How to make a compost toilet?
I lived in the countryside for several years without a bathroom and never really adapted to the task of rinsing the poop with clean drinking water. Plus, I've always liked to feel, that I am dealing with my own… matters, both figuratively, and literally. So when we moved into our current home, the first project on the list was to make a compost toilet.
Initially, I envisioned the installation of a double underfloor vault system with urine diverting. Even if you decide to make such modifications, the installation of this system will be costly, anyway, will be associated with destructive changes in the home. Then I read about a very simple and inexpensive system, which does not require many changes to the bathroom and takes up relatively little space. He also argues strongly and convincingly, that compost produced in a thermophilic (hot) the compost heap is safe enough, so that it can be used in a vegetable patch. Here's how it works:
There is a 20 liter bucket in a plywood box with a toilet seat. Next to it is a basket filled with sawdust, preferably hardwood. The sawdust should be slightly damp, because it filters odors more efficiently. Do your normal activities, without separating urine, add sawdust and that's it.
Believe it or not, but it doesn't smell, provided, that you'll add a good layer of wet sawdust. When the bucket is full, replace the well-fitting lid and add a new bucket. You need at least three identical containers, so two can be full, and one can be used on the fly.
Small problem: you need to empty the bucket. I realize, that for some it is quite a big problem, but it's probably not that hard, What do you think. Bucket full of sawdust does not stink, and a well-kept compost heap does not smell bad. You can quickly rinse the bucket with a hose with a high pressure tip and pour the water over the pile. Then I dry the bucket with a cloth, which goes straight to the washing machine, then sprinkle the bucket with vinegar. As a family of three, we empty two buckets at a time once a week and it only takes 10 minutes.
Composter – this is an important point, your compost heap is the key to success. A composter with an area is recommended 1,6 m2 and height 1,3 m. I recognized, that 1,1 m2 is large enough, you can further reduce the composter, if you insulate your prism. You need at least two compost bins, one is resting, and the other fills up. It also recommends a third central compartment for storing the soaking and coating material. We don't have that much space, so we use two.
After constructing the composters, place a thick substrate of organic matter, such as straw or cardboard, at the bottom of the container and start filling it. Make a pile, covered with a layer of straw or cardboard. Whenever, when you add a bucket of toilet waste, make a fork in the center of the pile (only used for this purpose), add waste, level the old waste back and cover the pile with straw.
There are a few things, you have to do, to keep your compost heap in good condition:
1. Flatten the top of your heap , thinking of a "cube" rather than a "pyramid". Reduced surface area minimizes heat loss, and the shape prevents the fresh material from rolling down to the base of the pile, where it does not heat up.
2. Bury the new material in the center of the pile, where is the hottest and don't stir or rotate the heap. Fresh material heats up quickly, and then gradually cools down, when it becomes the bottom layers. The cooler material at the base matures: it becomes more stable and is colonized by a wide variety of insects, worms, fungi and microorganisms. If we mix a prism, we disrupt this process and make it, that fresh material – to, what we really want to heat up – it will cool down.
3. Adding urine and feces. There are good arguments for separating urine, but hot compost piles need it. Without urine, they will become too dry, and the process will slow down. You also need a lot of nitrogen in your urine, to balance the carbon in the wood.
4. Cover the stockpile with straw or cardboard, this will provide some insulation, prevents odors and can help absorb excess fluid, if the poop gets too wet. Your poop should never smell: if it smells, add a little more material to cover the prism, if it still smells, add a little more.
You can also stack all kitchen waste and soft waste from the garden. After one year, start a new pile, leaving the old one for the year of puberty. When the first pile will rest for a year, will be a beautiful compost, ready to be added to the garden.