Lisa Shipek

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since Feb 04, 2015
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Recent posts by Lisa Shipek

Hi Alexander,

I'm glad you were able to visit WMG's Living Lab & Learning Center! The 5 gallon bucket system is the cheapest and easiest CT system to build. Catlow and I used one at home for two years. However, I greatly prefer the 55 gallon drum CTs for ease of composting and convenience.

Here is a comparison of 5 gal to 55 gal:

Cost: 5 gal is best, but 55 gal is still much less expensive than a commercial variety
Composting Management: 55 gal is much easier because it is easy to turn the pile with a compost crank and the large bin keeps more consistent moisture
Routine Cleaning: 55 gal is much easier, because you only have to clean the seat. You have to clean the 5 gal bucket every time you empty it (my husband hated doing this!). And with urine in the bucket and can get really stinky.
Urine Diversion: 55 gal is much easier to set up a set urine diversion within the toilet system. You can then directly use the urine in the landscape - to fully utilize its nitrogen content. When urine is mixed with everything else in the 5 gal bucket system, you loose it's fertilizer potential.

We turn around finished compost in 4 months with the 55 gallon drum CT.

You can definitely install CTs in your house. Catlow's Dad has a 5 gallon bucket CT system indoors and we just built an indoor 55 gallon drum CT in our indoor bathroom this winter. We built a wooden box that contains the large barrel. Fortunately, we built this toilet while remodeling our bathroom, and we had our contractor build the vent and urine diversion piping into the walls, so they are not exposed. Our urine diversion pipe taps into our kitchen resource drain to irrigate and fertilize a pomegranate and mesquite tree. We will just have two barrels for the indoor toilet, and the aging barrel will be stored outside. We'll be sharing photos through our website soon!

5 years ago
Hi Greg,

If you have the space for 15+ 5 gallon buckets (15-20 liter), I think you might be better off with a 55 gallon batch system, like the one Watershed Management Group promotes. If only 1 or 2 people are using it, you can probably manage with just 2 units. The urine diversion will be the real problem with this, since you can't direct this outside, so I agree with Catlow that a commercial system that evaporates the urine will be better for urine management.

In regards to finding a good place to use the compost, are there any urban farms nearby that would want it for their trees? You would definitely want to find a location that wants to accept your humanure.
5 years ago
Thanks for asking this question - it is topic that gets very little attention in composting toilet resources. In fact, having looked for information on this topic, I haven't found any significant resources. So I will share my personal experience:

For the 55 gallon barrel composting toilet batch system at my home, I have a separate trash can for feminine hygiene products. I would like to start experimenting with adding cotton tampons and pads, to see if they will break down in a 4 month composting cycle. But I have not tried this yet. I would not add any products that have plastic parts.

For the 55 gallon barrel composting toilet at Watershed Management Group's office, we ask that all feminine hygiene products are put in a separate trash can. I would not encourage composting these products in a public setting because people will likely throw in unwanted materials such as plastic. Our staff also take turns cleaning the composting toilet and aerating the composting toilets, so I think its more comfortable for everyone to keep feminine hygiene products out of the toilet.

I would like to hear if anyone has experience composting cotton feminine hygiene products where they completely break-down in the composting cycle.
5 years ago