composting or dry toilets

Discussion in 'Permanent Shelters' started by PracticalToby, May 24, 2016.

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  1. PracticalToby

    PracticalToby Member
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    I wasn't sure which thread to post this in, butsince I'm considering building a permanent one, I've put it here, rather than under 'water', since it won;t be a water closet!

    Has anyone here actually built a composting or dry toilet from scratch using found (or mainly found) materials? I'd be intersted to know how you got on and what pitfalls you found and overcame.
     
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  2. Keith H.

    Keith H. Moderator Staff Member
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    We have two composting toilets in our house, but they are bought. I dug & installed the urine drainage system & installed the toilets.
    Up in the cottage where we lived for 20 years there is an "ash can" toilet that I made, & it is still in use & it works very well.
    Keith.
     
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  3. PracticalToby

    PracticalToby Member
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    Thanks for this Keith.
    Could you give a brief description of how your ashcan toilet was made and how it works? Is there any separation of liquids and solids, for instance?
     
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  4. lonewolf

    lonewolf Moderator Staff Member
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    all waste including human can be composted and reused.
     
  5. Keith H.

    Keith H. Moderator Staff Member
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    Good day PT. Just a simple ash can toilet in an outhouse. One bucket, in this case I think it is an old large paint bucket. We line it with newspapers each time. I made a bench & cut a hole in it & added a toilet seat. Under this I placed the newspaper lined bucket. Ashes from the fire are kept in another bucket & the ashes are sprinkled in the toilet after each use. When the toilet bucket is full, we take it out & bury it in a "toilet hole" in the garden. We usually dig a large hole to take many buckets. When this hole is full, it is covered with the earth that came out of it & it is left to break down. Dig another "toilet hole" & repeat. Great for the garden.
    Keith.
     
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  6. joshposh

    joshposh Expert Member
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    It is great fertilizers as I have seen people remove brown water from their indoor plumbing and our it directly to a pipe that it goes straight to a soil 2 feet or 2 more under their garden. But I was thinking about actually using our waste as cooking fuel by making a methane collection system. But that's for another thread.
     
  7. Arboreal

    Arboreal Active Member
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    As people have pointed out in another thread, in some climates and places access to water can e a problem, especially in summer. I think it's another advantage of dry toilet, you don't want your water to literally go to shit if it's expensive.
     
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  8. joshposh

    joshposh Expert Member
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    If you can handle the smell, I think your urine should be able to keep it moist for the time being. Just collect it in a bucket and dump it into the collection pipe. I drink almost a gallon of water a day. Half of that can keep the bottom of a bucket moist.
     
  9. PracticalToby

    PracticalToby Member
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    Thank you very much for your responses. The bulk of opinion seems to be that it is urine that smells, so separating urine and faeces seems sensible, where possible. I think I might float away if i tried to drink as much water as you do Joshposh!!
     
  10. Tom Williams

    Tom Williams Moderator Staff Member
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    I have a old camping toilet made by coleman its a nice handy little thing the camper we have has a full bathroom in it and the house has a septic system ive read on these dry composting toilets but never used in a pinch a 5gal bucket make a nice one id line it with a bag and bury the bag after each use
     
  11. joshposh

    joshposh Expert Member
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    Just because I drink a gallon of water a day doesn't it drains out in the same amount. Most of it will go to lubricating your bones and other bodily functions. Not all of it will get drained out from the hose.
     
  12. PriscillaKing

    PriscillaKing Expert Member
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    The Sun-Mar dry toilet is a wonderful thing. It reduces weeds, waste paper, all sorts of things to peaty-looking stuff...since Dad had the foresight to install it beside a southwest-facing window, it will process *one* person's bodywastes on solar power alone, without being plugged in. For two people, it needs electricity; for more than three, the company used to recommend getting another toilet.

    To supplement or substitute for the Sun-Mar toilet we've improvised something like Keith's system. It works. Once it dries out and ignites, dung burns like coal.

    I share Arboreal's concerns about water. Traditionally people who lived in the mountains dumped everything into the sparkling stream below *their* spring and made polite noises about what a pity it was when their townsfolk got typhoid and other diseases. Do that now, and any fellow survivors who aren't with you would feel justified in killing you. Water-flush toilets are out.

    Burying the nasty stuff in bags works for a while, but humans and other large animals put out a lot. If you don't burn before burying you might be surprised how fast a pit can fill up and become a hill.
     
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  13. LastOutlaw

    LastOutlaw Master Survivalist
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    Hi Keith, I have a dry system like this in my cabin. I also have an old style outhouse but the girls for some reason didn't like to use it especially at night in the winter. I built a two hole dry system like yours with 5 gallon buckets next to my shower which is in a corner of the back utility room where the battery bank sits and tools and such. Because there is an abundance of leaves and pine needles at my place it is simply lined with that which worked fine. A bag of cedar wood chips is kept close to put a shovel full over any waste when the toilets are used. The only thing I want to work around is the smell that lingers in the room when someone uses it. It really isn't coming from the waste in the buckets but lingers in the room like a bathroom with no exhaust vent. Because the place is off grid I really didn't want to install an electric exhaust vent there so I'm looking for ideas on what to use instead. I've thought of installing a draft tube from inside the toilet box up through the ceiling but as I said I think the odor is simply room smell. A can of air freshener is there to use but not really good enough. Any ideas?
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2019
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  14. Keith H.

    Keith H. Moderator Staff Member
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    We installed composting toilets in our main house. I connected a flexible pipe to some larger PVC down pipe which goes round to the end of the house & up to the apex of the roof. There I attached a whirlybird/wind driven extractor. You of course can do the same but attach it to the box rather than the bucket itself. Certainly worth a try mate.
    d3d07fc8c3c1bbef4beba9f6926a3899.jpeg
    Here you can see the pipe going across the back of the house then up to the roof supported by two large shelf brackets with a timber layed across to attach the pipe.
    Keith.
     

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