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is this bucket system possible?

 
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I am building a recreational cabin in the woods. I would like to use a compost toilet but have a few questions to convince the wife (I am sure these might have been asked but I believe my situation - recreational - is not that common here)

This is my current plan... please crtique:
Our cabin will be used for on weekends (friday night until sunday after noon) between 2-3 times a month. I would like to build a 5 gallon bucket system with saw dust / peat. I will run a vent up the roof for the compost toilet and try my best to have a design that is sealed. Now I will be able to pee out doors as much as I can but my wife won't. Then the bucket will have poop and some pee in it. When it gets full: I thought I could just close it with a lid, add some soil and earthworms (I have a vermi compost at home and can bring some) and then let it sit in the forest closed for a year. Then after a year - just empty it in the forest. I will just rotate buckets of course.

Will this work?
Can you compost like this (closed with lid) or will I find some smelly stuff when opened after a year?
Do I need to have vents on the sitting bucket?
Any other rec's /comments?

 
pollinator
Posts: 1613
Location: northern California
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I've used a bucket system for many years. You don't want to leave the stuff in covered buckets forever....it will just sort of mummify in there and not compost, and yes, if there is a lot of pee mixed in it will smell quite vile. You want to empty the buckets regularly into a pile. There it can heat up, aerate, age, etc. for however long you think it should before use. I always line the buckets with sheets of newspaper....makes cleanup a lot easier....the paper liner just ends up in the compost with the rest of it. We also set up a separate bucket just for pee....one of sawdust, etc. outside, which is changed out when saturated and the sawdust put on the compost; and a geriatric bucket seat inside with a pail, which is taken out the compost daily. (This is for the wife's use----personally I use a plastic gallon jug.
 
Posts: 20
Location: Fort Collins, CO, E of Rockies, semi-arid, zone 5, elev. 5K ft, precip. 16 in, snowfall 54in, clay
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Alder Burns wrote: I always line the buckets with sheets of newspaper....makes cleanup a lot easier....the paper liner just ends up in the compost with the rest of it. /quote]

Alder, how do you keep the newspaper in place while the bucket is filling?

Uri,

I have seen a type of mouldering toilet that uses worms, but they use a 55gallon drum. What was explained to me was when the drum is filled, worms are dumped in, lid placed on (don't know if it was sealed), removed from toilet with fork lift and left for 1to 2 years. The bathroom used passive solar and vents to circulate air.

Here is the place (contact them about it?)
http://crmpi.org/CRMPI/Home.html

and another possibly useful site.
http://crmpi.org/CRMPI/Home.html

 
Josh Chance
Posts: 20
Location: Fort Collins, CO, E of Rockies, semi-arid, zone 5, elev. 5K ft, precip. 16 in, snowfall 54in, clay
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Here's the link for the second site
http://www.sunnyjohn.com/toiletpapers2.htm
 
Alder Burns
pollinator
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Location: northern California
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I guess it would depend on how airtight the buckets or barrels are, and how long they stayed in the vented latrine before they were taken out and covered. What you want to avoid is anaerobic composting, unless of course you are producing biogas in which case that is exactly what you want. You wouldn't want to be smoking when you open up one of those containers!!
The paper stays in place because the edge of it is folded down over the edge of the bucket. This doesn't hinder the lid from shutting down fairly tightly, not enough for an airtight seal I suppose, but that is all the better. Our buckets are in a shed outside the main house anyway.....if they were all the way inside, odor might become an issue.
I've known people who lived at places using the 55 gallon barrel system. I don't recall whether they tried to separate the pee or not. But the pee is such a valuable fertilizer in it's own right, and safe to use directly most of the time, that I think it's a waste of it not to separate it.....
 
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We have been using lovable loo toilets for years. Otherwise known as sawdust toilets. The method is wonderful for the two of us and guests are surprised how little odor there is. The compost created is amazing. I haven't perused the topic much on this site,to be fair - consider this a disclaimer as anything else I say on the subject. I'm a bit perplexed about the"peeing" issue. My wife has used our simple version of a porta potty for peeing in. It's placed where she needs it, near the bed area at night. I use a male version for really cold winter nights. We empty the pee bucket(s) every day. As I'm sure others have stated here just follow Jon Jenkins approach to handling the poop and it will take care of itself so to speak. It is such a simple low tech method I've wondered why the discussion on it is so extensive.

If one is uncomfortable handling these bodily by products I would strongly suggest reading the book Poop Culture. Maybe if we realized pooping and peeing in water as a big pollution problem people wouldn't be so adverse to more sensible approaches.
 
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Location: Edge of the World - PNW
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Since it is only for weekend use by a couple people, have you considered an inexpensive portable toilet with a detachable holding tank? Here are some examples:

http://www.centurycamping.com/toilets/

Coleman makes similar models.

You can detach the sealed holding tank with built in handles and take it home. Dump it in your regular toilet or compost it at home if you desire. Five gallon units go for about $80 at Walmart, Amazon, etc.
 
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I see no problem with a 5 gallon bucket & peat system, it doesn't smell as much as one would think. Just let the males pee outside as often as possible and everything works out great. Also, one can use finished, screened compost with good effect as a replacement for the peat/rotten sawdust.
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