Thunderbox

The International Compost Sanitation Forum and Message Board: General Composting Issues: Thunderbox
Author: Ecointerest (Ecointerest)
Monday, February 15, 2010 - 10:10 pm
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If you want a simple substitute for the Thunderbox, you can use a suitably sized garbage bin or "wheelie" bin, and store the humanure in that for 9-12 months. No transfer of uncomposted material from bucket to heap. No thermophilic conditions aimed at or achieved - not essential if you are composting for that long. Admittedly, if you are in hot climates where enteric diseases are common, this would probably not be an appropriate method. An extra six months storage might solve it. Open to debate on this.

Author: Test2 (Test2)
Saturday, February 13, 2010 - 2:33 am
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Good point about the dispersal Utopian. But, since you have to cover the manure twice (once in the bucket and once outside) with the "Jenkins" system it will probably be a wash (pun intended).

The Thunderbox's lower level has a side door so you can always add additional material as needed.

Both systems have advantages and disadvantages and both work in practice.

Author: Utopian (Utopian)
Saturday, February 06, 2010 - 11:50 pm
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There is another disadvantage to the "Thunderbox." That is, it will require a significantly larger amount of cover material following each deposit due to the dispersal of the material. The box will have a much greater surface area than that of a bucket and failing to properly cover each deposit will result in problems with smells and insects.

Author: Test2 (Test2)
Wednesday, February 03, 2010 - 1:36 am
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An author I greatly admire John Seymour (Guide to Self Sufficiency) mentions 2 methods on recycling human manure.

1) Bury it and wait. Not as good as Joe's approach which creates pathogen killing heat. But, if you know you are healthy and the soil is such that leaching into surface or groundwater will not occur it seems it could work.

2) Thunderbox - this approach has a strong similarity to Joe's approach or could be modified to give virtually the same exact results with less work. Furthermore, the compost pile is contained within a building (could be with no floor, or wiremesh walls and floors, so no pests can enter. It also seals out the elements). Basicly, a two level outhouse, with the lower level the compost heap, and on the second level a toilet above the heap. John also suggests using sawdust as cover material.

Once the Thunderbox is built it has the advantage of not having to carry five gallon buckets to the compost heap, since you poop directly into the pile. This would be beneficial to the disabled or elderly who can't carry or lift buckets. Also, it eliminates the need to clean buckets. The big disadvantage is the cost to build the system and it may draw the unwanted attention of ignorant people.

Anyway, in some circumstances the Thunderbox could be a good alternative to Joe's approach.

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