"solar" sawdust toilet

The International Compost Sanitation Forum and Message Board: General Composting Issues: "solar" sawdust toilet
Author: Xenos (Xenos)
Thursday, July 16, 2009 - 9:24 am
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hi Docmark, generally speaking the externally-applied heat doesn't do the job that the digesting/converting thermophilic organisms do. They produce the heat as a byproduct of all the other wonderful things they're up to in there. It is C/N and MOISTURE that they need, not an exterior heating setup.


Most solar toilet designs were inspired by arid, sometimes inhospitably high-altitude, locations where there are just about no available critters to do the cleanup digestive work.

The end result of the STs I've seen is more like foundry ash than anything you'd hope to garden with. Minerals and some ashen materials survive the process, but IMO it's not compost, since it's literally sterilized and essentially killed by the heat.

Thinking about the design you described, I can see one of two possible things happening: (1) it's not a true solar toilet but rather a system designed to keep imported worms warm enough to do vermicomposting in a year-round very cold damp climate; (2) it doesn't work at all, for just the reasons you postulated.

Worms are not going to pile in there unless the nutrient, moisture and temp conditions appeal to them.

I don't believe you're a fecophobe and kind of wish we could erase that catchy epithet from the humanure annals. It's a lot more common that folks coming here to ask questions and offer suggestions are fighting pitched battles against the fecophobia of their family, neighbors, and/or the verminous bureaurats -- so I feel if you're here you deserve a smile and a pat on the back! :-)

Author: Ecointerest (Ecointerest)
Monday, July 13, 2009 - 2:47 am
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Docmark, I can imagine the results of your second question being "odorominous," now there's a new word for you....!

Seriously, though, I believe from observations, that worms will migrate up or down in the compost pile according to the temperature they prefer. However, if they are artificially confined in a 60 gal plastic container, and their only emergency exit is the gap between container and lid, that is where you will lose them, pretty quick smart.
Any departure from the simplicity of the Humanure system is often another case of fecophobia taking over.

Author: Docmark (Docmark)
Saturday, July 11, 2009 - 12:57 am
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I saw plans for a "solar" sawdust toilet that for some reason had you deposing into a 60 gallon plastic container that was attached to the outhouse, had windows (thus solar), ventilation and incorporated worms heavily. It seemed to me that the worms would cook from both the solar exposure and the heat from the hot part of the "pile". Has anyone seen such a thing?

Second question: has anyone tried putting the 5 gallon bucket into a solar oven and cooking it well, then using worms to do the composting?

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