What Are You Using to Build Humanure ...

The International Compost Sanitation Forum and Message Board: Humanure Composting Around the World: What Are You Using to Build Humanure Bins?
Author: Irmalcol (Irmalcol)
Tuesday, June 08, 2010 - 11:51 am
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I went to Home Depot right before it closed and found a bin in the lumber section with scrap wood/garbage. I found some great 2x3 and 2x4 lumber with grooves running along the length of them (I think they are for putting on the tops of full lumber pallets so the tie-downs don't wreck the wood). I just cut the corners off one end of each piece to make a point, and pounded them into the ground as posts for my bins. I faced the grooves of the two front posts towards each other, then cut 1x8 boards to length to fit in the grooves. Now I have an adjustable-height stackable front wall, perfect for a growing heap.

1x8 spruce is less than $1/ft (at least here in Alberta, Canada), and Home Depot sold me 5 of those grooved boards for ~$2.

I'm also about to try using cedar lattice for the sides of another bin, but I'm worried about how floppy it might be. Will post on the results.

Author: Peacepie (Peacepie)
Wednesday, October 14, 2009 - 6:08 am
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No advice just more questions.... does anyone know if its ok to use one of those garden centre compost bins that are open at the bottom and pretty much a big plastic bin wiht a lid?? just that i think my house mates, neightbours and land lord wouldnt like the alternative???

Author: michael gunther (Mike)
Sunday, September 16, 2007 - 7:48 am
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hi there,
i used to compost in a 220 liter plastic bin coverd with holes, which worked perfectly for me and my wife. now we are growing bigger 10-15 people, so i build a new toilett, having two pots.
now i need bigger bins!!! wood is hardly available, and if very expensiv. i did all my buildings with CEB (compressed earth blocks, which are stabilised with about 5% cement, and i'm thinking of building bins with those (three sided) and thatching for rain protection. any suggestions?

Author: Herb
Tuesday, February 12, 2002 - 8:39 pm
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I notice a few people mentioning pallets. And I know nailing some boards together would work. But I'm thinking of something more permanent. Any suggestions?

If I build mine from wood, I'll probably use logs, but they will rot away in a few years and I'd rather not have to mess around building new ones.

Any creative long-lasting bin construction methods?

Author: Joe Jenkins (Admin)
Tuesday, February 12, 2002 - 9:41 pm
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Check out the Humanure Hilton. It's on this site at
http://www.jenkinspublishing.com/hilton.html

Author: Stephen
Wednesday, February 13, 2002 - 9:28 am
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I built my bin from recycled Oak 1x3's that were framed up and covered on the inside with leftover metal roofing.
That was the material I had on hand at the time,it works but, I do plan on using an all wood structure or some sort of earth masonry such as Cob, Rammed Earth,etc...

Author: herb
Thursday, February 14, 2002 - 11:09 am
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Here's another thought.

Are bins or containers really necessary?

Why can't I just make a pile of shit and carbonaceous material and let it do it's thing?

I'm in total control of this place and there are no nosy neighbors peering over the fence.

Author: joe jenkins
Thursday, February 14, 2002 - 12:31 pm
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Bins keep the pile upright, giving it form and air exposure (it's an aerobic system, so it works better when in a vertical form of some sort). It also prevents dogs, raccoons, etc., from access the pile.

Windrow composting is an alternative (no containers), but this is usually used when large amounts of material are being composted, and it requires either careful management to achieve aerobic conditions throughout, or turning with a windrow turner.

A compost mass in a bin can have a flattened top to absorb water (compost likes water). An open pile, carefully constructed, can work just fine, as long as a passing dog doesn't rip it apart. Much of the humanure material is more of a formless wet slurry being dumped into the middle of a contained mass. I've never tried it without a containment system because I think it would be difficult due to the nature of the materials being composted, while a containment system is easy and inexpensive to construct.

I'm speaking of single family systems here. Large scale systems would, of course, not require containment, but would probably require managed oxygenation via air pumps or turning mechanisms.

Author: Herb
Thursday, February 14, 2002 - 9:06 pm
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Joe,

I see your point about the "slurry" being poured on and the need to contain it somehow.

In my long-term system I've kept urine out of the sawdust/peat-poop bag so it's not a slurry. Now, I know you suggest adding urine to the pile but I would probably be doing that separately and keep it out of the container.

I don't have good rot resistent wood here, so if I make a bin, perhaps I'll stack up concrete blocks in a staggered pattern with some openings between them. They should be permanent and yet allow air to penetrate the pile.

But I might experiment with an open pile just to see if it will work. Just adding peat to poop causes a change in the material in a short time without even piling it. I've been noticing this fact when I dump the contents into a trench and then cover it. The change was much faster than with sawdust which I used previously. (This is peat dug out of my own swamp as sawdust is getting harder to procure around here.)

I've never had any problem with animals digging into my filled trenches. Oh yeah, once with my girl-friend's dog because she had him on a veagen diet, but he's history....

Author: saths
Friday, February 15, 2002 - 11:42 am
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In the Bible at Deuteronomy 23 verse 13 it says"As part of your equipment have something to dig with, and when you relieve yourself, dig a hole and cover up your excrement".

Author: Herb
Monday, February 18, 2002 - 7:34 pm
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How do pine needles work? They are mostly carbon and I have lots of them.....

I'm thinking now of getting some steel fence posts for bin corners and maybe trying welded steel fencing for the bin walls. That should last for many years, not cost much, and keep critters out while letter air in.

Any opinions?

Author: red brown
Tuesday, November 19, 2002 - 11:13 pm
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ifound a deal on some used recycled plastic lumber 4 x 4 posts and 1 x 6 inch by 12 foot slats. i built into a clay bank behind my house and now have the first tier of a terrace up the bank.

Author: Joyce Rook
Tuesday, September 16, 2003 - 6:33 pm
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I built my compost bin using stones because that's what was freely available on my land. Of course the flat ones worked best. It is three sided and after awhile the compost started falling out of the front, so , when I built the second bin also using stones, I put some hay bales lining the front of the bin. That worked pretty good. When my first bin was ready for harvest, many tree roots had grown up into the compost seeking nutrients. That was a surprise and it made harvesting more difficult. Anybody else have this problem?

Author: Stephen
Wednesday, November 26, 2003 - 12:54 am
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I just finished my new bin. Our old bin lasted 5 years now and is pretty much shot. It was framed with 1x3 Oak and the sides where roofing tin. The tin is fine but the wood was rotted and eaten away by termites.
Anyhow I hope that my new bin will give me many years of service.
I welded together a frame using leftover 1/2 rebar. 3'x5'x3' high. A little bigger than my last one. 1" White Oak boards slide into the frame. horizontal in front and back and vertical on the sides.
So when the boards do rot away I will be able to simply replace the boards.
If anyone would like pics of this design I would gladly email some to you.

Author: Mary Metcalf
Thursday, November 04, 2004 - 7:29 am
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I just made my first deposit today (sawdust toilet inside) and am still working on the bin situation outside, am trying to sort out what material to use/how to put them together. Did I understand clearly that straw bales are ok to use? The ones I have access to are about 36" long x 18" high which would make small bins. At the moment it's just me using the sawdust toilet (my 13 yr. old daughter says she won't have anything to do with it!-hoping that may change in the future...) Would a 3'x6' straw bale bin work, stacked two high? Thanks much for any feedback.

Author: admin
Thursday, November 04, 2004 - 11:08 pm
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Probably 4 1/2 feet by 4 1/2 feet would be better. You should be able to stack it that way.

Joe Jenkins

Author: Heather Vogel
Monday, December 13, 2004 - 7:04 pm
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Regarding the fact that the compost pile is an aerobic system, would stone or even straw bales used for bin construction provide the conditions for enough air flow to create an aerobic system?

Author: admin
Sunday, December 19, 2004 - 1:29 pm
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Straw bales will work. Stone? I don't know - never tried it. Maybe if laid dry.

Author: Heather Vogel
Monday, December 20, 2004 - 4:03 pm
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I was just looking at a website www.omick.net
He suggests for an arid climate (here in Arizona) that galvanized roofing tin is a good material for bin construction for retaining moisture. He says that since the tin doesn't allow for as much airation as some other materials, he fluffs, what looks like, the upper layers of his pile once a month. He also uses straw as his cover material for the pile but first runs the straw through a chipper shredder in order to make a finer cover to keep out insects.

What do you think of the galvanized roofing tin, the fluffing, and the shredded straw ideas?

Back in California I used unshredded straw with no insect problems.

I used pallets for bin contruction but it wasn't nearly as hot where I moved from as it will be here (over 100 degrees daily in summer) and I am wanting to conserve water.

Also, I am currently living in a cohousing community, condo style, and the back yards are very tiny so I am wanting to make my compost piles as attractive as possible to help keep my neighbors asthetically pleased as some of them will have a good veiw of my piles. I am hoping that none of them object to my practice of composting as it is a spiritual practice for me.

Author: admin
Tuesday, December 21, 2004 - 1:28 pm
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Most of the aeration takes place within the pile because air is trapped there, so you can probably use just about anything for side walls. Give it a try and report back later.

Author: derekbrockett
Thursday, June 30, 2005 - 11:00 am
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i built my bin using pvc tubes as posts. set into cement, then the walls out of corrugated galvanized sheet metal and then a wooden framed screened pull-out door on the front. the reason why i didn't use much wood is because there is a tremendous termite problem where i live in southern mexico. they are voracous bastards. they even eat away live trees, killing them often.

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