regina for finding this.

    We can use these liners for our composting toilet vessels so no one has to handle to poo.

  • #4879

    Martin Gisser

    The only things I fear is rats burrowing in the poo compost and rainshower wash-outs.

    Those “compostable” sacks might help here if they are airtight long enough to prevent smell attraction, plus thoroughly ferment the contents (incl. pathogens). But I’m not seriously expert experienced here. (At least I’ve seen them in a large kitchen kompost that I turned: Not good there, not composting quickly enough. No fun to shovel, even less fun to fork.)
    Oh, and then: I don’t want to risk them ripping open while handling… But why handling it at all except closing the sacks and covering them with earth.

    My dream would be a toilet moving in a spiral and planting trees over its humanure compost trail.

    Hmmm, one more thing: This box toilet presented by the western lady at 7:00 in John’s Haiti film, hmm nope this looks like such a classic western misconstruction, not suitable for any anatomically proper relaxed defecation. The box seems not stable and big enough to squat on it. (The invention of the chair crippled some people to some extent…)

  • #4902

    John Dennis Liu

    Dear Martin: We can have the seat lowered for squatting to get the gravity and ergonomic benefits. There is generally no smell if you get the percentages right of carbon to nitrogen. We can arrange the composting area for human poo in reforestation rather than regenerative agriculture and this will prevent the rat or flooding issues.

  • #5243


    As I have understood the SOIl toilet system in Haiti is based on urine separation so the poop is much drier as well. Perhaps consider adding some moveable outhouses with shallow pits which can have trees planted in. As Martin had suggested to see perhaps more than one style of toilet system would be helpful?

  • #7983


    In a project in Córdoba, Argentina, they have a toilet similar to the one built on-site, but the buckets are much bigger 200 liter metal barrels like these:

    So, the point being, they had like 5 barrels. They will use one until full, then they will cover it with the nice fitting lid, and with a cart they will put it far away of the house in the line of barrels, and take the first barrel, empty it, and bring it to the toilet.

    Like this, you never touch the compost until it has passed a lot of time, and you can also increase the size of the toilet only by adding another barrel to the line of barrels.

    At some festivals they do the same with ‘wheelie bins’ but is harder to keep the mice out of them.

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