Composting Toilet

expensive composting toiletSelf-contained composting toilets are gaining popularity very quickly as a much cheaper and more sustainable solution to human waste management than a septic field or a sewer hookup.

Commercial composting toilets are very expensive, up to $20,000 for a unit powerful enough for an entire family. Good news though, there are clever ways to compost human manure much cheaper.

One of the best known ways of processing your own human waste is the humanure system, which is laid out in great detail in the Humanure Handbook, an absolutely excellent manual that I highly recommend to anyone interested in taking their personal nutrient cycle into their own hands.

The humanure system uses simple five gallon buckets, lots of sawdust, and outdoor pallet compost bins to create a safe, healthy, odour-free system of human waste processing. Waste is deposited in a five gallon bucket (I would highly recommend lining the bucket with newspaper before-hand) and covered with sawdust after the deposit has been made. Once the bucket is full, it is carried outside to the pallet composters and dumped to allow to compost for at least a year.


Left: Simple five gallon bucket toilet. This one comes with enzyme packets which will presumably aid in the composting speed of human waste.

See more information on this particular toilet system.

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6 thoughts on “Composting Toilet

  1. So basically, this is just an alternative method to get rid of human waste without water? Interesting but what will be the end result? I mean, can humanure be used for fertilization of our garden or farming? If so, is it better than cow manure?

    • Yes, composting needs no water, or at most needs far less water than a sewage or septic system. The end result is compost, which is a completely different substance from human faeces. You could safely roll around in finished compost.

      Humanure is used extensively in the far east for farming, where it is called “night soil.” In fact, human waste is so valuable in Vietnam that neighbors will compete with each other to make the most beautiful outhouse to attract passers-by.

      My source for these statements is The Humanure Handbook, mentioned above.

  2. Especially if you use sawdust inocculated with effective microorganisms (a la, bokashi composting) you just seal the bucket for some weeks, then bury the contents in the ground. Let sit for a couple more weeks, and you’re good to go on planting

  3. My question is how/where would one allow the shit to sit for a year if they are living in an apartment/city without any land?


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