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Composting toilets at an off-grid resort in the tropics - are we getting it right?  RSS feed

 
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Hi all,
We're building an off-grid beach resort for budget travellers in Central Sulawesi, northern Indonesia. And yes, it's right where the Earthquake and Tsunami were, but we're fine and the project continues.
Each of our bungalows will feature a composting toilet. As we're still in the build stage we need to make sure we get the design for the toilets right, and the process for using the organic matter correct, from the beginning.
Currently we have a simple 'bucket-in-a-box with a seat on top' system set up as a trial. We have a urine diverted installed, and use mostly sawdust for to cover each deposit. We figure that paying guests would prefer this kind of system to one where you poo into a large container which takes months to fill and takes up more space.
How are we doing so far?

Then, to recycle the contents of the buckets, we plan to leave them in the hot equatorial sun to dry out for a couple of months. Then, we have built 1.5m3 composting boxes. We will layer up with plenty of browns and greens and bacterial activators, leaving a 'nest' in the middle for a few buckets of the dried toilet material. We'll then Close it all up, ensure that thermophillic composting is taking place and that the inside of the pile is nice and hot for a while, then start turning.

Are we going down the right path here? Realistically for how long should the humanure be left in the compost pile before turning/ using the compost to ensure all of the pathogens are dead?

Right now we're only producing a couple of buckets of poo each month as it's just the owners, craftsmen and volunteers on site. But when guests start arriving we will have much more, so we need to get these systems correct from the beginning.

Any advice very much appreciated!

Thanks
 
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Location: Planet Earth, Europe, Upper Silesia
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Ian Bishop wrote:Then, to recycle the contents of the buckets, we plan to leave them in the hot equatorial sun to dry out for a couple of months. Then, we have built 1.5m3 composting boxes. We will layer up with plenty of browns and greens and bacterial activators, leaving a 'nest' in the middle for a few buckets of the dried toilet material. We'll then Close it all up, ensure that thermophillic composting is taking place and that the inside of the pile is nice and hot for a while, then start turning.



With the above way you are NOT going to create amiable conditions for composting.

DO NOT: Dry the deposit  .
             close bucket.
             add activators
             turn the pile

DO: add the bucket deposit to  a compost bin  with a plenty of ventilating (air providing) chinks and wrap the construction with a chicken wire to keep animals away.
      read the Joe Jenkins book (available online for free)
 
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Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
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Please get hold of a copy of "The Humanure Handbook" - you can get a free pdf version online.

I have use the system in that book exactly as described for months at a time at home, and have also used it for hosting large outdoor camping events (60 people for a week). He does not recommend using urine diverters. The urea in the urine, when soaked into your sawdust, makes an excellent C/N balance, and your compost will very quickly get very hot. Without the urine it tends to not get so hot, and you will struggle to reach sterilization temperatures.
 
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If the boxes aren't closed on top, provide roofs over the compost boxes. Torrential rains cools the composting too much.
 
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