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Anybody use a bucket toilet?  RSS feed

 
pollinator
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Location: Colville, WA Zone 5b
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Hola folks!

We're going to be building next April and so we're moving from the "dreaming" phase to the "planning" (woohoo!). One thing that we're definitely doing is a bucket composting toilet. My main concern was that it might smell bad, but I've talked to enough people who will confirm they don't really smell bad. I do have a question or two that I haven't been able to get a good answer for though:

A lot of people say don't urinate into it - is that because it fills up so quickly? I can realistically see my husband being able to not urinate into it, but we have three little girls and one of them is a baby who will be potty training on said bucket toilet, so I'm curious as far as the reasoning behind the "don't pee in it" statement.

Also - does it smell when you empty it? Do you have to line it with something?
 
            
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i've experienced 3 or 4 rotational buckets that worked pretty well for up to 4.5 adults. additional buckets for peepee are always handy (midnite runs). having one central combo bucket is the key. here's some tips:

a small bit of sawdust on bottom and old news paper liner (ripped correctly can cover inside walls of the bucket in three sheets), that keeps the sticky material to a minimum.

its not needed to line your pee only buckets...waste of effort imo. just fill 'em up with sawdust/your compost medium and urinate until full.

thermophylic bacteria will mostly break down an incredible amount of smell. you might consider one pile per year... depending on how much humanure you generate.

have you a copy of the humanure handbook by joe jenkins? reading material for the jon? "stoolbook" of the year.

best
 
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Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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Mixing 1 & 2 will make it smell faster and fill faster.

If you build a two hole setup, one can be for one and the other for two. You can slide between them fairly easily. Also handy for those times of the month because you don't want blood in the compost, either. Little ones get a free pass.
 
Mother Tree
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Location: Portugal
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The more pee in the poop bucket, the heavier it will be to handle, and the less pleasant to empty. There are certain times of the month I refuse to squat over the lower 'pee-bucket' and just pee direct into the main bucket, set into a Joseph Jenkins Humanure style lovable loo. Just be careful it doesn't get too heavy to lift.

We never line ours, but we do make sure there is a good layer of sawdust on the bottom. There occasional 'streaks' down the side of the bucket, but they've never been bothersome enough to persuade me to go to the trouble of using any kind of liner.
 
Bethany Dutch
pollinator
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Awesome - good info. I was thinking that one thing I could do is set up the compost pile near to the water spigot and install a sprayer like they use in kitchen sinks or diaper sprayers, and that could help also (although a hose might be just as easy).
 
Burra Maluca
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I have a long hose-pipe set up with a trigger-released adjustable spray hose fitted on the end. I empty the buckets one by one, set them down again with the lid on, and when they are all empty I throw a bit of hay/straw/whatever-cover-material-I-have-at-the-time on top of the heap to make it more pleasant to be near and less attractive to flies. Then I work through the buckets one at a time, washing and if necessary scrubbing them clean with a brush, tipping all the water directly onto the humanure heap. When I'm done cleaning all the buckets, I put a thicker layer of cover material on top. Generally I put lots on, taking the time to make it look 'nice' and ensure there is absolutely no smell whatsoever. Then I generally put a compost thermometer in place to monitor the temperature, then throw an easily-removed cover over the whole thing.

I aim to make it so that if people turn up to 'have a look', I'll be happy to walk right up to the active heap, pull off the cover, demonstrate that there is no smell, and, if they turn up within a week of adding to the heap, the thermometer will have a sufficiently high reading on it (mine generally gets up to 65C/150F) that everyone is happy that it's safe and hygienic.

That trigger-spray on the end of the hose-pipe does double duty as a way to wash the grime and dust off my legs and feet during the summer - just be careful the water isn't too hot! I have a similar set-up outside my kitchen, bringing the trigger-hose into through the door and using it wash my dishes.
 
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Collecting rain water in fifty gallon drums, just install spigot at the bottom of the drum, and slide a hand pump at the top. This way you always have pressure for a spray hose attachment, no matter where the compost setup is.
Joe Jenkins has a great setup i've adapted to my own system. Cheers
 
pollinator
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Location: Burton, WA (USDA zone 8, Sunset zone 5) - old hippie heaven
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Here's another user-tested system - http://www.omick.net/composting_toilets/current_toilet.htm

I echo the above comments, especially about the liner. It does cut down on the skid marks. I highly believe in washing the buckets outside and letting the sun work it's magic. See the link above for how to do this safely.

As for peeing in a separate bucket or not, I've done it both ways. I think the best way to handle pee is to use a separate bucket, and empty it *every day* (or more often, depending on usage) into the compost heap, or dilute it 10 to 1 with water, and put it on your flower beds or around trees, as long as you don't have small children who are prone to eating dirt. If you can't meet these conditions, then use a combined system and make sure to empty the bucket before it gets too heavy to handle or too full to handle without sloshing while you carry it. If your compost heap and/or your flower beds start smelling like pee, you need to back off for a while.
 
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The bucket sytem, yuck. My neighbor had that sytem and had to abandone it, as only he would empty and clean the buckets. Also it is a lot of constant maintanence, not very permie. The barrel is a little better but you may go through lots of barrels. Dont burry them, that shit is heavey and you will need to move barrels. Also, the poop frequently dosent compost where in contact with the plastic barrel. With a two chamber system you poop for a year, then use the other side for a year. Then you harvest the compost and start again. Keep the bin above the water table and all humidity issueas are managed by managing the compsting mix (partially composted sawdust or fine mulch-be sure the mulch dosent come from places with flies). All toilets need a vent to prevent oders, composting or flush, same vent. Paint the vent black if you can. Composting toilets should have a fly trap as flys can come out of the mulch. The pee issue is best managed by not going out of your way to pee in the pooper, but a handfull of dryer mix will fix that right up Compost5ing toilets are fun oder free and easey. Hope to post a photo gallery of some composting toilets we have built.
 
Posts: 155
Location: Sierras
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I've used bucket toilets for years: divert the pi always - it smells bad and attracts flies - there's some contraptions to divert the pi in the front area.

Extra newspaper liner on the bottom REALLY helps. i've used peatmoss from the forest instead of sawdust - works fine. I put a newspaper or old towel over the top of the toilet seat on very warm days or when it starts stinking - or i'm too lazy to empty it. i have absolutely no flies or rodents... I mix the kitchen compost with the toilet compost on each emptying into the big outdoor compost pile.

The dual chamber toilet (see humanure book) works best: i used a bucket toilet while it was under construction. The key to the dual chamber toilet is to have easy access for compost removal.
 
Xep Arkonatitlan
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There is a world of diference between your composting toilet and one that is used by guests. This is a hugely important designe consideration. A two chamber sytem made of masonry is much more forgiving. Masonry can be something more low impact then concrete. We use lime blocks, like cement blocks but lime. I built a barrel system into my house, and its ok, just for me the wife and kids. It has a vent but no fly trap, if we close the lid we should be fine. But I could have built a first floor, dual toilet bathroom.( Then I wouldnt be trucking this big barrel through my house.) This is built on the side where the slope makes the first floor above ground. The poo would be accesed at grouind level outside and there is even a place for a fly trap. A urinal, and i have not yet designed a multy sex urinal I am happy with, is nesecery-not a pee diverter. The problem is all that other pee not the one when they poo. A pee diverter needs a screen to keep out toilet paper. Then you get to clean the screen. Cleaning the pee diverter is one of the worst jobs. I have, over the last eighteen years built eight composting toilets used by the public and being Murphys resistant is important. Trying to get back on the subject this time. Then reason I planed a barrel sytem had to do with the foundation and acess to the poo chamber.
 
Fred Winsol
Posts: 155
Location: Sierras
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I agree... compost toilets are great for the live-in people... but guests (especially from urban areas) generally turn their nose up at them - only after the reluctantly try it do they realize it ain't no big deal.
i had to install a flushing toilet (hard retrofit) just for guests and luckily it's only used rarely.
 
Posts: 135
Location: Springdale, WA USA - Cold Mediterranean Climate
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We used a bucket back in March of 1993. The ground was frozen like a brick an we had no option until it thawed. I seam to recall that by Late April, we had a proper out house. It was summer of 1996 before we has a septic tank with a flush toilet that was 100% gray water free.
 
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We've used a bucket system for probably a year and a half or so, family of 5 with 3 girls.

Urine is a bigger problem, with any "alternative" system, including composting toilets. We started out with a 2 bucket system (one for pee, one for poo), this ended up being a bigger hassle then necessary for us. The pee gets SO heavy, insanely heavy, I found it better just to co-mingle.

What we do is layer wood pellets (either stall dry or wood pellets like you would put in a stove) in the bottom of the buckets, I use a 3lb feed scoop, and put a healthy amount in the bottom. Then use ONLY actual "sawdust", we've used everything and nothing comes close to keeping everything kosher as much as sawdust does. If you keep the pellets in the bottom and use sawdust you'll be fine.

We use about 1 bucket per day, we have 2 in the house, I take the buckets out every other day and clean them once a week or so. It's not a huge hassle but it is another chore that will need to be done. The emptying and cleaning won't be as big of a problem if you keep those wood pellets in the bottom, they soak up the urine. It is always a real bummer if we are out and I have to start a bucket without them.

Overall they have basically zero smell inside and for the most part it really isn't grosser then anything else. I find the cat box grosser.

Humanure by Jenkins is a must buy, great book.

Oh, and yes, people that come over are usually yucked out, I try and feel out how outhouse type friendly in general they are before inviting people over


 
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree
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Eve McKie wrote:
Oh, and yes, people that come over are usually yucked out, I try and feel out how outhouse type friendly in general they are before inviting people over



We don't have too many people who are yucked out these days, but I might just print out a copy of this and stick it on the back of the door...



Found on Facebook.
 
Eve McKie
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That's Awesome! I am totally using that photo, thanks for sharing!

 
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I'm going to rant for a moment. Please forgive me. This is an uncontrollable rant and I have been known to do it in the courthouse, the middle of stores, sitting at a bar, or any place else that the topic comes up.

When a civilization treats its manure as a toxic substance, it is GOING TO DIE. A thousand years hence they will be looking at the ruins of our civilization and cast their eyes in wonder. "These people had everything! Plentiful food! Plentiful water! Marvelous machinery to do their bidding! What could have possibly wiped them out?" Then they'll bring out a porcelain toilet from the ruins of a home and gaze upon it in horror. "Those barbarians! They broke the fertility cycle!"

In my household, we have a small bench with a hole cut in it. Underneath that hole sits a 5 gallon plastic bucket. All human excrement goes in there. You put down a layer of mulch, then you do your business, then you cover it. When we notice that one of the kids (kid poo is the most nasty of all known poos, and I am a poo expert) did not cover it appropriately and it smells bad, we add more mulch and we carry out the bucket. We absolutely do not freak out if we smell poo.

We are a family of 7. We generate prodigous amounts of poo. I have a grand poo empire going on and generate about 3 cubic yards of compost this way EVERY 3 MONTHS! It is not a hardship. It is a blessing. I live in a wasteland with bad soils and this is how we intend to thrive here.

Oh, and I have a "wilderness toilet" set up out by the work areas. In a stand of mesquite and agarita bushes, where there is almost 360 degree privacy, there is a bucket with a toilet seat hanging on a broken tree branch. Visitors are generally shamed into using this the first time but afterwards everyone generally agrees that it is a superior experience. There are birds singing there, a cool shady spot with a nice breeze, flowers blooming, bees buzzing, and a great view of the western ridgeline. It is the best toilet you'll ever use.

Look, folks. I'm guessing that if you're on a permaculture site in a composting forum then you already get this ... but if you feed the soil then the soil will feed YOU. If you are at any degree confused as to what to feed your soil to sustain life, then clearly you should feed it the broken down components that are produced as a byproduct of SUSTAINING LIFE. This means poop!

Poop is life! Brown gold! Without it, we will die! I wish I had more of it. I consider it rude when I feed farm visitors and they DON'T poop in my toilet!
 
Yone' Ward
Posts: 135
Location: Springdale, WA USA - Cold Mediterranean Climate
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The biggest issue I have with using humanure is the five moths every year that everything outside is frozen. It has to be stored or processed underground for that time unless you are ok with dumping it on top of the snow.
 
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we have had a bucket for over 8 years now and are very satisfied. We built a bin outside ( nowhere near our well) that we empty every fall onto our field. ( this may sound gross but I see the pumper truck down the road doing the same thing with fresh uncomposted stuff on a neighboring pasture...) We do not separate 1 and 2. we also have a steady family of 10 ( previously 13) with friends and neighbors arriving regularly. The bucket consists of a framework with hole cut in board for a standard $2.50 store bought 5 gallon pail to which a standard toilet seat is attached. No liners. We use sawdust from my husbands band saw cause its light and cheap. This is stored in a bin which is built next to the toilet. We empty it once a day but for ease in carrying when i get older i would empty it prob at about half full... and by that time it will prob still be once a day...smell is no worse than a regular flusher... sometimes better when we have cedar sawdust. Having used this toilet we find it awkward at how loud a regular toilet is when we are in a store... and it certainly cut our electric bill as we dont run the water pump for gallons upon gallons of perfectly clean water down the drain.
IMG_1254.JPG
[Thumbnail for IMG_1254.JPG]
my bucket composting toilet
 
Posts: 6
Location: Victoria BC
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We have been on the bucket for seven years, and there is six of us. We have literally never had an issue with smell with either of the two bathrooms in the house. We have compartments that hold two buckets, and when the two buckets become full of both pee and poo (and shavings), then they go outside and are replaced with two more buckets. When I have ten full buckets (once a week) I open the pile and dump them. Here is a link to a video of the dumping
.

We also do a lot of research and policy work around such things, and have been able to legalize the bucket system, and have even built one at a local regional park, where we also service them. Neighbours bring their friends by just to look at the bathroom... and again no smell. The research and analysis on the compost allows us to safely ensure we can use the composted materilas on the food gardens, as well as hen I do a presentation to schoolkids or engineers, I can let them handle and smell the compost.

One key point, if you remove the urine from the bucket, you are removing the nitrogen from the system, and the composting process is less vigorous and the end product is nitrogen deficient (as studied at UBC Choi toilets that do separate). The course we teach on grey water and composting toilets has one common point... if it smells then your doing wrong - neither should ever smell.

In our home we run a 24VDC 50cfm fan which keeps the slightest of air flows through the toilet compartment - this also seconds as the bathroom exhaust fan, as well as services the whole house's demands under the building code to meet the required air changes per hour. Don't be nervous... trust what Joe Jenkins has written... everything goes into the bucket and give it plenty of cover material, more if it seems sloppy. My fovorite time of the year is when I dig into my 2 year old pile and place it in the gardens. All exciting!
 
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Amelia, I love your setup! Do you fill the bin from inside, or does it also open to an outdoor source of sawdust?

As far as this thread is concerned, I have a somewhat related question... My husband and I are eagerly planning to use a "bucket toilet" and to remove the whole concept of black water from our lives. Then I remembered that I would like to use cloth diapers for our children...this complicates things a bit. Does anyone here have any good suggestions for dealing with a minimal amount of black water for cleaning baby things only? We are still in the design phase of our house, so any suggestions as to how to incorporate this would be appreciated! At least for a while, we will likely be using a pair of galvanized wash/rinse tubs which could be "easily" diverted to a seperate drainage location when needed.
 
Posts: 14
Location: mid/northern Vermont
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I've had & used one now for 6+ years.
It is dead easy, requires very little attention, and as it is a 'dry' bucket, has so little odour as to be unimportant.

Back-story:
I live in a very tiny 50+ year old camper, which has a big tent built around it.
Space is very limited.
The toilet, therefore, is between the camper & tent; a great spot for it.
It is built from scrap lumber and the remains of a disassembled desk for the bigger parts.

The secrets of the bucket:
An oval toilet seat.
Recycled buckets with lids.
An ordinary plastic funnel as a pee diverter.
A recycled gallon jug to catch the pee from the funnel.
Scrap office paper, torn in 1/2.
A good, sturdy spatula to optimize the space used...which lives on top of=>
A big bucket full of wood shavings.

Comments:
- I 1st learned the do's & don't's of this from friends who had a 'wet' bucket, indoors - and it stank something NASTY !!!
- Covering the poops with office paper and squishing it down genuinely displeases the nuisance bugs and they seek elsewhere instead.
- The stretched-out opening of the oval seat allows better space for the funnel to do it's job.
- An easy way to make the funnel stay set but to easily come out of the way is those big office binder clips to hold it tightly against the bucket.

As the gallon jugs fills, it is spread on the happy jewel-weed forest which is right outdoors here ; apparently jewel-weed thinks pee is GREAT stuff.
(It seems to discourage other green growing things though, a good thing as there were nasties growing there too...but no more.)

As the bucket fills, depending upon weather at the time, it is either covered & replaced, or emptied into 1 of 2 ordinary, covered trash cans with worm-holes in their bottoms.

The emptied bucket is set where there's good rainwater to fill it and emptied a couple of times before it's next use.

That's it.
Simple, easy, and no real bother a'tall.

Closing thought:
The only thing more insane than flushing away perfectly good drinking water so that it ends up in the ocean eventually - is boiling water with fission.

PS:
The rant about the fertility cycle is DEAD ON.
 
hagrid small
Posts: 14
Location: mid/northern Vermont
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I beg to differ here:

Yone' Ward wrote:The biggest issue I have with using humanure is the five moths every year that everything outside is frozen. It has to be stored or processed underground for that time unless you are ok with dumping it on top of the snow.


Seems to me it's pretty cold & frozen alot of the time here in Vermont, and the only 'problem' I ever have with emptying the bucket is if/when the roof-drops are so heavy that it requires 1st digging out the composting buckets....no biggie - it's winter & it's supposed to be cold !!!
 
Posts: 19
Location: Greenville, Augusta County, Virginia
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Shredded tree limbs absorb water like nothing else. I had the Asplundh truck dump a few loads alongside my long dirt driveway. I've been using the stuff for years. It's pretty well composted now, though, and not as absorbent as the new stuff. It's great for the bottom of the bucket, better than anything else I've used.

I've been using the bucket system for almost 15 years. One problem I had was flies. That was solved by proper covering. Once I realized the cause of the problem I covered better and no more problem... never an odor problem at all.

I pee in gallon jugs. I keep a gallon jug of pee to brush out my buckets. After brushing the bucket with the pee, I use a tiny amount of water to rid the bucket of the pee smell. I live in a place with no running water. I store my water in drums from an intermittent spring. Water is extremely precious to me. I don't waste a drop. I don't bathe or shower... ever. I don't brush my teeth. My dog licks the plates and pots clean and then, like a sissy, I pass a damp paper towel over things to remove any dog spit.

I don't use an open compost pile. I'm a lone trucker, often gone for long periods, and don't produce enough goodies at home to make a thermophilic pile. I use round 30 gallon trash cans. I have a bunch of them out back in the woods, almost 15 years worth. They don't eat anything and don't take much space. Someday after I park the truck for the last time I'll have a lot of good organic material for food production. I keep the pee out of the trash cans because if they contained too much liquid they'd be purely anaerobic. They're not now. It isn't necessary to have a lot of oxygen, as long as there is some. I've never had a methane smell escape from my stuff.

Once I shoveled a can, one that had sat there for over two years, into a new can. It was good stuff... real good... no problems at all.

I love my shit. I treat it reverently. I love my water. I treat it reverently.
 
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I live in an area where there are mostly hunting properties with no one but me living full time. Since my house was 3 bedroom 2 bath, the county decided I needed an aerobic septic system. After 5 yeas, the pump went out on that system. I decided I would not use it. I cut the drain to drain down a slope. I put in a large stock pot covered with a toilet seat. I poop into that. I am a fruitarian and the poop smells delicious, very fruity! I empty it once a day burying it in a forest of trees.

I use the standard toilet to urinate in and it empties out on the cut sewer pipe on the slope.

I hope I can get away with this system. There is supposed to be a system check with a form filled in every 3 months. I did the first one, but never did another one and I have never heard from the agency that is supposed to monitor this.
 
master pollinator
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You're probably remote enough you can get away with it, Carol. Burying the poop is probably all that's needed in your unpopulated area, and pee is basically sterile so there's no real health hazard with it going down the slope. I never liked those aerobic systems and I'm glad you're not bothering with yours anymore. When it looked like we might have to get an aerobic system, it literally made me cry!

 
Carol Grosser
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The cost of the infernal aerobic system made me cry! With it being a permanent cost in the need to pay for running a pump 24/7! I also had to be extremely careful what I put into the system, i.e., I had to maintain a pH value of neutral. I couldn't use vinegar to clean anything and certainly not the regular toilet bowl cleaners. I finally learned how to clean the toilet. I would flush the toilet with the water turned off and then dip how what I could of what water remained. Then I would use a turkey baster to get out every drop to get the extreme acidity from the vinegar to clean the bowl. Although I don't want to use toxic cleaning produces anyways, I couldn't even use vinegar or baking soda to clean in fear of changing the pH range.

Since I am a fruitarian now for health reasons, I don't think my poop has anything that is hurtful to anyone anyways long-term, like worm eggs or feedlot beef mega-germs. But buried in earth, nothing will reach any waterways because it would have to flow a very long ways downhill to get to a small water bed on its way to the Llano River many miles away. Humans survived many centuries with, I presume, burying or composting their stuff. Using fresh water to flow our poop is sheer insanity in the coming age of permanent drought for the SW US. And using electrical energy to power a pump for the aerobic bacteria to eat it is also sheer madness unless it is solar powered.
 
Tyler Ludens
master pollinator
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This might already be posted up this thread somewhere but here it is again, on the left hand side of the page is a link to a free download of the Humanure Handbook which discusses the hazards or lack of them of composted humanure: http://humanurehandbook.com/humanure_toilet.html
 
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We used a bucket system at our seasonal cabin for several years after our original homemade clivus-multrum-inspired compost toilet (which we empties only every 5-10 years!) wore out. we used peatmoss or wood shavings for covering and peed into the bucket except at night when we used a separate pee bucket which we emptied every morning diluted onto our garden. We emptied every bucket at about 3/4 full (every 3 or 4 days for 2 people) into an outdoor compost pile, which was covered with straw or hay. We never had a smell problem with the buckets but sometimes did with the pile. We used the composted pile on the garden after 2 years. I am small but did not have a problem with the bucket getting too heavy for me to handle.

But emptying and cleaning the buckets is a crappy, stinky, heavy job. Sometimes we would put it off and the bucket would get uncomfortably full (for sitting on to do your business!) We are transitioning to a barrel system, and may eventually build a two-chamber masonry system. I strongly feel that a system where you don't have to handle raw excrement is hugely preferable for all kinds of reasons, including health and the yuck factor, especially if you have guests, who may be carrying unknown diseases or pathogens. I also think an enclosed system is safer than an open pile to avoid any possibility of groundwater contamination. That being said, I love using humanure for gardening and miss it when I don't have access to that compost.

I found The Composting Toilet System Book by Del porto and Steinfeld a useful guide for homemade systems. The barrel (not bucket) system at the site jacque greenleaf linked to above looks good to me too.
 
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Thanks for this post.Now I feel like such a dope.We recently experienced a septic system break down that filled our house with raw sewage.Still trying to rebuild the bathroom,utility room,and hallway.Yep,it was that bad.So we decided to go on the bucket so to speak.We do use liners and cedar shavings.We have had a smell issue.Us boys go wee outside.Maw uses the same bucket as the solids.We always add a little covering of shavings after every potty trip.We have the stink issue.Now I believe it's due to two things; 1)urine in the waste and 2)the medications I take.Hopefully I will have my health back in order over the next year and I will be able to cut back on the meds.Hope to eliminate the need.For now,I guess I will deodorize the bathroom.
 
Eve McKie
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Ben Mosley wrote:Thanks for this post.Now I feel like such a dope.We recently experienced a septic system break down that filled our house with raw sewage.Still trying to rebuild the bathroom,utility room,and hallway.Yep,it was that bad.So we decided to go on the bucket so to speak.We do use liners and cedar shavings.We have had a smell issue.Us boys go wee outside.Maw uses the same bucket as the solids.We always add a little covering of shavings after every potty trip.We have the stink issue.Now I believe it's due to two things; 1)urine in the waste and 2)the medications I take.Hopefully I will have my health back in order over the next year and I will be able to cut back on the meds.Hope to eliminate the need.For now,I guess I will deodorize the bathroom.



No, your problem is the cedar shavings, they don't work well at all. You need sawdust. You will have no smell if you use sawdust and take out the buckets when they get about 3/4 full. We mixed urine and poo for 2 years with no smell (5 people), you are only using the wrong medium. Like I said in my previous post, the problem with urine is the weight, so take it out before it gets so heavy you hate yourself.



 
Ben Mosley
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Eve McKie wrote:

Ben Mosley wrote:Thanks for this post.Now I feel like such a dope.We recently experienced a septic system break down that filled our house with raw sewage.Still trying to rebuild the bathroom,utility room,and hallway.Yep,it was that bad.So we decided to go on the bucket so to speak.We do use liners and cedar shavings.We have had a smell issue.Us boys go wee outside.Maw uses the same bucket as the solids.We always add a little covering of shavings after every potty trip.We have the stink issue.Now I believe it's due to two things; 1)urine in the waste and 2)the medications I take.Hopefully I will have my health back in order over the next year and I will be able to cut back on the meds.Hope to eliminate the need.For now,I guess I will deodorize the bathroom.



No, your problem is the cedar shavings, they don't work well at all. You need sawdust. You will have no smell if you use sawdust and take out the buckets when they get about 3/4 full. We mixed urine and poo for 2 years with no smell (5 people), you are only using the wrong medium. Like I said in my previous post, the problem with urine is the weight, so take it out before it gets so heavy you hate yourself.





Thanks.I'll try to source shavings locally.I haven't seen them here.
 
Eve McKie
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I've only found sawdust by the yard at places that sell things like bark-o-mulch by the yard. Good luck and hope you get your septic system working again!
 
Ben Mosley
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Eve McKie wrote:

I've only found sawdust by the yard at places that sell things like bark-o-mulch by the yard. Good luck and hope you get your septic system working again!



Thanks.
 
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My wife and I use a bucket inside our 250 sf cabin for both urine and feces. We let it fill until it's full, and don't have any smell issue except when one of us is actively using it (just like in a modern bathroom). Of course, we keep the bucket contents covered with ample sawdust. We have never had to pay for sawdust. In fact, the local sawmill operators are happy to see us show up with our shovels and cans! For sourcing your sawdust, look in the yellow pages for log cabin/home fabricators, and/or sawmills.
 
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We used a system similar to Joe Jenkins bucket system. We used a 3 bucket system under a hinged bench in an outhouse. With 2-3 people using the toilet regularly I had to empty the 3 full buckets into the compost pile every 10 days or so. We used poplar sawdust from a planer from a local woodshop. There was never any smell issue. Basically we would just pee outside when we had to pee, but pee in the bucket when we crapped. This might not be possible in very urbanized areas.It is beneficial to have some pee in the bucket system, because it is absorbed by the sawdust in the bucket. The nitrogen in the pee combines with the carbon in the sawdust, which is what allows the compost heap to actually heat up to 120 degrees or more. If you separate the pee, you just have a turd here and there and a bunch of sawdust, and the pile won't heat up as much. You need the nitrogen-filled liquid (pee) to break down the humanure evenly.

In the beginning, it might take a couple weeks to get the balance right. But after that it is easy to keep the proper balance of liquid pee to sawdust in the bucket.

Happy crapping.
 
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We used a bucket syste- for three years with seven people. Then 7 yr old son dubbed it our Soilet. So thats what we call it. We didnt separate anything out and just had a heap, in the Yukon, so we had several heaps given that the heap was frozen for about 8-9 -onths per year. It was fine. We are now 6, living on the East coast, south, and waiting to get back to our land, where we will again have our soilet. I prefer it to the flush toilet we have had for the past seven -onths. Living sawdust is superior to everything else we used (when we ran out of living sawdust, of course).

 
pollinator
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Blake Allen wrote:It is beneficial to have some pee in the bucket system, because it is absorbed by the sawdust in the bucket. The nitrogen in the pee combines with the carbon in the sawdust, which is what allows the compost heap to actually heat up to 120 degrees or more. If you separate the pee, you just have a turd here and there and a bunch of sawdust, and the pile won't heat up as much. You need the nitrogen-filled liquid (pee) to break down the humanure evenly.



Gord Baird wrote:One key point, if you remove the urine from the bucket, you are removing the nitrogen from the system, and the composting process is less vigorous and the end product is nitrogen deficient (as studied at UBC Choi toilets that do separate).



There might be more about it...
http://www.eautarcie.com/en/05a.html

Urine that is not mixed to herbal materials will very quickly (few hours) change into ammonia that will oxidize into nitrates in the soil!
Apart from the size, it seems it is like spreading liquid pig manure!
If you separate urine, absolutely throw it on TOP of the compost pile, so that it mixes with cellulose.

I have also learned in this website that urine and other stuffs SEEM to do good because plants love them. But actually, it is doing the same as chemical fertilizers: it accelerate the transformation of humus. A real compost should create more humus.

I might not be good at explaining, then you can read this website, and I hope the English translation is good and the pages as complete as in French.
 
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Ernie DeVore wrote:I'm going to rant for a moment. Please forgive me. This is an uncontrollable rant and I have been known to do it in the courthouse, the middle of stores, sitting at a bar, or any place else that the topic comes up.

When a civilization treats its manure as a toxic substance, it is GOING TO DIE. A thousand years hence they will be looking at the ruins of our civilization and cast their eyes in wonder. "These people had everything! Plentiful food! Plentiful water! Marvelous machinery to do their bidding! What could have possibly wiped them out?" Then they'll bring out a porcelain toilet from the ruins of a home and gaze upon it in horror. "Those barbarians! They broke the fertility cycle!"

In my household, we have a small bench with a hole cut in it. Underneath that hole sits a 5 gallon plastic bucket. All human excrement goes in there. You put down a layer of mulch, then you do your business, then you cover it. When we notice that one of the kids (kid poo is the most nasty of all known poos, and I am a poo expert) did not cover it appropriately and it smells bad, we add more mulch and we carry out the bucket. We absolutely do not freak out if we smell poo.

We are a family of 7. We generate prodigous amounts of poo. I have a grand poo empire going on and generate about 3 cubic yards of compost this way EVERY 3 MONTHS! It is not a hardship. It is a blessing. I live in a wasteland with bad soils and this is how we intend to thrive here.

Oh, and I have a "wilderness toilet" set up out by the work areas. In a stand of mesquite and agarita bushes, where there is almost 360 degree privacy, there is a bucket with a toilet seat hanging on a broken tree branch. Visitors are generally shamed into using this the first time but afterwards everyone generally agrees that it is a superior experience. There are birds singing there, a cool shady spot with a nice breeze, flowers blooming, bees buzzing, and a great view of the western ridgeline. It is the best toilet you'll ever use.

Look, folks. I'm guessing that if you're on a permaculture site in a composting forum then you already get this ... but if you feed the soil then the soil will feed YOU. If you are at any degree confused as to what to feed your soil to sustain life, then clearly you should feed it the broken down components that are produced as a byproduct of SUSTAINING LIFE. This means poop!

Poop is life! Brown gold! Without it, we will die! I wish I had more of it. I consider it rude when I feed farm visitors and they DON'T poop in my toilet!



Good fo you, Ernie...this is exactly what Joseph Jenkins talks about in 'Humanure' and whoever wrote the other book, 'Holy Shit'. People need to get over their phobia and realize that this world is built upon waste, so you better know how to make the best of it.

Ernie, I'll bet if you'd go over to Bryan McGrath's, Prokashi.com site and study up on his Bokashi Soil Generator, start making your own Bokashi, LAB and maybe even add in some vermicomposting. In no time at all, you'd change that wasteland of bad soil into a garden paradise.
 
Sarah Mae
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Location: SE New Brunswick Canada, Zone 5a
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I think the term *waste* should only be used to indicate inefficient use. Clearly naturally-generated organic matter itself can never be waste, though it is sadly most often wasted in North America...
 
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