ASH FOR A DRY TOILET?

The International Compost Sanitation Forum and Message Board: Humanure Composting Around the World: ASH FOR A DRY TOILET?
Author: Knothead (Knothead)
Wednesday, March 03, 2010 - 4:40 pm
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When I first started experimenting, I was using a bucket for solids and a plastic jug for liquid. I used wood ashes for cover. Because the contents of the bucket were mostly dry, the ashes worked well for odor control. However, as noted, I did see a reluctance of the stuff to compost. The material never really composted in a tumbler but instead turned into rather compact little balls that remained rather unchanged for a long time. The ashes seemed to have created a coating that prevented any microbial activity.

I have since learned, mostly from Joe, a little more about composting and have transferred these little indestructible globes into a very hot pile and am confident that they will soon begin to break down.

So, bottom line. If all I had was ashes, I would sure use it for cover material. It does stop the odor and would certainly be better than using nothing at all.
The collected material can be added to a wet carbon rich pile later.

I must qualify this. Firstly, if urine isn't separated, I don't know how well it would work at all. The ashes probably would only dissolve in the liquid and not stop the odors.
Secondly, I haven't had any success getting the tumbler hot with anything I've tried anyway. :-)

Sorry about the graphic nature of my first post.
Steve

Author: Reville (Rev)
Monday, July 21, 2008 - 2:08 am
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Ash is not Carbon rich material

its is highly alkaline and will arrest composting. It may encourage the loss of Nitrogen also, which would also impede composting.

Use grass based or leaf based cover materials.
Crops wastes that animals will not eat
-rain spolt hay
-peanut/ soy hulls
-Maize husks, cobs, Sorghum trash, Banana trash
Cotton ginning trash, coffee hulls and leaf or ANY other reasonably fine tropical agricultural 'waste'
-Coarse grasses like Vetiver
but best of all - bagasse from sugar cane
Haiti was once the jewel of the sugar industry. it must still produce some cane? and where thee is cane there is bagasse in abundance....
shredded paper and dry lawn clippings also works in urban environs.

Author: John Smith (John)
Thursday, March 27, 2008 - 12:02 pm
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Aaron,

Wood ash won't substitute for sawdust in this application.

As others suggested, utilize a local vegetative waste, preferably one that will also provide air space within the compost heap.

Using wood ash as a substitution for the sawdust method (described in the Humanure Handbook) will stunt the composting process and could possibility prevent it from occurring at all.

Good luck with the project. It sounds interesting.

John

Author: Alan J Marshall (Ecointerest)
Wednesday, March 26, 2008 - 10:36 am
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Aaron, I also find your posting fascinating. Congratulations in your efforts, and wishing great success to everyone concerned in the project.
I am trying to imagine the situation you are in, and the cultural conditions. Please say if I am "off the track."
What other 'waste' materials are around which could be co-composted with the Humanure? I am thinking of things like: paper waste (newspaper and shredded office paper); rice hulls; peelings from the preparation of cassava, corn, etc.; chicken droppings; sugar cane fiber; bi-products from cotton growing. You might find ways of combining any or all of these, plus others I have not thought of, in such a way that the temperature of the Humanure pile can heat up. Leaves of course, and the mulch from under the banana trees might come in useful in some way.
Good luck and I for one would love hear from you again to learn how things are going.

Author: Demeter (Demeter)
Tuesday, March 25, 2008 - 11:41 am
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What an awesome project!
Ash doesn't provide enough carbon for real composting. How about leaf litter? I do see forests in the background. You would be able to return some of the compost to the places where the leaf litter was borrowed. And you should have plenty for gardening. By all means use the ash for the gardening.

Author: AARON HUEY BETSH (Heapster)
Monday, March 24, 2008 - 9:57 pm
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I'M IN HAITI WORKING WITH A NON-PROFIT (SOIL-WWW.OURSOIL.ORG) BUILDING COMPOSTING TOILETS FOR COMMUNITIES. AS TREES ARE DWINDLING IN THIS COUNTRY, SAWDUST IS NOT A CONSISTANT RESOURCE TO USE AS OUR CARBON SOURCE. IT SEEMS THAT WOOD ASH IS THE ONLY VIABLE ALTERNATIVE. DOES ANYONE HAVE ANY EXPERIENCE WITH THIS? ANY SUGGESTIONS?THANKS--AARON

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