We recently got a book from the library called "The Humanure
Handbook, by J.C. Jenkins and found it one of the most informative, comprehensive
books on the topic of composting human "manure". We had never considered
such an option and were totally ignorant of the subject even though it has
been a common practice in other countries, such as China for centuries.
The book is a very scientific presentation, complete with
cartoons and information galore. In our particular lifestyle, we think it
makes perfect sense to do this and it is very earth friendly, humble and
self-reliant. We love it! We'll never have to deal with expensive septic
systems and stopped up toilets and plumbing problems again, we'll have some
compost as a bonus, and we aren’t flushing a toilet and wasting water, "defecating
into clean drinking water", as Mr. Jenkins says.
You start with about 1/2 gallon of rotted sawdust (or peat moss) in the bottom of the bucket. Everything goes in the bucket...feces, urine, toilet paper, even the cardboard tubes. Every time someone uses it, they sprinkle a generous scoop of sawdust or peat moss over it all. You can use it until it is full and it doesn't smell, we promise.
You then empty the bucket onto a compost pile, where you cover it with any kind of carbonaceous material, such as weeds, leaves, etc. This keeps the flies away and the smell down. If you do notice a smell, you just put on more cover material. You also add kitchen scraps and other composting materials available.
This pile will heat up because it has everything it needs
to "cook". The combination of the poop, the urine (nitrogen), the sawdust
(or peat) and the carbonaceous material all work together. You let this pile
sit for one year, in addition to the year it took to build it. Then you start
a second pile. So, initially, it takes two years to get to use the first
pile. Thereafter, you have safe, finished compost once a year.
If you have any questions, e-mail us and we will be happy
to answer them if we can.
excellent plans for compost bins made with free pallets are to be found at