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Change from sawdust to nature's head toilet?

 
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Hi,
I'm wondering about the logistics of using a nature's head composting toilet versus a Jenkin's model sawdust toilet.
I have concerns about specific details like aiming the solids versus liquids/how much toilet paper is ok/where does menstrual blood go/ does the urine jug smell/ why do people put sugar packets in the urine jug/what to do with the toilet paper when you pee and so on.
Except for the emptying, the sawdust toilet seems to be super easy compared to using the nature's head. At almost $1,000, the nature's head needs to be pretty awesome versus the frequency of bucket emptying.
Thanks!
 
pollinator
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Location: Charlotte, Tennessee
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Thanks for this question. I don't have an answer, but hope others do. I just spent a week on a farm that exclusively uses sawdust, and I was so impressed at how little it smells. It was definitely a pain in the butt how quickly the buckets filled, but that was because there were a bunch of us taking a class.

Curious if others have used Nature's Head, and how that is for filling up and the emptying process. It's a little intimidating, looking at the user guide. And do you really have to use large ziploc bags?!
 
Vicky Peterson
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I think the bags are just a suggestion on how to store and measure out the peat or coir.
 
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it's not exactly what you asked, but have you looked at Separett? We were considering natures head and ended up with Separett. it is the most like a "regular" toilet. rather than collecting urine, it has a pipe that goes outside to an evaporation pit (a simple 3x3 hole with rocks sized gravel to medium). paper goes in it, no real issue on what kind or how much. Solar fan eliminates all stink. composting happens inside provided bucket. feminine products go in trash. nothing to add or othewise do.

we made a venting mistake at first and had some unpleasant smell. after correcting that, it couldn't be easier and other than EVERYONE sitting it's the experience that is most like a normal indoor water toilet - this is most useful for guests who otherwise can mess up the mix.
 
pollinator
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I don't think the sawdust can be beat by the nature's head. The emptying issue is really just a state of mind issue, how you feel about emptying buckets full of waste. I have a double bucket system and I empty approximately 1.5 times per week. I empty so regularly because I have an infant who uses compostable liners and they fill up the buckets pretty quick. Without those I think I would just be emptying one bucket a week. I also don't mind the task of emptying, it takes me 5-10 minutes and I use that time to contemplate the task and why I choose to not flush. I also would have a hard time dropping $1000.

If you do go with the nature's head, let us know how you like it.
 
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We use a Nature's Head at our off grid cabin.  I purchased it used, so I didn't spend anywhere near what they're asking for a new one.  With just the two of us we can go close to 2 weeks without emptying the solids.  The urine bucket goes to the compost pile every 2nd day or so.  We don't put paper in the "head", and use fine pine shavings from Tractor Supply as cover material.  Since we are totally off-grid, I've rigged a computer fan with a dedicated solar panel for exhaust.  There was a period where the exhaust fan wasn't operating (during the experimental engineering phase) and the gnats were a much worse problem than the smell.  All in all, we're quite happy with how it's all working out.
 
Vicky Peterson
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Mark Mstevens wrote:it's not exactly what you asked, but have you looked at Separett? We were considering natures head and ended up with Separett. it is the most like a "regular" toilet. rather than collecting urine, it has a pipe that goes outside to an evaporation pit (a simple 3x3 hole with rocks sized gravel to medium). paper goes in it, no real issue on what kind or how much. Solar fan eliminates all stink. composting happens inside provided bucket.



I had not looked at the Separrett. The fan issue looks about the same as the nature's head and not too much of a draw.
I might have an issue finding a good, close spot for the evaporation pit and want to use the urine anyway. The videos I watched all talked about a compostable bag (I'm guessing you buy it from the company?) but you mentioned a bucket? And no added peat or coir?

Thanks!
 
Vicky Peterson
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Daniel Ray wrote:I don't think the sawdust can be beat by the nature's head. The emptying issue is really just a state of mind issue, how you feel about emptying buckets full of waste.



Too true! Emptying is not a big deal to me but, like everything, there's issues.
People in my house are sensitive to dust and mold and I wonder about the sawdust dust. Even with a dedicated dry place to store it and  trying to limit the mess inside, there is certainly some mess/dust. Also, using the urine separately would be a plus.
The nature's head toilets seem to hold their value pretty well based on what the used ones go for on eBay. I just need to catch a deal if I want to experiment.
 
Vicky Peterson
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Jimmy Mountaineer wrote:

use fine pine shavings from Tractor Supply as cover material.

 There was a period where the exhaust fan wasn't operating (during the experimental engineering phase) and the gnats were a much worse problem than the smell.  All in all, we're quite happy with how it's all working out.



So, 2 gallons of pine shavings instead of the peat? And just filling at the beginning, not covering at each deposit?


Are gnats a problem when the fan is working? We have lots of fruit flies if I'm not diligent with the kitchen compost bucket.
If I get one, I'll be venting it into a large crawl space. The company suggested this as getting the vent outside would be difficult but the crawl space would be easy. They said to screen the end of the hose to keep bugs out.
 
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