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Question about composting toilets and alternatives to peat  RSS feed

 
Travis Philp
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Location: ZONE 5a Lindsay Ontario Canada
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So the other house on my property has one of those prefab composting toilets with the shit chamber and electric fan. The guy who sold it to us said you HAVE to use peat but I'm skeptical. I can get the make and model number if necessary but do any of you have experience with using things other than peat in these units?
 
Charles Anacker
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Read The Humanure Handbook by Joseph Jenkins for the most complete information on composting toilets. I would suggest that you look into Coir, it is a more environmentally sustainable material that comes from coconut husks. It sells inexpensively at big box retail stores such as Home Depot as a substitute for peat moss. Perhaps it would work for your composting toilet too.
 
Jane Weeks
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Location: Southern Ontario, Canada
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I have one of the big composting units with the toilet in the bathroom & the composting chamber in the basement. I've had it for about 10 years. If I had it to do over I'd go with the two-bucket setup as explained in The Humanure Book.

I tried using the coconut fibre instead of peat. It works but you have to break it apart (not quick or easy) & add some water to it before you even begin to use it in the toilet. As these toilets entail quite a bit of work to begin with, more is not good.

Just last week, I broke down & bought more peat. Strange, the only peat anybody around here sells now is the fine stuff. For my toilet that clogs the screen--it's supposed to use the coarser peat.

All in all, my system is a pain in the you-know-what! Buckets would be much easier.
 
Dave Bennett
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I use that fine peat when I can't get softwood saw dust.  I use the 5 gallon plastic bucket in the plywood box.  They work perfect well and since I am the only one that uses it I don't have to change buckets and empty it very often.  I will say that if you pee in it make sure you use a pretty thick layer of pine saw duct in the bottom to soak it up or you will have odor problems.  If I can only find peat I pee in the yard which seems to happen in late winter. 
 
Kay Bee
Posts: 471
Location: Jackson County, OR (Zone 7)
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if you have a wooded area on your property, the crumbly rotten part of old logs should work well as a peat alternative for use in composting toilets.

We sift quite a bit from the rotten firs and oaks that are lying around in abundance on our place.  Just finished 13 more five gallon buckets yesterday for potting up our peppers in the self-watering buckets.  That makes at least 25 buckets worth from one old fir that had lain there for 10+ years.  There is an equal amount left that is still too coarse for our purpose. lin

Here is a link to our homemade rotary sifter:
http://wellheeledhills.wordpress.com/2011/03/23/rotary-sifter/

Once I get our composting toilet up and running soon, I will bring some fertility back to this and other areas we've harvested the humus from to keep the cycle turning.
 
Dave Bennett
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I live in a mobile home park.  The only property I own is in Quebec. LOL  600 miles from here.
 
Jane Weeks
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Location: Southern Ontario, Canada
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That's great, K.B.! I think your kids are going to be great assets, whatever they end up doing.
 
Charles Anacker
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Has anyone used shredded paper in their composting toilet? I use it in my compost pile as it is a carbon source like straw.
 
Jane Weeks
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Location: Southern Ontario, Canada
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chanetc: No, I haven't used shredded paper, but of course, toilet paper goes in!
 
Charles Anacker
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I was asking, while I don't have a composting toilet, I do collect urine for my compost and my garden and I shred all of my newspaper, plain paper mail and envelopes, and other misc paper to use in my compost pile. I would think that it would be a great way to get rid of the paper "waste" by giving it a second use and would eliminate the need to try to find or buy sawdust, wood chips, etc.
 
Dave Bennett
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K.B. wrote:
if you have a wooded area on your property, the crumbly rotten part of old logs should work well as a peat alternative for use in composting toilets.

We sift quite a bit from the rotten firs and oaks that are lying around in abundance on our place.  Just finished 13 more five gallon buckets yesterday for potting up our peppers in the self-watering buckets.  That makes at least 25 buckets worth from one old fir that had lain there for 10+ years.  There is an equal amount left that is still too coarse for our purpose. lin

Here is a link to our homemade rotary sifter:
http://wellheeledhills.wordpress.com/2011/03/23/rotary-sifter/

Once I get our composting toilet up and running soon, I will bring some fertility back to this and other areas we've harvested the humus from to keep the cycle turning.

That sure beats shoveling it through a flat screen.  I need to get some more hardware cloth.  Great idea.
 
ronie dee
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Location: NW MO
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K.B. wrote:
Here is a link to our homemade rotary sifter:
http://wellheeledhills.wordpress.com/2011/03/23/rotary-sifter/


Excellent KB!!

 
ronie dee
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Location: NW MO
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chanetc wrote:
Has anyone used shredded paper in their composting toilet? I use it in my compost pile as it is a carbon source like straw.


It can be used as filler. (I have a 'mounder' that likes to make a volcano in the center). I use it to level out the shitz.

If you use shredded paper as the only cover material, it soaks the smell to the top. So the paper needs covered with leaves or something to prevent the smell.

I tried mixing the leaves and paper and that don't work. So keep the regular cover material separate then use the shredded paper when you need a filler - then cover the paper with leaves.
 
Charles Anacker
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Thanks for your answer about using paper.
 
Jan Sebastian Dunkelheit
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Location: Germany/Cologne - Finland/Savonlinna
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I used ash only in our 4 chamber composting toilet in Finland. It's free and works fine to get rid of the odour - composting is slow though. We always had to dig everything out and compost it elsewhere again. We bought a chipper and now we use a mixture of wood chips + ash and it works very good in combination. The poo breaks down a lot faster.
 
Andrew Ray
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Location: Slovakia
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Jan Sebastian Dunkelheit wrote:I used ash only in our 4 chamber composting toilet in Finland. It's free and works fine to get rid of the odour - composting is slow though. We always had to dig everything out and compost it elsewhere again. We bought a chipper and now we use a mixture of wood chips + ash and it works very good in combination. The poo breaks down a lot faster.


Do you pre-mix the wood chips and ash for scooping on after a use of the toilet or add the ash sometime later?
 
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