Human waste shouldn't be fertilizer?

// // 49 Comments
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Hershey-Squirts sent in an article that claims that human waste is bad for humans when used as fertilizer. I've been doing a lot of reading about the history of toilets lately, and I felt it was important to comment.



First of all, if you read the article, you see that the trouble comes from fertilizer blowing in the wind, not from the actual effects of the fertilizer on the crops. So I think its important to point out that human compost (or Humanure, as an article we've published describes it) is not being implicated as unhealthy. I just finished a book about the history of the toilet, and as far as I can tell, whenever poop has been converted into fertilizer, the benefit to the crops have been substatial.



So I don't want this report to lead to a rush to judgement against the use of Humanure. PoopReport supports the recycling of poop, which is an important way to cut down on waste in landfills and wherever else they stick it. But this report makes good points -- we need to find ways to make the fertilizer stay on the ground, and keep the poop from blowing in the wind.

49 Comments on "Human waste shouldn't be fertilizer?"

healthy 1's picture
j 1000+ points
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My opinoin is. First we need to become a chemical free society. The amount of chemicals that find their way into the sewer systems is mind boggling. Next, human waste is safest when it is themphilically (I likley spelled it wrong)composted. The heat kills the pathogens. optimal temperatures are 131F to 170F.

I have been composting my excrement since mid 2005, with no ill effects. The Hunzas compost their humanure. Hunzas are known to be one of the longest lived people on the planet.
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It's not nice to fool mother nature.

"Two percent of the population think; three percent of the population think they think, and 95 percent of the population would rather die than think."

GottaGoGirl's picture
i 2000+ points
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I rather think that the Hunzas are long-lived because of what goes INTO them, rather than what comes OUT of them, though.

healthy 1's picture
j 1000+ points
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That is true but, have you ever heard of the life cycle. Plants pull nutrients out of the soil. Everytime a crop is hauled out, the soil looses nutrients. If those nutrients are not replaced, the soil become nutrient deficient, and the food grown in the soil also is less nutritious, leading to nutritional deficiency diseases. There are 84 essential minerals in our soil and about 20 vitamins. Plants can make vitamins but, cannot make minerals, the minerals have to be in our soil.

Hman excrement is very rich in minerals. When humanure is decomposed and returned to the soil, the nutrients are returned to the soil as well. When these nutrients are constantly added back in, the life cycle goes on like a wheel. The plants always have the right amount of nutrients therefore, the food is not nutrient deficient, leading to reduced nutritional deficiency diseases in the people who eat this food.

In America, we only add three nutrients into our crops. Nitrogen, Phosporous, and Potassium. We are literally flushing the other 81 minerals into the sewer, along with our health.
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It's not nice to fool mother nature.

"Two percent of the population think; three percent of the population think they think, and 95 percent of the population would rather die than think."

Bird's picture
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Unfortunately we've become so 'civilized' that we are losing touch with nature. We take food from the earth and ingest and digest it and of course our bodies "naturally" want to return back to earth the deficit. Poop is good if treated properly and returned to earth in the right way. Unfortunately we Americans are a very ignorant lot. The earth is where all our food comes from. Let's give back to the earth what we took from it. Even the highly processed foods have their origin from the earth. We just messed them up... Hamburgers and fries etc.

healthy 1's picture
j 1000+ points
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In composting humanure, there is a right way, and a wrong way. We can't just throw our hands in the air and conclude that human waste is dangerous to use as a fertilizer.

Look at it like this, there is a right way and a wrong way to cook chicken or can foods. If chicken is cooked the wrong way, the result is salmonella. If food is not properly canned, botulism is the result. We don't throw our hands in the air and conclude that chicken and canned foods are dangerous. Why humanure then?

We spread cow, pig, and horse manure though. These animals are all mammals, just like us, so what is the difference?

I think that it is the fact that as children we were all taught to think of poop as a gross and dangerous monster, that must be banished from the earth and is virtually of no use.

Human excrement will kill and spread disease if it is mixed into a water supply, improperly composted, or used as night soil (raw).
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"-55F, a new record low? Nope, thermometer went bad. Looks like -50F still stands"

"Two percent of the population think; three percent of the population think they think, and 95 percent of the population would rather die than think."

Deja Poo's picture
Comment Quality Moderatorj 1000+ points
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Very interesting, H1. You've obviously spent some time thinking about this. How do you propose that we go about this? Should we (1) shit in a pile of leaves and wait until it breaks down, or (2) shit in a hole, throw in the seeds and then fill it up?

Yo quiero Taco Bell.

healthy 1's picture
j 1000+ points
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Lol Deja Poo.

I feel that the sewage plants should adopt a safe system of composting sewage.

My system utilizes a flush toilet/motorized and heated underground composting unit. I still flush everything down a toilet. But instead of everything going to the sewage plant where the solids are incinerated and pollute the air, and the treated water is dumped into a nearby river causing massive fishkills, my waste simply is collected in an underground box. Grass, leaves, and kitchen waste is added. Temperatures are kept at 131F of higher. This system works surprisingly well.

Some Mid Western communities are composting humanure on an industrial scale. Most of it is used to fertilize fruit trees.
_______
"-55F, a new record low? Nope, thermometer went bad. Looks like -50F still stands"

"Two percent of the population think; three percent of the population think they think, and 95 percent of the population would rather die than think."

poop scoop's picture
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my neighbors have a raised garden area over there septic tank which on occasion bubbles up to the surface of this garden but not necessarily when they have vegetables in it . They gave us some veggies out of this garden and I'm not sure if they are safe to eat. Ant comments??

Gilbert Woolley's picture
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From when I was born in 1924 to 1945 I ate fruit and vegetables fertised by composted human waste. Our house had no sewer. The waste (shit)was mixed with bonfire ash. My father dug a two spade depth trench filled it with leaves and plants with compost on the top. Potatoes were planted on the compost, and covered with soil drom the next row. For other plants the compost was covered by soil for a few inches and the seeds planted. The roots soon penetrated into the compost.

I am almost 84 snd have always been very healthy all my life.

prarie doggin's picture
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Human sewage has been composted on an industrial scale for a long time now. Because of lingering fears, most of it is used in commercial applications such as golf courses and plant nurseries. One of the first sewage authorities to market the waste was the city of Milwaukee. Their product (Milorganite) is widely used today. Other authorities have also gotten into production, but I believe Milwaukee claims to have the best due in part to the amounts of waste products coming from the brewerys that enters the sewer system.

love the coward's picture
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I have been wishing to enter composting on an industrial scale of Human sewage a long time now to get a source of affordable fertilizer for our farmers, and to cut down drastically the polluting of our streams, oceans as we normally dump these wastes in into the water ways and sea in Africa. any Idea on how to go about it?
Thanks.

don't know's picture
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I am trying to find out how to simply and safely turn my own poop into fertilizer for my own garden. I'm not very scientific (so please no intricate stuff - just the laymans version)...i just want to know how to do it easily.
Can someone please point me towards some simple instructions? A website?
Thanks

ChiefThunderbutt's picture
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don't know.......Go to the following website and you might find some useful information.

http://www.greenlivingtips.com/articles/234/1/Composting-human-waste.html


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Eat chilies and feel the burn!!

How long a minute is depends on what side of the bathroom door you're on!

MSG's picture
Comment Quality Moderatori 2000+ points
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I read somewhere long ago that human poop is not good fertilizer because of the additives that we eat. We ingest so many extra chemicals that go right through and end up in our b.m.'s that adding all that to the soil would be a problem. I have trouble believing that; certainly in my own case, I eat lots of fresh veggies, fresh-baked bread, etc., and I can't imagine much extra chemical being in there. In any case, if my digestive juices break down the food, they should break down most of the chemicals, too. I say, if you have it and can incorporate it into the soil safely, do it. (I don't think crapping directly into the soil is good, though; too many bacteria are still there and can contaminate what you plant. The manure has to be composted, which kills the bacteria.)

Russell's picture
l 100+ points
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PoopScoop you might want to ask Dave if the vegetables are safe.
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Russell the shitting queen

Russell the shitting queen

ChiefThunderbutt's picture
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I should like to add to this discussion that I lived in Japan for eight years back in the days when untreated poop was commonly used as a fertilizer. I lived mostly on the Japanese economy and totally spurned the military advice to eschew the local produce because it was grown with untreated human waste. I recall the healthiest period of my adult life and the fact that most of the Japanese I met in my daily life were exceptional specimens of good health.
There are probably dangers involved in eating veggies produced this way but I can't help but think they are probably blown out of proportion.


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Eat chilies and feel the burn!!

How long a minute is depends on what side of the bathroom door you're on!

ralph rosporski's picture
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i remember asking my dad when i was younger about using our own poop and he said something like that the japs used it and i think he said something like you will get the chitters but not real sure if it was chitters or something sounding like that.

ChiefThunderbutt's picture
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Well now ralph rosporski.....First of all the average Japanese likes being called a Jap about as much as you enjoy being called a bohunk or a dumb Polack. The more acceptable term to use is 'Japanese' or 'Niponese'. Now that the formalities are out of the way human waste is an acceptable fertilizer once it has been composted.

I ,personally, will not worry about contracting the 'chitters' until I know what they are.

PS: My Japanese wife is pissed off at you.


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Eat chilies and feel the burn!!

How long a minute is depends on what side of the bathroom door you're on!

ChiliKahKah's picture
j 1000+ points
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Beacause some people have crappy dispositons and others are full of crap and because a few do not give a crap while others have shit for brains, we simply should not consider all humans as being a good source for fertilizer.

realripsnorter's picture
m 1+ points - Newb
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Yeah, that was me until I had an eyeondectomy, thats where they cut that cord between your eyes and your asshole that give you such a shitty outlook on life- since then,it's all good! As for fertilizing the soil, do ya think that mother nature is really that sophisticated that it can determine between human shit, dog shit, ape shit, pope shit etc. when selecting adequate nutrients?? Asses to asses, turds to turds.

It's O.K., We just have to smell it; He's got to sit in it!

Blind Mullet's picture
k 500+ points
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RRS, you mention the eyeondectomy.
I've heard that referred to as an "optrectomy". Its a delicate operation that severs the nerve that joins the eyes to the arsehole.
This is one that I would whole-heartedly recommend to many of Sydney's rail transport employees.
(Obscure? Not from my perspective).
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The white zone is for loading and unloading only- FZ.

The white zone is for loading and unloading only- FZ.

Blind Mullet's picture
k 500+ points
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On a different note, I am currently working on understanding how septic systems work. I've just moved house to a place that does not have the sewer connected, and has a septic system. It has a main tank, underground, which dribbles into another tank (also underground) further down the back yard. This second tank might be some kind of grease-trap or something; I'll have to do some research.
I've noticed that the grass grows very green in this village, so I think theres something to be said on the benefits of humanure.
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The white zone is for loading and unloading only- FZ.

The white zone is for loading and unloading only- FZ.

Shits On Tomatoes's picture
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This link might help some of you make up your minds.

ChiefThunderbutt's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatorf 5000+ points
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Shits On Tomatoes has a link to a book on composting, posted directly above, that will give you the straight poop. You can read the book online for free.


_______
Eat chilies and feel the burn!!

How long a minute is depends on what side of the bathroom door you're on!

Health Guy's picture
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The most prominant problem with the use of human waste as fertilizer is that the present known processess of filtering and treating human waste DO NOT remove pharmasuiticals. Many people both flush unused drugs and urinate them on a daily basis. Heat alone does not nuetralize the drugs. therefore we will be transfering these drugs into out food. bad idea..

ChiefThunderbutt's picture
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Health Guy.....Water purification plants also do nor remove these drugs...we are already drinking them so we might as well eat them too.


_______
Eat chilies and feel the burn!!

How long a minute is depends on what side of the bathroom door you're on!

richard higgins's picture
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Hi Folks
Seen your questions on proper composting of human effluent.
Oddly enough the book by Mr Jenkins 'Humanure'
a very wide selling title does NOT give the fastest or safest way to compost human effluent. Whuile I was in the States I called him up to tell him this. '....Sorry Mr. Jenkins.....'

If we want to save our food source from being depleted as many of you mention please keep watching this site as we will shortly be able to give you the link to our new Web Page which will be released very soon.

Or in the mean time you can write to me. We are about to launch a seminar facility in London for this which is aimed at raising interest for Jobs in the industry in Africa and other countries as we wake up the world to where our nutrition is going.

We currently have orders for 3,000 sustainable homes and 60,000 toilets.
Our system originates from the Albert Howard works on THE LOST SCIENCE OF ORGANIC CULTIVATION. This title is available from me priced at $30.00 including postage. I am setting up a pay pal account to make it easy for you guys.

Also One writer said please tell me the easy way to deal with human waste. Other than shitting in the woods and covering it up you can't. The composting has to be done properly. That is what this book is all about. It is easy when you know how, but it is not for idiots or people who don't know what a toilet is.

Richard Higgins. email: rhigginsdg2@yahoo.co.uk
World leading technology on how to compost obnoxious wastes for use as fertilizer for food plants. The system will be known as the HOWARD-HIGGINS system.

realripsnorter's picture
m 1+ points - Newb
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How is it that it's O.K. for all the other species of inhabitants on this planet, shitting in the woods, and covering it up (or whatever their particular behaviour may be) works as "natural"; but when it's human waste, it needs to be "done properly"??
Beings have been shitting and contributing to the natural "organics" of our world since the beginning.
All of the things that are created are a product of this natural evolution; the real issue is that it is in an imbalanced state. Too much of it is human (overpopulated), and at the same time, many species disappearing and becoming extinct (a result of human interference)- I suppose we could create a new world economy based on remanufacturing our waste, but this time, lets not choose things like gold and silver to back our currency; lets use something more in abundance such as Dandelions!

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It's O.K., We just have to smell it; He's got to sit in it!

It's O.K., We just have to smell it; He's got to sit in it!

Fred's picture
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The idea of using a ready and inexpensive source for fertilizer would be great, especially in this time of economical crisis. Worm casting and Horse Manure, is getting pretty pricey. Plus the adding of other nutrients is kind of tedious. Nearly 85 minerals and three of which we add consistently are in the waste that we flush away. Why not save that hassle of re adding of these nutrients and use a source of which they are already available. And besides , apparently "Humanure" has been used for centuries with no ill side effects, except longevity.

ChiefThunderbutt's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatorf 5000+ points
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I must agree with Fred.....We can't be protected from virtually every possibility of disease in the world. Just like taking controversial medicines, the benefits must be weighed against the risks. When I lived in Japan they were still fertilizing crops with uncomposted human waste, they still looked healthy and had longer life expectancies than we did.


_______
Eat chilies and feel the burn!!

How long a minute is depends on what side of the bathroom door you're on!

Outer House's picture
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It's not the enemy. Both piss and poop will work with fantastic results in your lawn and garden. As long as you are not on chemotheraoy or ingesting phamacuticals that contain trace elements of toxic chemicals (ask your doctor)there is no reason you can't start a whole new regimine. You may still want to use your toilet from time to time both for convienience and to keep your plumbing from rusting up. Collect your droppings in a pail with a quart of water, ashes from that last bbq or bon fire, & a small (tbsp) of lime. Dump it into a small trough or hole in the ground near the area you like to work the land. Add soil and other composting nutrients like leaves and grass trimings. If your lawn is looking weak, add some 50/50 (sand to mixture as earlier described) and spread it on a 10' x10' test area so it adds 1/4" of Top Shoile. Water it in with a light sprikling and wait 3 days. If that zone is way greener and growing big-time, you are on to it. Work the pp thing into your citrus and pepper plants. Works well with tomatoes too. Just add water at 3 or 4 x the amount of wizz you caught in a jar. I use rain water...(free). Use a plastic cup to wizz in if you are prone to dropping glass items. It takes a little practice to get good at this stuff, but you can "do" it. It's free, it's a "Green" compliant action, and it will save you a bunch of water down the drain. As for tp, use as little as possible, compost friendly types are better than the kind that are hard to dissolve. Test a few sheets in a pail of water to see if they dissolve within a minute of soaking, followed by a stirring action with a stick. If they break up into little paper fragments, you have the right stuff. Once you get a feel of how much area to commit to this activity, it gets faily easy to take care of business and "do" some gardening while you're at it. Happy Harvests!

MSG's picture
Comment Quality Moderatori 2000+ points
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I have thought many times of using my own poop as fertilizer; have done it only very rarely. I wonder: does used toilet paper burn well? I think it might; just put it in a burn barrel (where and when it's legal to burn, of course) and see what happens. Burning sould surely kill any bacteria left on the paper.

Jack Schitt's picture
Comment Quality Moderatorl 100+ points
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It's amazing to me how plants and animals depend on each other. We eat plants that produce oxygen for us to breathe. Then we exhale the co2 that they breathe, and shit out the nutrients that they need. Talk about 'circle of life'.

Blind Mullet's picture
k 500+ points
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Well, since my last post here, I've learned a bit about the septic system and the grease trap idea.
The runoff pipe from the grease trap is busted/blocked, so the previous owners were pumping it out down the yard.
Turns out the water from the shower and the kitchen sink and the washing machine all empty into the grease trap. Anywhere I move the pumpout hose to, that area turns greener than where it hasn't been. There must be something good in that water...
_______
The white zone is for loading and unloading only- FZ.

The white zone is for loading and unloading only- FZ.

ChiefThunderbutt's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatorf 5000+ points
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BM.....Most soap contains phosphates which are very good fertilizers. When I lived in the country I had a drain going from my washing machine to the portion of my garden where I grew tomatoes. It was strictly illegal but you should have seen the tomatoes I grew.


_______
Eat chilies and feel the burn!!

How long a minute is depends on what side of the bathroom door you're on!

Anonymous-Like-Everyone-Else's picture
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Human poop MAY be ok, but the problem with large scale human fertilization is that the "fertilizer" comes from big city systems and contain a lot of other stuff (including hypodermic needles, condoms, etc). Also, with the average American diet the way it is, there is no telling what is contained in other people's poop!!

sittingpretty's picture
Comment Quality Moderatori 2000+ points
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Pansies would be pretty growing out of the toilet tank. I think that I would end up making a big mess and a toilet that won't flush. Cute idea though.
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...And their flesh like dung. Zeph. 1:17

...And their flesh like dung. Zeph. 1:17

Matt6's picture
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Me and my family and my parents and grandparents have all composted our own poop and urine for our whole lives. They're both loaded with nitrogen, absolutely loaded. Poop is also full of everything else you need along with everything you don't get in synthetic fertilizers. We do compost it though along with other organic waste such as food scraps, bones, paper, cardboard, wood. I suggest people read the Humanure book. It's on amazon.com and other sites. I think you can even read it online for free. But once you start following their directions you can have the most amazing garden. Then people will ask "how do you do it" and you just say "I use a lot of shit"

ChiliKahKah's picture
j 1000+ points
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Givent the high Rx content in human feces, the sales motto should be plants need prozac too.

1sickpuppy's picture
m 1+ points - Newb
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I have always heard that human feces, as well as dogs feces are to acidic to be used as fertilizer, our PH is much higher. An easy at home experiment you can do is get 1 pile of your own poop, 1 pile of your dogs shit,( if you don't own a dog, get some from a neighbor ) then get a pile of commercial compost, then put equal amounts of the 3 specimens on your lawn. Now let them sit there for one week, on the eighth day remove the experimental piles of poop, if it is brown and dead, IMHO i would say " this crap is not going to be used as fertilizer on my plants ", if it is green then it must be some good shit ! Now a little off the subject, I know people who grow that "Sticky Bud", and they swear by chicken and Bat shit as the best fertilizer.

ChiefThunderbutt's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatorf 5000+ points
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Close, but no cigar sickpuppy. Any kind of un-composted shit will burn your lawn, not because it is acidic but because the nitrogen content is just too high before it has mellowed out in a compost pile. Fresh chicken shit is probably the worst offender and you can easily kill nitrogen fixing plants like legumes by fertilizing them even moderately with fresh poultry poop. Another reason to compost that poop is that the pathogens that are present in most types of poop are generally killed by the heat generated in the composting process.


_______
Eat chilies and feel the burn!!

How long a minute is depends on what side of the bathroom door you're on!

squat's picture
0
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I have a vegetable garden and have been fertilizing my plants with my own waste. Let me tell you they feel great! This way I "program" them with my body information and in return they provide me with the exact nutrients I need.

In fact, I have a lemon tree in a big pot that never blossomed or fruited for 5 years. I changed the soil, pruned it - nothing helped.
This year I got the insight that I can use my own poop like homeopathy - create a feedback with the plant, give certain nutrients it needs. So... I buried 2-3 of my poops in the pot, and guess what -- this spring for the first time ever it blossomed in full glory and later set at least 10 lemons.

4th world country's picture
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Yes, isn't it so true. The grass is always greener above the sceptic tank. Ought tell us something.
This blog has been very informative. Considering all the above....what do our fellow 3rd and 4th world countries have to gain from our conversation? Or are they actually ahead of us in this respect....anybody know?

1sickpuppy's picture
m 1+ points - Newb
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Well I stand corrected !

Eco man's picture
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Composting Humanure in the States is not viewed well because of irrational fears of past disease episodes. Cholera killed a lot of folks on the Oregon Trail due to animals and humans using (and defecating in!) the same waterholes. Modernly, Floods in the third world contaminate drinking water in similar fashion. This has gotten Humanure a bad rap but since our pets and domestic animals carry a good assortment of parasites/diseases in their droppings, we are exposed to these pathogens anyway!
Feachem et al., 1980 is a widely quoted authority on pathogen life spans in soil and is what Jenkins quotes for his justification in hot composting Humanure. No doubt his system works well and if you were worried about it you could accomplish total kill by just heating up your "honey bucket" to sub-boiling temps and then just throw it out on top of the ground if you liked, no worries. I was interested in third world applications, so I wrote a paper using the same source: Feachem et al., 1980, to demonstrate that merely (shallowly) burying the substance in question for from 3 months to 1 1/2 years (depending on soil conditions) gets rid of even the most resistant pathogens/parasites of which Round Worm ova are amongst the toughest (again domestic animals are rich in these!). If you have a bit of ground you can "cold compost" your leavings by use of a "trailing Johnny", a light weight John over a shallow ditch. Again, don't be a burying manure too deep as you need the life zone near the surface to supply all those nice soil bacteria, rotifers, temperature etc. to discombobulate the nasties which work they will enjoy doing in short order. Don't dig the trench over a foot deep and protect from being washed out or dug up by Fido if you are worried about it. If you want to make double sure you get all the parasites don't dig into the deposits for the max. 1 1/2 years. Plant on top of it or beside it (no root crops the first year) and let the vegetation's own membrane filtering system work it out in the short term.
I go with the cold composting idea in most situations simply because of societal inhibitions about handling such “organics”. Not a problem for us farm boys but my wife won’t even go there! The trailing “Johnny” eliminates the need to handle excrement at all which in the end might make this the most workable (mental) solution for many but no getting around it, there is still a bit of work to dig the ditch!. I have a bucket in a woodshed I use myself and will hand bury it in the garden as described. Really you can’t even find where it was the next year except the vegetation will be more luxuriant there of course!
Here is a piece from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/ahistoryoftheworld/objects/GU_P_QwlR1KuayjoaqJa1A
Follow the above link for more including pictures of the Moule Earth Closet, a neat idea. Not nearly as stinky as an old fashioned privy although I’m thinking just a little ventilation would be handy for in-house applications. Using a bit of dirt after each use absorbs liquids and odors as well as begins the breakdown process immediately (aero bically, not under liquid which is rather “ammoniacal” and generally very smelly). This concept can be used on a very basic level, homemade without a lot of cost.
The writer at the previous mentioned site (^^) says:
“Before I leave off with this discussion, I need to tell about the Rev Henry Moule who used Humanure composting in 1859.
Moule patented his earth closet in 1873. They were sold by the Army and Navy Stores and cost about 30 shillings. In 1859, the Reverend Henry Moule of Fordington invented the first composting toilet after deciding that his family's cesspit had become intolerable.
Moule discovered that dry earth, mixed with human waste, produced clean compost in just a few weeks. A religious man, Moule disapproved of the Water Closet. He felt it polluted God's rivers and seas and was a waste of God's nutrients contained in excrement, which should be returned to the soil. In 1873 Moule took out a patent on his design for a mechanical earth closet, which allowed human manure to be saved for return to the soil, without the owner having to endure the stink of the average privy.
Dry earth or peat is put into the hopper at the back of the seat and a removable bucket placed below. When the handle is pulled, a small quantity of earth is spread on top of the human waste to reduce the smell and help it to decay. When the bucket is full the contents are dug into the garden. “
Here is more from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Moule : “During the cholera epidemics of 1849 and 1854 his exertions were unwearied. Impressed by the insalubrity (unwholesomeness) of the houses, he turned his attention to sanitary science, and invented what is called the dry earth system. In partnership with James Bannehr, he took out a patent for the process May 1860). Among his works bearing on the subject were: ‘The Advantages of the Dry Earth System,’ 1868; ‘The Impossibility overcome: or the Inoffensive, Safe, and Economical Disposal of the Refuse of Towns and Villages,’ 1870; ‘The Dry Earth System,’ 1871; ‘Town Refuse, the Remedy for Local Taxation,’ 1872, and ‘National Health and Wealth promoted by the general adoption of the Dry Earth System,’ 1873. His system was adopted in private houses, in rural districts, in military camps, in many hospitals, and extensively in India.”

So now there we are! In this so called “Green era” what could be more “Green”!
I have written an unpublished short paper (and in Spanish as well) on the subject so if you want more contact the moderator for his protocol in getting my email.

ChiefThunderbutt's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatorf 5000+ points
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Great post Eco man.

Anyone interested in more info from Eco man just click on my profile, click on contact, and I will sent the email.


_______
Dirty old men need love too!!

How long a minute is depends on what side of the bathroom door you're on!

PooForThePlanet's picture
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Wonderful to see so many people enthused about making good use of poop. You all obviously have shit on the brain 24-7. lovethecoward, I'm working in Taiwan on a similar project myself, I'll post a website URL here shortly (still a work in progress) so keep an eye out if you're interested in joining in the poopfest.

Several other commenters noted the presence of chemicals in human poo and this is indeed a major reason why it's not composted more often - although of course dumping it in the nearest river is hardly a civilised solution. A lot of the chemicals we put into our bodies are not biodegradable (or degrade into different poisons) and they can actually accumulate in the soil over many years of humanure application. It only works properly when the manure providers are eating a healthy and (mostly) chemical-free diet.

Our project involves building affordable housing estates (called "communities" here in Asia because they include a lot of amenities) on degraded land, and providing employment in land regeneration and agroforestry. The land provides food and bulk biomass to drive the composting process. The people provide the poo. Elegant, no?

Oh .. and one more point. Humanure is ALREADY being used as fertiliser all over the world, but in completely unintended ways. What do you think happens to that poo once it gets flushed out into the river? All the nutrients (most of them from pee, actually) become bioavailable and feed unwanted growth (algae) or growth that we never see, out in the middle of nowhere. What a waste. Phosphorus, especially, is a declining resource. Human waste MUST be composted and recycled. As the great and psychotic Maggie Thatcher noted, There Is No Alternative.

Halopa's picture
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Garbage in garbage out! While I can't disagree with the benefits of using humanure, I feel it must be stated that the average American diet is laden with so many chemicals from processed foods as well as heavy doses of cheap supplements and medications that are not digested and pass right through our systems. As an example,one of my neighbors is on eight separate medications, and I would not want to fertilize my garden with her poop. I know for a fact when medications enter the environment they lead to such things as three legged frogs and such. However, if I and my family eat whole foods from the land and avoid the use of allopathic medications I would have no problem using my our own humanure.

al cameron's picture
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Don't like medical waste dumped (mixed with lime next to my water supply) need more controls put on the dumping. Some piles have sat in tractor trailer loads for two years.