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Wood chip bucket toilet

 
Thomas warren
Posts: 67
Location: Yakima County, E WA
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Couldn't find a better category but here goes.
Been looking into humanure for a while, have been pissing in a bottle for years.
What about filling a bucket with 5ish inches of chips, and then throwing in a handful after each usage, and when it gets full or maybe smells then dump it in the pile and start again?
Maybe throw water or something at certain times.
Has this been tried cuz it seems like such a reasonable way to do things unless there's something i am unaware of.
 
Ron Helwig
Posts: 121
Location: New Hampshire
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forest garden hugelkultur tiny house
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I've been using wood shavings for a couple years. It isn't bad, but there are a few things to keep in mind.

First, it takes a little more to cover it enough to reduce the smell. That means emptying the bucket more often that you would when using a finer cover material like sawdust. If you're talking using wood chips like from a chipper then you'd probably have to use so much that you'd end up emptying the bucket every third use or so.

Second, you want to keep it dry. It stinks more when it is wet, so no adding water. [Unless you mean in the pile, but assuming the pile is outdoors it should get enough moisture from the weather/elements.]

I used to add shavings to the bottom of an empty bucket but have started using a small layer of sand (we have a lot) for the initial bottom cover. That gives me an additional use or two before it is too full.

I also have a nice spot for dumping the buckets where if it takes 20 years to turn to soil, we don't care.
 
Jason Silberschneider
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The crucial aspect is absorbency, and the key to absorbency is surface area. The smaller the size of the cover material, the more effective it is at soaking up moisture and odours.

This is why sawdust is so amazing at doing this job. Tiny particles of wood soak up a large amount of moisture and odour. A little goes a long way. For various reasons I recently changed from using sawdust to mushroom compost. And I've noticed that I'm using more mushroom compost to do the same job as a smaller amount of sawdust, due to mushroom compost being larger particles with smaller total surface area.

Wood chips I imagine would perform this job more poorly. They are better suited to covering the humanure contents once they're dumped in their final position completely absorbed into their cover material.
 
Jason Silberschneider
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Just pipped me at the post, Ron!
 
Cristo Balete
Posts: 428
Location: In the woods, West Coast USA
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You'll never be able to stop the smell with wood chips. And wood chips can take years to break down, so they are too slow to get the contents broken down fast. The contents are great composting material so you want it out as usable compost ASAP.

I use mowed weeds, green or brown. I store them in a waste basket, maybe a 2 gallon size, so they won't get moldy. Cover generously solid deposits. I keep urine separate, that way there's never any sludge. Urine can be used in the garden immediately. I compost the solids and mowed weeds outside in a separate composter, adding even more weeds and keeping the pile moist and covered, but not soggy.

There's always the issue of flies and gnats, so the main thing is to keep plenty of fly strips on hand.
 
Wyatt Barnes
Posts: 310
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I will second Cristo's advice although I prefer the Joe Jenkins method, all in, kitchen scraps, garden weeds included. If you have easy access to wood chips try composting them by themselves long term or try them in a hugelkulture setting. Definitely read The Humanure Handbook, it is available to be read free online although I bought one because I like to have a book in my hands. I am about to pass the two year mark of having only a sawdust toilet and I can honestly say that the book has been correct 100 percent of the time for expectations and results.
 
Cristo Balete
Posts: 428
Location: In the woods, West Coast USA
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I'll bet the wood ash helps with the flies and gnats.

Why do you dry the coffee grounds? Couldn't they go in when damp?
 
M. A. Carey
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Cristo Balete wrote:I'll bet the wood ash helps with the flies and gnats.

Why do you dry the coffee grounds? Couldn't they go in when damp?


Hello Cristo. Yes, it is wood along with the trash we burn, probably 50/50, and I had read that wood ash really is best for keeping down odors and insects.

The reason I let the coffee grounds dry is that I had read somewhere a long time ago that coffee grounds were good for composting toilets, but I also read to keep the additive contents as dry as possible. The coffee filter is under the grounds so once the grounds are dry, I then rub the filter a bit to get the rest of residual grounds off and then fold into a triangle, cut vertically almost to the top, and then cut horizontally with scissors to make small pieces out of it. That all goes in the same container with the dry grounds.
 
Wyatt Barnes
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I dry coffee grounds and tea bags on a plate on my kitchen counter to use as cover material. If I don't dry them they clump up to the point of being useless. I add my dried grounds into the crock sawdust supply next to the toilet rather than using them directly.
 
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