Humanure - Should we? Could we? Would we?

How will oil depletion affect the way we live? What will the economic impact be? How will agriculture change? Will we thrive or merely survive?

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Keela
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Post by Keela »

Just got this one organised:

Image

So far its in the shed!
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emordnilap
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Post by emordnilap »

Keela wrote:UP DATE * UP DATE

The humanure throne is in operation........ 8)
Fair play to you.

Make sure your compost heap is not accessible to rats.
I experience pleasure and pains, and pursue goals in service of them, so I cannot reasonably deny the right of other sentient agents to do the same - Steven Pinker
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lancasterlad
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Post by lancasterlad »

Nice work. Keep us posted on the outcomes.
Lancaster Lad

Who turned the lights off?
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emordnilap
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Post by emordnilap »

Here's another way of dealing with humanure without a compost heap; it's rat-proof.
I experience pleasure and pains, and pursue goals in service of them, so I cannot reasonably deny the right of other sentient agents to do the same - Steven Pinker
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Mark
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Post by Mark »

The EU seem to be catching on......

LIFE environment funds have been applied to help increase knowledge about new sanitation technologies that can separate domestic waste elements for reuse as potential fertiliser products and biogas.

Biogas from Sanitation - Life Funding:
http://www.iema.net/news?aid=18819
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emordnilap
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Post by emordnilap »

We're thinking of going down the 'plastic dustbin' route for dealing with humanure once our current heap has been running for a year.

My understanding is that small holes are drilled in the bottom of the bin (allows worms in and excess moisture out) and then only thin layers of straw, clippings, sawdust or whatever are required as you fill the bin from the loo. They need to be sited well away from any groundwater.

They could be stood on some kind of collection device for drainage, the results of which might be useful to keep the contents of other bins moist; if this is the case, the compost will need to be 'started' with a shovel-full of older compost as the worms will not be able to migrate in through the holes.

The bins have handles which hold on the lids and assist with moving the bins; also the bins are black which helps absorb heat. The lids help prevent the contents becoming too dry. They can be marked or tagged with start and finish dates.

It somehow makes more sense than building a rat-proof heap, especially if the bins are sturdily made from recycled plastic. I think I'll e-mail Joseph Jenkins for his expert opinion.
I experience pleasure and pains, and pursue goals in service of them, so I cannot reasonably deny the right of other sentient agents to do the same - Steven Pinker
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Keela
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Post by Keela »

@emordilap - Have you been having problems with the system as outlined by Joe Jenkins?

Our pile has still not reached full temperature, but then we've only just started and probably not reached critical mass yet. It is warming up though.

I got a compost thermometer from Harrod Horticultural in the end. (Although I was rather horrified that they charged as much for delivery to N.I. as the cost of the thing itself!)

So far no problems with rodents or dogs. Although I'm thinking of some sort of cover for when it does the torrential rain thing here... I think that rather cooled the heap.
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emordnilap
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Post by emordnilap »

Keela wrote:@emordilap - Have you been having problems with the system as outlined by Joe Jenkins?
Rats were seen in our area and something had been burrowing into the heap. It's chicken-wired now and the burrowing is impossible. But no, in relation to my earlier post, we're just thinking about a tidier answer, that's all.

The pallets and straw idea is cheap and easy especially as I've discovered a neighbour with a load of straw he doesn't want; the bin idea means spending money! In an ideal, cradle-to-cradle, no growth world, I wouldn't mind as, once the recycled plastic bins deteriorate, they'd go back to be made into more bins. Sadly, we don't live in such a world.

If I can get some bins for nothing or a swap, I'm going for it. Otherwise we'll might stick to the original idea. I posted it because it may appeal to other people to run a system that way and to work it out in my head.
Keela wrote:Our pile has still not reached full temperature, but then we've only just started and probably not reached critical mass yet. It is warming up though.
Our (Fahrenheit) thermometer hasn't been below 100 degrees since about three weeks after the heap was started and is usually around 115. It's quite something to see the steam rising! It is alive with all sorts of organisms.

Who would have thought shit would be exciting? :wink:
Keela wrote:So far no problems with rodents or dogs. Although I'm thinking of some sort of cover for when it does the torrential rain thing here... I think that rather cooled the heap.
I wouldn't worry about the rain too much - more often than not we're adding water to our heap. You sort of get a 'feel' for the moisture content each time you add more, ermm, feedstock. The heap can hold a tremendous amount of water and it's best to have a water butt nearby or simply some buckets that become full of water over time.

It's also best to have a nearby stock of rainwater just to clean buckets and stuff.

A cover (old carpet is ideal but make it easy to lift off - staple a batten along its front edge, as one suggestion. I lift the carpet and throw it back using the pole with which I make the hole to take new material) is better for keeping the sun off (yes, I know, I know) and stopping it becoming too dry. You need very moist conditions without being wet.
I experience pleasure and pains, and pursue goals in service of them, so I cannot reasonably deny the right of other sentient agents to do the same - Steven Pinker
woodburner
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Post by woodburner »

emordnilap wrote: They need to be sited well away from any groundwater.
How do you do this? We are on sand, with water about 12' to 20' down.


For the sawdust cover material, I understand it shouldnt be too dry, but if it is from green wood, or it is fresh wood chips, they will start decomposing all on their own. How do you deal with this?

This looks really encouraging. I can remove the WC from the original outside loo and install a composting toilet, and not have to pay the water company who insisted on installing a meter. :D
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Keela
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Post by Keela »

We added some grass clippings to the heap and that's really got it going. Even cooked the clippings over the centre!

However we fill fewer buckets than we did the first week. I don't think all the family are participating as fully in the scheme as they could! Still, they are getting used to the idea gradually.
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Keela
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Post by Keela »

woodburner wrote:
For the sawdust cover material, I understand it shouldnt be too dry, but if it is from green wood, or it is fresh wood chips, they will start decomposing all on their own. How do you deal with this?
I gather it is almost better if the sawdust has started to decompose a bit. You really need to buy the humanure handbook!

Or you can download it from Joe Jenkin's site.
woodburner
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Post by woodburner »

I downloaded it this morning, I've only got to page 48 though. Brilliant book
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Keela
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Post by Keela »

woodburner wrote:I downloaded it this morning, I've only got to page 48 though. Brilliant book
Isn't it! I was amazed that this topic could be so entertaining and inspiring!

All proud of my heap - this morning it hit 50'C (120'F I think) Yay! 8)
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Post by emordnilap »

Keela wrote:
woodburner wrote:I downloaded it this morning, I've only got to page 48 though. Brilliant book
Isn't it! I was amazed that this topic could be so entertaining and inspiring!

All proud of my heap - this morning it hit 50'C (120'F I think) Yay! 8)
Woo hoo!
woodburner wrote:
emordnilap wrote: They need to be sited well away from any groundwater.
How do you do this? We are on sand, with water about 12' to 20' down.
Sand???? Really? That is a problem alright.

The humanure book has a few answers to that, I believe. Basically, you're have to construct some kind of liquid capture, which should be easier with bins than with a heap.
I experience pleasure and pains, and pursue goals in service of them, so I cannot reasonably deny the right of other sentient agents to do the same - Steven Pinker
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Post by woodburner »

Reading further, I don't think it's a problem with the conventional heap, only with the plastic bin.

Now I've got the model in my head, I want to get a solid ash toilet seat, but don't want to pay ££££s for it. Homebase did one, so did Plumb Center, but not any more. Any known source?
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