Traveling Compost!

The International Compost Sanitation Forum and Message Board: General Composting Issues: Traveling Compost!
Author: Ecointerest (Ecointerest)
Monday, July 11, 2011 - 6:53 am
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Yes, you can simply use compost worms. I use the medium sized garbage bin because anything bigger is too heavy to lift. Add the worms after the bin has been filled, not while it is in use.
Do everything as per the Humanure method, except allow the long-term composting to take place in the bin, instead of transferring the contents into a big heap. One other slight variation I use is to drill a few holes in the bottom of the bin. Place a 3-4 inch thick layer of sawdust under the bin to absorb any leachate. The worms don't like a wet "well" there, and they can migrate out of the bin if they wish to.
The compost will not reach thermophilic temperatures of course. You simply let it age at least a year.
Use any aged sawdust which breaks down easily. This will exclude wood from trees which contain excessive amounts of oil.
You could do the same with a 5-gal bucket, but you would have LOTS of them maturing for a year.

Author: Test2 (Test2)
Monday, July 11, 2011 - 12:40 am
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Lumbricus rubellus (a kind of worm) eats dung.

Some dung beetles (the dweller type of dung beetle), live in manure. They eat it.

Has anybody ever tried using one or both in a 5 gallon bucket ?

It would be a great experiment. Shread some newspaper and mix in some soil into a bucket. Add the worms or beetle or both and add poop and limited amounts of urine with cover material.

Author: Test2 (Test2)
Monday, July 11, 2011 - 12:21 am
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Since the soil in some woods may be porous (allowing fecal bacteria to seep into ground water perhaps) its best to have a biological sponge. Sure you can dig a hole line it with a biological sponge then dump the contents in the hole and cover it up. It would be work, but not sure it would be safer than the approach I suggest (no digging holes) which is fast and easy. A layer of leaves, brush, weeds,(even some newspaper or paper), on the ground surface, then cover it with some more leaves,brush and weeds.

I cant imagine this causing any environmental problems, but the USA is a fecal phobic society. Onlookers or even forest rangers may ask what you are doing dumping stuff out of buckets into the woods. There may even be laws against it - I am not sure.

Anybody else out there who can help out Libby10.

Author: Libby10 (Libby10)
Sunday, July 10, 2011 - 6:12 pm
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Adding on from the last text--Test2 I think this is what you meant about making a pile in the woods. Maybe it's not even necessary to dig a hole?

Author: Libby10 (Libby10)
Sunday, July 10, 2011 - 6:11 pm
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Thanks for the info!

A friend of mine recently told me that it would be fine to bury toilet contents that haven't been composted in the woods with more compost material.

Does anyone not recommend this?

If this is sanitary and not harmful to do (as long as it's not near water), my best bet may be finding people ahead of time who have compost bins to dump my toilet contents into. And if there isn't anyone for a month or so, I can bury toilet contents in the woods.

Any thoughts on this? I'd love to hear more suggestions. If this is safe and sanitary, this is the way I'll go.

Thanks ahead of time:-)

Author: Test2 (Test2)
Sunday, July 10, 2011 - 3:04 pm
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I donít think small buckets will work well for aerobic composting. Too small mass to generate enough heat. Into the woods and gathering leaves, brush, or newspaper into layer (small pile) to act as a biological sponge and dumping contents over it and then covering with more of the same should be ok. Try to avoid doing so near springs. PLEASE READ ON.

Rather than trying to compost in small buckets there are certain kind of worms and beetles that may be able to survive and eat whatís in the bucket.

Searching this website and web may help. Try to keep us all informed.

Author: Libby10 (Libby10)
Friday, July 08, 2011 - 1:06 pm
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Yes, I realize I would be better off with a 50 gallon trash can. This is not possible for me. What I'm trying to understand is how to compost in small storage containers--10 gallons at the most.

I will not have the capacity to store large bins while traveling, and I will be traveling extensively.

Author: Libby10 (Libby10)
Friday, July 08, 2011 - 1:05 pm
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Yes, I realize I would be better off with a 50 gallon trash can. This is not possible for me. What I'm trying to understand is how to compost in small storage containers--10 gallons at the most.

I will not have the capacity to store large bins while traveling, and I will be traveling extensively.

Author: Demeter (Demeter)
Tuesday, July 05, 2011 - 11:45 am
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You would be better off using a 50 gallon plastic trash can to receive the Loo emptyings. It would be big enough to have some thermophilic action. You can drill holes in the top, bottom, and sides of the barrel. Keep it off the floor with a couple of short 2 X 4 s and keep a foil pie pan beneath it to catch the leachate. Kitty litter helps to mop up spills. With this method, the contents will be coliform-free about 3 months after receiving the last emptying, even if the contents don't go thermophilic.

Author: Libby10 (Libby10)
Saturday, July 02, 2011 - 12:38 pm
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Thanks for your reply! The EM looks interesting; I'm going to do some more research on it.

My only concern right away is that it will be difficult for me to order things over email, and much easier to collect accessible materials as I'm traveling.

Is it possible to cut holes in the lid of the compost storage bins (5 gallon buckets or other small 10 gallon storage bin) so that aerobic composting takes place? Or perhaps to create holes inside the unit to allow air to get through?

And if so, what would the time frame be for returning the composted material to the soil?

I've been researching the RV and Boat section on the forum, but I haven't collected enough information to start the building process.

Author: Ecointerest (Ecointerest)
Friday, July 01, 2011 - 1:20 am
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Libby, a thought has just occurred to me, don't know if it will help, but it might.
Since you will be sealing off that small box under the vehicle, my guess is it would become anaerobic. The Humanure method requires it to be aerobic.
How about using EM(http://www.bokashi.com.au/How-Bokashi-works.htm )in a similar way to this Bokashi bucket adapted to your specific needs? The EM needs anaerobic conditions, since the waste is "pickled" or fermented, rather than composted. Adding the bucketful to someone's compost pile when convenient would be an easy and safe way to dispose of the contents.
You would simply carry a supply of the bokashi with you, instead of a bucketful of sawdust.

Author: Libby10 (Libby10)
Thursday, June 30, 2011 - 1:18 pm
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Hi. I've ready the Humanure Handbook and I haven't found a discussion about traveling humanure! (or perhaps I missed it).

I will be traveling for about a year and it's very important to me to compost. I'll be building a simple 5gallon bucket version for my bathroom (having extra buckets on hand).

I would like to have compost storage bins in a storage compartment underneath the travel trailer I'll be traveling in. This means that the compost storage bins will have to be about 8" high, and no more than 1' 5" long.

My big questions are making sure that I'm able to dump toilet contents into the storage bins, to ensure that thermophilic composting occurs, and to know the approximate time that I may empty the contents. I don't have a garden to empty them into. My thought is that I would empty the contents into wooded areas as I am traveling. But I'm not sure this is a productive and sanitary action.

From what I understand, most compost bins are build outside, above ground, and they are open on top to allow air to enter.

My bins would be in smaller storage containers, under a structure, sealed off, with plenty of straw/hay,grass clippings/other carbon material.

If there is any helpful info. you can send my way, I would be very very happy. I think composting is the best way for me to go; yet, I want to make sure that I'm not polluting the earth, myself, or anyone I know as I go!

Thanks so much for reading and I look forward to hearing suggestions!

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