Tag Archives: humanure composting

Holy Crap! My Very Own Compost Toilet.

After nearly a month of simply having a 5 gallon bucket and some sawdust, I finally built my own proper compost toilet!

It cost me a total of about $20 and two hours of work to get it done…well worth it.  This lives in my basement, but I brought it outside to snap a well-lit photo in front of its “sewer system” (the compost pile).

I simply followed the instructions in Joseph Jenkins’ Humanure Handbook …I strongly suggest picking this up.  Even if you have no interest in humanure composting, it’s still a very critical read for learning the history of human waste and how we’ve broken the human nutrient cycle.

For the fecophobes out there: read about thermal kill times and how compost has been used to fully bioremediate contaminated lands of compounds as harsh as TNT.  I’m not worried about pathogens.  My pile is going to be actively added to for about a year.  Then I’m going to let it sit for a year while I build a second one for a year.

Therefore, my compost pile breaks down and cures for a span of two years.  This is plenty of time for nature to do what it has done for zillions of years.

Anyway, more updates to come.  This has been really fun and I have had some serious reflections thus far on the process and its benefits to the Earth.

FAQ(v): Is odor a concern when composting livestock mortalities?

FAQ(v): Is odor a concern when composting livestock mortalities?


I was wondering if anyone on the ol’ Youtube would cover animal carcasses in compost piles.

While brief, it really is that simple- if you’re composting carcasses or other potentially smelly stuff like humanure, just add brown materials until it doesn’t smell.

In this video he mentions 18 to 24″ of material on top of the carcasses, so I’m guessing this is a pretty huge pile of carcasses!

I’m curious if their technique was inspired by the Humanure Handbook or not…the bin they show later in the video looks just like a Jenkins-style bin.


Adding Humanure Compost to A Garden (video)

Adding Humanure Compost to A Garden

Jenkins adds material to one compost bin for a year, then switches to the second bin for year two.  At the end of year two, the contents of the first bin are ready to use for gardening.  Pathogens are not present.

It’s pretty awesome that he’s been doing this for 30+ years with no issues at all…safe to say he knows what he’s talking about!

Humanure Compost Toilets at a Music Festival

Humanure Compost Toilets at a Music Festival

The commentary on this one is unanimous: Compost toilets worked wonderfully, even at a 500 person music festival.  I wonder what to do when you have a festival somewhere that doesn’t have a spot for a compost pile nearby…perhaps a pile that stays on a flatbed?

Compost toilets don’t smell.  Use sawdust.  It masks the smell best, and it smells good as it is.

Compost toilets don’t use nasty chemicals like what is found in your typical porta-potty.

There’s little to no bugs.  After several days of using porta-potties, the smell and amount of bugs is pretty nasty.

This video was five years ago…I wonder how many other events have taken on this system… if this doesn’t sell you on how great humanure composting is, I don’t know what will.

Compost Toilet System (video)

Compost Toilet System

In the spirit of humanure composting, I started looking at other videos on Youtube besides those created by the master Joseph Jenkins to see what’s happening.

After reading Humanure Handbook twice, it was interesting to see this system in place and wonder where they adapted it from.

My main question is simply why they go to all the trouble of having dozens of buckets sitting around with small quantities of material in them when they could just build two 5’x5’x5′ compost bins and do it that way instead.  Either way, composting is composting and it’s great to see this going on.

Also, regarding their compost toilet, she mentions the only odors being from when there’s too much urine…this can simply be solved by adding more cover materials.

I started humanure composting recently, and my main challenge has simply been collecting enough cover materials (sawdust, specifically).  Once I can get a good sawdust hookup, I can finally devote myself entirely instead of every once in a while.  Unless you have a good supply of cover materials, the process will not work.

I’ve even started feeling funny when I use the toilet now… I’ve been viewing each dump as an opportunity lost, so I know I’m hooked!  After only adding one 5 gallon bucket’s worth of humanure to my compost pile, the temperature shot up to just shy of 130 degrees within a few days and stayed there, which is simply awesome.

By the way, if you haven’t read Humanure Handbook it will truly throw your head for a spin, which is always needed.  The first chapter is super heavy and a great reality check, and the best is how thoroughly researched it is to back it up.  It’s right up there with Rubbish! as being my all-time favorite book for sure.  I guess I should write a full-on book review to really hit it home how essential this book is…