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humanure in the tropics?  RSS feed

 
rod iron
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Greetings in the name of Yeshua. Has anyone experience with Humanure? Specifically, I plan to use this process in a tropical environment, where it rains often. I would like to get advice about the compost pile.

Should it be covered to prevent rain from affecting it?

Lastly, I am troubled beyond nightmares about the issue of toilet paper. I have heard that regular toilet papr like say Scotts, will bio-degrade into the compost, but I am having a hard time accepting that. I keep imagining streams of toilet paper drifting from the pile, in the wind, for aeons? Thanks.


Joe
 
Bill McGee
Posts: 185
Location: Southeastern Connecticut, USA
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Hello Joe,

I have only 7 months experience now with humanure composting. I'm in a temperate
climate with 40+ inches of rain yearly. (so no tropical experience)

I don't have my pile covered and it doesn't seem to be an issue. A 1" - 2" rain will cool the pile but it comes roaring back. I don't see evidence of leachate escapinng. When I started the pile I built a dirt/clay bowl on the bottom, then added leaves/grass ~ 18" as a biologic sponge. I have more issues with the compost getting dry and thats with daily additions of food scraps and rinsing containers.


Joe Jenkins, the writer of the Humanure handbook does have a roof over his piles. Have you seen his youtube videos, website, read the handbook?

I use a spray bottle to wet toilet paper at the bucket toilet then scoop on biomass. I barely see evidence when I dump the fresh buckets. I also add on junk mail/paper towels that have been soaking in water on top of the weekly emptied 5 gal buckets. They seem to be decomping. I am generous with the top cover (I don't want to see or smell paper, egg shells or veggie scraps.

I'll find out in 2 years when I open the pile to use it how the paper did. (my climate is a 2 year cycle- the tropics may be faster)

Good luck
 
Rebecca Norman
gardener
Posts: 1274
Location: Ladakh, Indian Himalayas at 10,500 feet, zone 5
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food preservation greening the desert solar trees
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Don't worry, any brand of toilet paper will decompose perfectly. We use newspaper and random brands of toilet paper, and it all disappears completely as long as it is buried in the pile. In my experience at a school with composting toilets for dozens of people coming from different countries as well as local, even the cotton from menstrual pads decomposes: we find the plastic liners without any residual cotton after a year. As for tampons, not even a blue string has ever been seen in the compost. I have found pieces of elastic from clothing where the cotton has disappeared.

However, I threw some torn burlap sacks and burlap flooring down a couple of years ago and we pulled it out from the bottom the other day, black and soggy but not gone. So we put it back in the bottom to be buried for another 2 years. I hope that will do the trick.

Also disposable hand-wipes, I think might have plastic fibres in them and not decompose.
 
Creighton Samuiels
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Humanre open air composting is an arobic process. (requires oxygen) All paper made from wood stock contains some lignin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lignin) which cannot be decomposed in any fashion without oxygen. This is part of the reason that a septic system must be pumped out every few years. Any kind of natural fibers should biodegrade in a compost pile eventually. The burlap sacks mentioned earlier are probably of the more modern mixed fiber type, which is part polyester. The natural fibers are probably already gone in that cloth.
 
Rebecca Norman
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Posts: 1274
Location: Ladakh, Indian Himalayas at 10,500 feet, zone 5
128
food preservation greening the desert solar trees
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I didn't know lignin needs aerobic composting. Thanks. Maybe the sacks, which I'm sure are the cheapest roughest Indian jute, went anaerobic because we put them at the bottom of an empty chamber, which eventually reached 6 or 7 feet high over the course of a year, before we closed off the hole above it and switched over to its neighbor chamber. The bottom of the tall chambers sometimes goes anaerobic and yucky, and the sacks were in that. The other stuff in there probably lost its form before the stack got high enough to squeeze out all the air, but maybe the sacks needed more air-time.

It also occurs to me that sometimes we start the chamber with 3 or 4 feet of dry autumn leaves, and two years later they are recognisable and not very decomposed when we empty the chamber. But we empty these chambers into a trench right outside, and leave the stuff for a few more months, and by then the leaves disappear completely. I guess they get enough air in the removal process to finish the job.
 
Erich Sysak
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I put red wigglers from my worm bin into the cisterns last year and they are all about 1/3 as full as before and 1 meter deep with vermicast.
 
M Foti
Posts: 171
Location: western n.c.
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Not really into humanure, but have you considered RV toilet paper? Also, I had an experience camping where I had some cheapest of the cheap dollar store TP and ants completely demolished an entire roll in about 3 hours, every bit of it was gone. No real experience with it composting here, but thought that might help
 
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