Why don't boaters embrace composting?...

The International Compost Sanitation Forum and Message Board: General Composting Issues: Why don't boaters embrace composting?
Author: Knothead (Knothead)
Sunday, April 25, 2010 - 9:56 am
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Joe, Everyone,
Maybe you all could give me some ideas about how to approach city officials about an idea that I have.
As I said in my earlier post, I believe that having no convenient place to dispose of the material is a major drawback in getting people to consider using composting heads in boats.
Here's my idea. Since I live in a small town in the Tampa Bay area that has it's own municipal marina, with pump-out facilities btw and is popular with cruisers. I thought I should approach the city with the idea of installing a compost bin or container or something.
There are frequent city council meetings that are open to the public and I would have no problem making a case for composting, but I'm not sure how to best present it. I'm not even sure if it would be better to suggest a pile on site or a container that could be removed to a different site where the pile would be.
I'm not even sure that a public city council meeting would be the best place or vehicle to pursue this.

I do know that unless the presentation was good enough to answer the misgivings and misconceptions that are sure to arise there is very little chance that it would even be seriously considered.

I also think that some town has to be the first to do something like this. I believe that it would go a long way to making composting toilets on boats more commonplace. And as we all know, once you switch to composting you will never willingly go back to the water wasting toilets. And since almost all of those boaters have homes ashore, I think it could have long term positive effects.

Does anyone have any ideas?
Does anybody want to help me come up with logical way to present this idea to the city officials?

Thanks,
Steve

(Message edited by Knothead on April 25, 2010)

Author: Shush (Shush)
Wednesday, March 17, 2010 - 8:14 am
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Yes, Knot, I agree with you completely. Just doing it means several kitty litty containers stacked together for heigth and plastic press-on top, cover material. Sorry to be vague; water shortages and high costs here may mean the collapse of the infrastructure like sewage treatment etc. What a shame when we would like to cry out the good news! Thanks, friend!

Author: Knothead (Knothead)
Wednesday, March 17, 2010 - 7:10 am
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Shush, I'm sure it's because of my lack of comprehension, but your post left me scratching my head.
Could you explain to me what you are saying?

Author: Shush (Shush)
Tuesday, March 16, 2010 - 3:57 pm
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And what evolves is the realization that all of it is a facilitator, great stuff. What drives me nuts is "we can't afford the continued infrastructure", when you want to break wind and cry out!

Author: Knothead (Knothead)
Monday, March 15, 2010 - 7:40 pm
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Thanks for the encouraging comments. I just wish I knew how to proceed from here.
I participate in a number of sailing websites (forums) and I have pushed the idea of the composting head about as far a I can.
I'm sure that Joe and others have run into the same problem. People just are uncomfortable talking about actually dealing with their own excrement. So when you bring up the subject, you scare people away.
It's a shame that there wasn't some way of communicating how much sense it makes, how easy and clean it is and how environmentally sound it is to compost rather than flush.
Unfortunately, more often than not, they tune you out before they've even heard you.

If any of you are sailors, please join some of the conversations on http://www.sailnet.com/forums/ or http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/ or http://www.anything-sailing.com/index.php?s=264c3973803a41009a4f64314f9d7b53.
I could really use some backup. :-)

Author: Ecointerest (Ecointerest)
Monday, March 15, 2010 - 5:51 pm
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Brilliant, progressive attitude. I, for one, wish you lots of success.

Author: Aaawelder (Aaawelder)
Sunday, March 14, 2010 - 1:43 am
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You won't have to tell me twice. Just avoiding the putrid stench is justification to try a new approach, especially one with so many benefits.

Author: Knothead (Knothead)
Wednesday, March 03, 2010 - 8:28 pm
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As an enthusiastic humanure composter and a boater, I have decided to remove my traditional saltwater pump head, the holding tank and all the associated plumbing.
I live on the water and have a large compost pile and room for more.

I'm lucky.

One of the biggest objections to the idea of using a composting system that I've heard from other boaters that I talk to online is how to get rid of the material.
I believe that more boaters would use composting heads if there was an established and simple way of getting rid of the material.
Many of the people who use composting heads now have to simply put the stuff in the marina dumpster.
What a waste.
I wonder if someday marinas will have compost piles. Or perhaps rent-a-bins that some enterprising company provides that are available for emptying the contents of AirHeads or Nature's Heads.

I'm in the marine business in FL and have offered my compost pile to anyone afloat who needs to empty their head. So far I haven't been taken up on the offer. Nor have I met anyone using the systems. There just don't seem to be too many people who are willing to try it.
There's only two possible reasons for this that I can think of. They either haven't tried it or they are scared off by the prices of the systems.

The Airhead, the last time I checked was over a thousand dollars and the Nature's head was $850.00.
Seems a little strange considering that there's no plumbing involved and no holes in the boat.

I have come to the conclusion that it makes more sense to do one's composting ashore rather in in one's toilet.
Even the expensive composting heads will occasionally have to be emptied with fresh, uncomposted material present, so I saved a lot of money and built what I call my humanure containment system. Which is nothing more than Joe's system except that the urine is separated. That makes the bucket much lighter when it's time to empty it.




I can't think of a much more disgusting job than pumping out the holding tanks of a boat. There you are, holding a nozzle that fifteen minutes earlier was pumping out a bunch of liquid sewage from a bunch of strangers, hoping that they wasted a whole bunch of water to rinse the thing off. Then you stick the end of the nozzle into a hole in your deck, turn the suction on and turn the valve. It's up to you to hold this nozzle in the hole in the deck for the time it takes to empty the tanks. You then get the pleasure of removing this nozzle, dripping with filth and rinsing it off for the next user.

Or you could just put the lid on a five gallon bucket and carry it off the boat. It's a no-brainer.

A network of composters who are willing to accept contributions from the boating community might go a long way toward convincing a few people to try the idea.

Anybody got any ideas?

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