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Does charcoal take away the pee smell?  RSS feed

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I am wondering if it would be a good idea to have a bucket with some charcoal to pee in and if it would take longer before it starts to smell? Or does it start smelling after a few hours like usual? Right now I am just peeing all over the farm, but it is not as comfortable for female guests to do this since there are often neighbors around. So I am thinking about having a more stationary solution, like this I could make biochar at the same time.
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Location: Ladakh, Indian Himalayas at 10,500 feet, zone 5
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I don't know about charcoal, but I tried a pee bucket with sawdust & woodshavings one winter, and with autumn leaves another winter. I hoped they'd absorb the moisture and make a nice C/N ratio, but instead the liquid pooled up and went anaerobic, making a bad methane smell. But that was after a couple of months. If you're going to empty the container promptly, I think charcoal would probably absorb the smell. Sawdust/woodshavings might be available cheaper and in greater volumes, and they also absorb the smell if used in large enough volumes, but then I guess you have to compost them somewhere, whereas charcoal could go straight into soil as biochar.
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Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
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I have no experience with charcoal, but I can say that biochar works to keep the smell down. I happen to make biochar for my garden beds, as part of my soil making efforts. Not a lot, but about a five gallin bucketful every week or so. When I make a fresh supply of biochar, hubby uses that bucket as a pee bucket. We do keep the bucket outdoor on the back porch, but I don't notice a bad smell from it. The contents usually get added to a compost pile once a week.

I've noticed that the finer the biochar, the better it works for the pee bucket. So I smash it a bit to make pieces one inch or smaller. Nothing complex, I just put the fresh biochar into the bucket and give it some pounding with what's handy.....usually a sledge hammer or a wood 3" diameter pole.

One thing I noticed......if I let the pee reach the top of the biochar, then there is odor. It's best to keep a good layer of biochar above the pee level.
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