SMALL COMPOSTING AREA

The International Compost Sanitation Forum and Message Board: Humanure Composting Around the World: SMALL COMPOSTING AREA
Author: Sharon Planet
Tuesday, October 04, 2005 - 2:34 pm
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Hi, everyone~~~
After reading your book, Joe, I was gung ho to try the composting toilet. However, I have a very small garden in an urban setting in Portland, Oregon, and a small compost pile slightly bigger than a 33 gallon garbage can. My, um, output is embarrassingly large and would have me emptying the 5 gal bucket every 2-3 days which may overwhelm the compost bin.

Does anyone else have this problem? Has anyone had a pile get hot enough with a smaller area?

Right now, Iím just composting urine. Can that be used in a year?

I really love the whole idea of not wasting a resource and helping the environment. Thanks!

Another Planet

Author: Stephen
Friday, October 07, 2005 - 10:29 am
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You surely would need a larger bin.
How many people would be using your bucket or is just you?

Author: Sharon Planet
Saturday, October 15, 2005 - 12:13 pm
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Hi, Stephen,

I thought I responded to your msg but not sure now. I'm using the Earth Machine now to compost urine. It holds 80 ga or 10 cu ft. I would like to compost poop, too, but just don't know if it is big enough for thermophilic activity.

Do you know if adding urine will cause thermophilic activity even in such a small area?

It's only me willing to do this in the household.

Author: TCLynx
Sunday, January 01, 2006 - 8:30 pm
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Do you have room to add and 55 gal trash can size composter (easy enough to build yourself)? This might not be big enough but there was one appartment dwellwer who posted about how they managed to do this indoors thought it doesn't sound like you need to go that far.

Author: vigdis
Saturday, February 25, 2006 - 10:46 am
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Dear Mr. Jenkins,

I just finished reading the brand-new translation of your book to Hebrew, and I found it to be one of the greatest books I ever read, and a real inspiration.

I first encountered the idea of compost toilet at Christopher Alexander's book, A Pattern Language (see http://www.ahartman.com/apl/patterns/apl178.htm ) but did not like all those commercial systems I found on the net. Yours is by far the simplest and best.

I am about to build our house, but I don't know how to solve the problem of not enough yard for a three chamber compost pile.

We will have a tiny lot, with no back yard at all. In the small front yard I want a vegetable garden and some play space for the kids.

However, we will have some space inside the house, on a concrete foundation, next to a large play-room. That means I will not be able to build large concrete chambers under the basement, as I read that other people did. I will have to use barrels of some kind (such as big garbage cans).

My questions are, how can this be done?

* How many big garbage cans would I need for all the organic stuff of a family of 4 plus humanure from 1-4 (currently I am the only one who will use the sawdust toilet. DH is completely against it, but they may join me with time)? How quickly would they fill?

* How big should these cans be?

* Can I leave them open? BTW we live in a hot and humid climate, similar to South California or South Carolina. Do I need to create some sort of venting, since the compost will not be in touch with much air, like it is on an outdoor pile?

* What can be done with the problem of no access to the ground - meaning, draining problems and lack of small creatures?

Sorry for the very long question, but I would really appreciate any input you can give me on this. I can't be the only one who wants to do this in a limited space with very little access to a yard.

I have several more questions, which I hope you will kindly answer:
2. Did you ever have guests who refused to use your sawdust toilet?

3. The sawdust toilet seems perfect for sitting, but what about guys who pee standing up? Don't they have to lift the lid up and pee directly into the bucket? (when you sit, it's like a regular toilet, but when you stand and pee into a bucket it might be too "extreme" for some people, no?) Is there no problem of "missing" or splashing? (which happens often in a water toilet...)

4. Is there any system for Grey water for small lots and houses who don't have enough ground for the pools system?

Thank you again for your wonderful book, and thank you in advance for any answer.

Author: Joe Jenkins
Saturday, February 25, 2006 - 10:18 pm
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Hi Viqdis,

I'm actually in Outer Mongolia right now trying to establsh humanure composting education, training and single family systems. Your questions are good regarding using smaller containers as compost bins. I don't know the answers, but I'm hoping that the people who are experimenting with these alternatives will keep us informed of their progress on this message board. Smaller containers such as barrells or garbage cans could conceivably work. However, I also think that such containers would be perfect for "pick-up" by an outside service with the intention of the compostable material to be composted elsewhere where more room is available.

No one has ever refused to use my toilet, as far as I know. When you gotta go, you gotta go. Urinating directly into the bucket is not as bad as it sounds. Yes, occasionally someone will miss, as happens with all toilets. You just have to clean it up. This is more likely to happen with unsupervised small children, especialy boys.

Gray water for small lots can be done via small constructed wetlands, trenches, etc. Google graywater and you will find more info about this.

Joe

Author: Stephen
Sunday, February 26, 2006 - 12:26 am
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My mother actually refused to use my bucket.She went next door to her x-husbands house water toilet.
As for standing up to pee, its not any worse than a regular toilet unless you miss and your toilet and it's wooden. It's not as easy to clean up as porcilion.
Vigdis, you have good questions. Some of which I would like to know myself.
Joe I hope your mission in Mongolia is going as well as planned along with any additional adventures that may come your way.
Wish I was there.

Author: vigdis
Sunday, February 26, 2006 - 1:15 pm
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Thank you, Joe, and you too, Stephen, on your quick answers.

Wow, Mongolia!
I guess it would be a good idea if you took a round tour of the world and taught your idea to all... I hope you are enjoying your stay there and all you meet is eager and enthusiastic people, just waiting to implement everything.

It seems I will have to either experiment myself - just put big cans in the basement and see what happens, or come out with another solution.

One thing I am thinking about is combining the play space for the children with a three chamber compost pile: if I make the poles tall enough, I can build a tree house on top of it, with a ladder on one side and steps on the other side leading to it. A great playground in the air, above the compost...

As for grey water, I have been searching for months but finding only the pools system. However, yesterday I followed a link from YOUR SITE, and found a promising idea:
http://www.ecological-engineering.com/EEG-ZD-Montague.pdf

Some of our grey water, though, will go into the water toilet which I will have to build (not only for guests, such as our parents - I'm sure my mother and MIL will react the same as Stephen's - but also for DH). That way, at least I won't be sending drinking water down the drain.

BTW, in our current tiny town apartment I already made the first step, following your book: I collect a great deal of the sink and bath used water in a bucket, and spill them to the toilet. I'm hoping for zero use of the "handle" and clean drinking water very soon (as the rest of the family remembers to NOT flush).

Thank you again!
vigdis

Author: S. Infante
Monday, February 27, 2006 - 8:58 am
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Vigdis,
There is a posting by someone who uses a totally indoor system on this site, under the topic below:

Jenkins Publishing Message Board: Humanure Handbook: Cover materials?

It is the 3rd posting down from the top:

By T.H. Culhane on Friday, April 12, 2002 - 02:39 pm:

I do like your idea of the tree-house above the bins, just make sure you give yourself head room, so as not to WHACK your head on the tree-house. It certainly won't smell for them if you keep a thick layer of cover material over your pile. I think that is an ingenious way to deal with your situation. That way too, you may engender some help from the kiddos as they see what magic happens to all stuff added to the pile.

Author: vigdis
Monday, February 27, 2006 - 2:04 pm
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Oh, Thank you, S. Infante.
I looked at all the message boards which had promising names, but this one I didn't check. Going to read now!

And, yes, I figured the tree house must be really high, so I'll have enough room. I'm glad someone else thinks it's feasible.

Author: Stephen
Tuesday, February 28, 2006 - 11:30 pm
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Wow it is an awesome idea, the playhouse built incorporated with compost bin . My wife says a hole built in the floor would be a good idea for them to "go in" and back to play without them tracking mud in the house. It's also great that you are using your grey water rather than fresh in your flusher.

Author: TCLynx
Saturday, March 04, 2006 - 3:15 pm
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Check this link for info about greywater and greywater systems. They have some good down to earth advice for designing systems that are less likely to be abandoned.
http://www.oasisdesign.net/greywater/index.htm

Author: Rangdrol
Wednesday, March 08, 2006 - 1:30 pm
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Our mob of scientists would be whizzing in the tree house pile for sure. They will be sure to let you know if your pile goes off.

I would caution you however as a person who got to experience the wonderful world of methane poisoning.
I was under a railroad bridge playing in a swamp with frogs and rattlesnakes and the like for an hour or so. I never felt the smell was bad oe even strong. I was sick for two days not even able to keep water down. You might do well by the mother to do a little home work on the air flow.

Perhaps a greywater storage tank with a little pump and solar cell array would work right over the pile as well? You could then filter the grey water and dump the filter at the pile very easy like.

Author: Rangdrol
Wednesday, March 08, 2006 - 2:08 pm
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Our mob of scientists would be whizzing in the tree house pile for sure. They will be sure to let you know if your pile goes off.

I would caution you however as a person who got to experience the wonderful world of methane poisoning.
I was under a railroad bridge playing in a swamp with frogs and rattlesnakes and the like for an hour or so. I never felt the smell was bad oe even strong. I was sick for two days not even able to keep water down. You might do well by the mother to do a little home work on the air flow.

Perhaps a greywater storage tank with a little pump and solar cell array would work right over the pile as well? You could then filter the grey water and dump the filter at the pile very easy like.

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