Thursday, July 28, 2016

Composting Toilet

What? Here's how this connects to my current situation. But first a bit of history. 
For more than a decade now I have been using a composting system popularized by the book "Humanure Handbook" which is a very low tech and inexpensive way to deal with human excrement. It is simply a bucket system that gets dumped into a dedicated compost pile and is monitored closely to ensure high temperatures are achieved in order to minimize any chance of transmitting disease, etc. This system is incredibly effective and uses no water, other than rinsing out the bucket after dumping the contents. The downsides for me have been finding appropriate sawdust as the cover material (no redwood or eucalyptus allowed) and the effort involved in dumping heavy buckets when the pile gets very high. Like it is now. 

Over the past couple of years I've been looking at commercial composting toilets, aware that at some future point I might not want to be handling heavy buckets.  Most of them are large, use lots of electricity for fans and heating elements and some even use water for flushing. Nothing I would want to get into, especially since my current system uses no water or electricity. 
A while back I came across this system which was originally designed for marine environments. It's small, uses no water and only a minuscule amount of electricity, to run a small computer fan. It is a urine separator, which means the liquids and solids are kept away from each other. This greatly reduces smells and it's way easier to empty a small container of pee than a 5 gallon bucket of mixed materials and cover material.  The main chamber only gets dumped about every month. Or so I'm guessing since I haven't had to dump it yet.
(Update---I empty the lower tank about once every week, or two. Depending on how much I am home🤓.) 

After coming home from my hike I just decided to suck it up and order the above mentioned commercial composting toilet. I realized I wouldn't be able to climb up high to be able to dump those heavy buckets for quite a while at least. It was time. 
In box

Unfortunately I need to do a small remodel in my bathroom before can set it up inside so I've installed it outside on my screened porch until I'm able to set it up inside. It's actually quite nice!

So that's the story of Shelly's Hike and the CompostToilet.  

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