I am a fan of composting toilets of any type that compost human waste. However I have been considering the problem of waste disposal in large urban settings. How can it be done in a healthy fashion when we have to consider the bio-hazard of dealing with strangers waste. As i see it the flush toilet a part of the zeitgeist of the modern american culture of east of use. And if in a system of composting waste, in a sanitary manner, how do you deal with the lazy person or the unable who just wants to flush it all away? And as well how do you insure your neighbor who live 20 feet away from you is composting it properly in a backyard or what about apartments? This is all easier when your neighbor is five acres away and behind a bunch of trees and if they crew up a pile somehow it wont affect you. Any thoughts?
Waste treatment could be done in a much more effective method in the US. Industrial scale algae biodigesters would make fuel and fertilizer instead of spending $$$$ to dispose of the "waste"
"You must be the change you want to see in the world." "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." --Mahatma Gandhi
"Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary, use words." --Francis of Assisi.
"Family farms work when the whole family works the farm." -- Adam Klaus
Even before flush toilets, lazy people were a problem. People would toss their night waste out of upper windows and woe betide the unlucky Victorian gentleman walking on the street below!
I've been in a number of third-world countries in our modern times where people just urinate or defecate wherever they feel like. In alleys, on street corners, or in the street itself! These people don't have flush toilets and modern waste treatment, but they don't bother collecting their waste in a sanitary composting manner either.
The problem, as I see it, is one of caring. Most people simply don't care about soil fertility or proper waste disposal enough to go through the motions. There's no reason why a person living in a suburb couldn't have a composting toilet bucket set up in their bathroom beside the regular commode and use it instead, then take the bucket down to the backyard to compost it. Your neighbors don't have to know what's in the bucket or the pile if you do it right and the city government certainly isn't going to send someone to your house to stand over you while you poop to make sure you do it in the appropriate receptacle.
It's a city problem. In cities you will always find the largest concentration of people who don't care. It's not just a matter of proper education either. They simply don't care. The same resources that led you and I to the concept of renewable soil fertility and composting human manure are available to them, but they don't care enough to investigate further when the clues light up in front of them.
I'm not sure I'd even want the excrement of a million city dwellers. Have you seen what they eat? I wouldn't feed that crap to my beautiful compost piles. It's all chemicals and preservatives and probably would kill the pile, just as it's killing the city dwellers.
I am not sure that on a large scale it would work...unless it was an automated system of some sort.
It is not only a matter of caring, it is education.
Americans have gotten used to flushing whatever they want. Hypodermics to pills and ANYTHING!
And in a family with children, there is the issue of them simply not being able to understand much beyond - "go here".
I personally plan to make a tree bog on my farm. But that would not work for my disabled husband. He is on a lot of medication and I would not want all of that in a compost pile. Have there been any studies done on how medications effect compost? How long does things like insulin and antibiotics linger in the compost? I wouldn't even know who to ask?
So while it is an alternative for the non-ignorant and ecologically minded, your average druggie or pothead is still going to go in whatever alleyway is most convenient.
I have thought of the med issue as well. My thought is to let is compost hot, add worms when it is cool, then use some type on mushroom to bio digest what is left. Of course this is all theory at this point until I get my dream acreage.
While this is suburban, not necessarily urban, it is an agricultural education center and the composting toilets were approved by the large county (King County) that is also the county for Seattle: http://21acres.org/greenbuilding.
I'm not showing more info on the composting toilets than a one-line mention on that page. Took the building tour and used the toilets. They "flush" with soapy rinse, almost no water, and go down to a collector/composter in the floor below the bathrooms. I think there was a way to turn the stuff in the bins. At the time of my tour, the center had been open for a while, maybe a year, and they had yet to empty the bins.