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Sawdust toilets?

Posted by MountainMan_BC z6 Canada (My Page) on
Thu, Oct 27, 05 at 0:26

Anyone using a sawdust toilet? I have a couple questions.
What do you use for a seat if you are just using a pail?
What do you do for disposal in winter, where the ground freezes?
Thanks.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Sawdust toilets?

Do a google search for Humanure Handbook which should answer all questions if you haven't found it already, I think your compost pile is on top of ground and doesn't freeze but I defer to the experts


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RE: Sawdust toilets?

Found it, great source of info! Thanks for that.


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RE: Sawdust toilets?

Mountain Man,
I've read the Humanure Hand book and personaly know some folks that have used it for years. They compost the waste by using a compost bin make out of pallets and layering the waste with about 4" of straw between layers. After about 2 years of "resting", you're going to have some of the richest compost ever concieved to put on your garden. Once you have one compost bin filled, build another one and start over. It's a great way to use another of "Nature's gifts", and not letting it go to "waste". Gray Bear


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RE: Sawdust toilets?

Yeah- I have an organic farm and I think humanure would be banned for veggies, though I really need to look into it.
Until I'm all set up for composting I have dug a big hole (size of a cow) where it can be placed until the hole fills up, then covered with soil, and a new hole dug. This is way out back in the bush.
These things are best not left for neighbours to see, even it if is safe/effective/practical.


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RE: Sawdust toilets?

Mountain Man,

I can't remember whether the Humanure Handbook or site talks about a seat for a pail, but I found one that fits a 5 gallon bucket. I went to Lowe's or Walmart (something similar, can't remember where) and carried one of their buckets to the plumbing section and just tried fitting them on the top of the bucket. I found several at varying prices that fit perfectly.

We haven't used it yet, but since we are on a well, the plumbing doesn't work when the power goes out. I got it for "emergencies", and have a bag of Feline Pine cat litter stored with it. The litter is just compressed sawdust or something like that which is supposed to be biodegradeable. It looks like sawdust when it gets wet. We don't have an easy source of sawdust or soil to use with the bucket, and the litter is easy to store for us.

Kay


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RE: Sawdust toilets?

My family and I have been using a sawdust toilet for over a year now. We filled up the first bin (four 120cm pallets lined with cardboard) in almost exactly a year (I scratched at the surface of it recently, and it looked like spaghetti- there were so many worms!). Now it is mellowing while we are filling bin number two. I made that one one cubic meter, and I am going to see how long it takes to fill it to the top, and how much it shrinks in the one year mellowing period.

About the seat, if you adjust the bumpers on the bottom of a standard toilet seat you buy at the hardware store, it will fit over a five gallon bucket. I followed the directions in the handbook and made a nice lift off cabinet for the downstairs, and a hinged top for the upstairs. It looks fine, works great.

If you aren't able to use the compost commercially (even though you should be able to in my opinion), you can definitely have the nicest personal flowers, herb, and vegetable garden anyone has ever seen.

I never worry about the neighbors. If they ask what I am doing, I can just tell the truth- I'm just adding to my compost pile. And come next Sept. 1, I am looking forward to digging into about a cubic meter of weed free compost.

Good luck with the plan Mountain Man!
Eric in Japan


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RE: Sawdust toilets?

Thanks both of you for your experiences.
Pallets sound like the perfect bins! Good size and free. That's also what I figured I'd tell the neighbours... it;s for the compost.
And trying out different seats to fit the bucket. That's perfect and easy enough. I did read about moving the tabs over too so we'll see soon enough.


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RE: Sawdust toilets?

Mountain Man,
You shouldn't have to worry about using the compost on your vegg garden. After it has set and decomposed for 1-2 years and the worms have had their way with it, all of the harmful bacteria should be gone. It's only the "Fresh" product that you should have to worry about putting on the garden. That is why they have so much of a problem in Mexico. They don't compost it, they just spread it without giving nature time to do it's thing. I've known folks from all over the U.S. that have used the composting method for years and not had a bit of trouble with it.
So far as the seat goes, the best one I've seen was at a friend's house. They built a platform and attached the seat to the top, placed a door in the front and kept it inclosed until it was time to empty the bucket. They kept a bucket of fresh sawdust with a scoop next to the platform to cover the fresh. It was a lot more stable than just trying to set on a bucket, and a lot more pleasing to the eye.
My friends had their compost pile within 20' of the house, and on the warmest day,(and we have some warm days here in Tennessee), you couldn't smell a thing! They had three bins going at one time. The key is to have straw on hand to spread between the layers to allow the air to flow and keep the heat out of the compost pile, thus reducing the odor and increasing the decomposition rate.
Hope you have good luck with your endovers. Gray Bear


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RE: Sawdust toilets?

I'm going that same route. I'm running the electric now in the house. I plan on capturing all of the water as grey water (no toliet making black water). I now have the buckets just need to build a surround and get a seat. I too plan on a three section pile.
Oh and I think swimming pool buckets rock if you can find them. Thats the powder used to 'shock' the water. The lids screw on and must be air tight as it keeps the smell of the chemicals in.
Mike


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RE: Sawdust toilets?

Some friends of mine have one in their 24' yurt. Not having a lot of extra space, the bucket lives behind a privacy screen. Most times the screen is actually folded back and there's the bucket. They decided to just cut a hole in the bucket lid, then put a second lid over that to close it when not in use. That way, a visitor unfamiliar with the setup only sees a random white five gallon bucket, rather than a toilet in the living space.

Dan


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RE: Sawdust toilets?

Hi,
There is a yahoo group that is dedicated to the subject of compost toilets. They discuss different styles for various needs, methods, and trouble shooting. It's a slow group because of the limited number of people that are interested in the technology but, it is informative. You can find links there, as well as a wealth of info in the archived messages. If you'd like I'll send the link, or post it here, if that is permissible.


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RE: Sawdust toilets?

OzarkMtMan - Please post the link here. I think it belongs in this discussion. Even though some of us have not posted about it, it doesn't mean we're not interested in learning more.


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RE: Sawdust toilets?

Here ya' go:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/compost-toilet

I hope this is helpful.


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RE: Sawdust toilets?

We live in arid west tx and recently erected a sawdust toilet . we love it. we fortunatly have a pallett factory close by for free sawdust but leaves, petemoss,grass works just as well .sometimes ash in a pinch.Go to humanure.com has alot of info .we wouldnt trade it for the world . so many ideas and patterns available on the net and library .


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RE: Sawdust toilets?

Thanks for the links! I found the humanure website recently and it really has it all. And I'm going to become a member of that yahoo group too- that's hilarious!!! But it's also a great.
If anyone wants to go the easy route- here's what I found. It's a toilet seat that actually snaps on to any 5 gallon pail! It was $9.99 Canadian. It's called "Luggable Loo". With a snap down seat cover. It's isn't heaven but it's good enough for the price.
I found it at a camping store (name I forget) in Calgary Alberta, though there are a bunch on ebay too. I typed it into the search on yahoo.


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