Is it compostable?

The International Compost Sanitation Forum and Message Board: Humanure Handbook - A Guide to Composting Human Manure: Is it compostable?
Author: TCLynx (Tclynx)
Saturday, March 10, 2007 - 6:00 pm
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"I am in Brasil where the plumbing is not designed for flushing toilet paper. The place I am at usually burns the toilet paper, but is there an easy way to compost it? and how?"

Toilet paper is easily compostable. First you will need a place for a compost bin. Second you need some cover materials (leaves, sawdust, weeds, straw, whatever). Finally put your soiled toilet paper in the center of the bin with your cover materials all around and moisten it with a little urine, cover with more cover materials to keep it from stinking up the area.

You can also add kitchen scrapps into the center with the toilet paper. Heck you could quit using the regular toilets and just go in the bucket you collect the toilet paper in and cover with sawdust or other cover materials and add it all to the compost bin.

The real key is the urine acts as a nitrogen source to get the compost to heat up but you don't want it too wet or the smell gets too strong.

Author: Sally Bell Alper (Sally_b_a)
Thursday, February 22, 2007 - 12:00 pm
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I am in Brasil where the plumbing is not designed for flushing toilet paper. The place I am at usually burns the toilet paper, but is there an easy way to compost it? and how?

Author: Rob Canning
Sunday, July 15, 2001 - 11:39 pm
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During a recent visit, my mom began putting my baby son's used rayon wet napkins in the toilet bucket. I had always ignorantly assumed that rayon was a derivative of plastic and therefor unsuited to composting (at least if you wish it to decompose in your lifetime). My mom pointed out that rayon is, in fact, artificial silk - made from modified cellulose - which should be compostable? I'm continuing to compost my kid's wetnaps. If they don't decompose, I guess I can pull 'em out of the finished compost a year or so from now with no harm done. One word of caution, though - the brand I used before, and have stopped using since, contained solvents.

Author: Curtis Folts
Wednesday, November 21, 2001 - 7:49 pm
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My sister-in-law is planning to deep-fry a turkey for Christmas. Any recommendations regarding composting of a few gallons of cooking oil? By the way, I've only been composting humanure for a little over a month and my compost is holding above 120°F. I love seeing the steam rising above the leaves melting the frost nearby in the mornings.

Author: Joe Jenkins
Friday, November 23, 2001 - 9:10 am
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You can throw the cooking fat directly into the compost pile. Dig a little hole in the center top and deposit it in there, then cover it over thoroughly. You can also throw the bones and meat in there. You can even throw a dead turkey in there if you have a thermophilic compost pile. We do it all the time and have for decades.

Author: Rob Canning
Wednesday, November 28, 2001 - 1:13 am
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I'm on my third compost pile now and have, out of curiousity, turned the first pile to see how things turned out in there (I'll still wait a year before I start to actually use it though.)

Right at the very beginning, I used a little cedar sawdust- before being told that it was probably not wise to do so. So I stopped using cedar and started using hardwood and hemlock sawdust. At the bottom Of the pile, however, I found that the cedar had apparently decomposed to some extent - or at least it had colored.

In answer to my own earlier question about rayon wet napkins, I found myself pulling them out of the pile in very well-preserved condition (some with what appear to be beetle pupae attached). Thus I wouldn't recommend composting them, unless one wishes to thus collect beetle pupae. This is not to mention that some wet naps may contain toxic chemicals.

An unrelated composting benefit: I've found a number of rhinoceros beetle grubs in my compost pile and grass cover material pile (this is Taiwan!). For someone who is interested in bugs, this is great. They're huge, and they're something a guy like me never would have seen had I not begun composting.

Author: Joost
Tuesday, December 04, 2001 - 11:38 pm
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Compost Bin materials
To compost toilet matter you recommend adding sawdust, leaves, hay, straw, rice hulls,...

will pine and redwood needles work?

Author: Joe
Wednesday, December 05, 2001 - 11:34 am
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Haven't tried them. Anybody know?

Author: Helen Harvard
Wednesday, December 05, 2001 - 4:53 pm
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Dear Jenkins Family, It was with enormous delight that I came across your web site today and the Humanure book. It never ceases to horrify me the extent of damage our "civilised" society causes. I come from one of the lands "downunder" where "green" is big and very popular. Bureaucracy here is killing the wonderful pioneering spirit of America. It is people like you who are so important who are an absolute pleasure to encounter.
Thank you and thank you again for these publications.

Author: Brad Carroll
Thursday, December 13, 2001 - 11:37 am
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First, I want say I am enjoying reading the posts and making a few myself on this message board. David's book was excellent and I am now happy to be part of the movement to compost one's own wastes.

To Joost, who asked if pine and redwood needles work, I would hazard a guess that they definitely should. My mom used to use a lot of pine needles in her regular compost pile when I was a kid, and like all organic material it seemed to break down without any problems. I don't use it myself much because now there is a big tick problem here in Alabama, and they seem to prefer pine needles over other areas, although I have thought of spraying organic pesticide first. I wouldn't like a tick crawling on my behind while sitting . . .

Author: Bety Firey
Thursday, March 28, 2002 - 3:20 pm
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I live on the coast and am just starting up with a humanure pile. We eat a lot of shellfish (hey, they're free!) and I'd like to know if I can compost the shells--mussel, oyster and quahog.

Anyone know?

Author: Rob
Sunday, March 31, 2002 - 8:48 pm
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I know some composters who make regular use of shells. I do, myself, whenever I or my neighbors (who contribute their food scraps to my compost bucket) eat shellfish. Give them a try. If they don't decompose, the worst that'll happen is that you have to pick them out of the finished compost pile. Otherwise, no harm has been done.

Author: Joe Jenkins
Monday, April 01, 2002 - 12:36 am
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Shells will, in fact, compost. They may take longer than other materials, but I have seen large piles of crab shells quite successfully composting in Nova Scotia. If they don't compost completely in your own personal system, they won't hurt the soil if you leave them in the finished compost. Eventually, they'll break down in the soil.

Author: Bruce Cambron
Thursday, June 13, 2002 - 8:50 pm
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In the book it says that toilet paper can be thrown in with the manure. But isn't there bleach in the toilet paper? I don't put my toilet paper in because I don't want the bleach. If the bleach isn't a problem could you please tell me why?

Thanks Bruce

Author: saths
Friday, June 14, 2002 - 3:23 pm
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The bleach must be rinsed out of the toilet paper. It must be like bleaching clothes. You always have to rinse them after bleaching or they will be to irratating to your skin.

Author: joe
Saturday, June 15, 2002 - 11:17 am
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I have always composted toilet paper with no problems whatsoever. I don't think there is enough bleach to create a problem, judging from the teeming life in the compost pile. Also, we use unbleached, recycled toilet paper. I buy it from either Real Goods in California, or Seventh Generation by the case once a year (it costs about $60). That's the way to "go."

Author: Bruce Cambron
Saturday, June 15, 2002 - 7:13 pm
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Thanks Joe, I have been wondering where to get some good toilet paper. But I live in Japan so shipping it here is a bit expensive. I can get recycled paper here but it has bleach in it.

Thanks again,
Bruce

Author: Anonymous
Sunday, January 19, 2003 - 9:39 pm
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Hello,

I am on my third year living with an alternative commode (and boy was I a fecophobe). My first two years I was using an envirolet and finally gave that up and went back to the old outhouse. I bought Joe's book last year and want to try this method beginning in the spring. I was wondering how feminine products compost or would they just have to be removed from the pile at the end of the year?

Author: SheilaP
Monday, January 20, 2003 - 1:27 pm
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Hi, I am new to this all but really have to wonder if people are willing to go to this length to compost humanure, which I think is great, why are you still using store bought wet wipes or hygine products? I use Glad Rags washable feminine hygine products and I throw them in the diaper bucket and wash with the babies diapers. (www.gladrags.com) I also use wash cloths as wipes, never buying "Wet wipes". Sometimes I keep nearby a spray bottle with a little very diluted baby wash and a few drops of lavender oil and use that on my son when he needs a little extra wiping.

Think about it folks.

Author: admin
Monday, January 20, 2003 - 3:22 pm
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"Sanitary Napkins" will compost, but there will be the little strips of plastic in the compost at the end of the composting process and these will have to be picked out. Shiela's solution is more long term, and the diaper pail water can probably be thrown on the compost pile.

Author: Mark Choi
Thursday, January 23, 2003 - 2:16 am
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If you really want to reduce waste, you can get a mentrual cup, like the Keeper, or the ones you can now get from Target. No material to wash, nothing to compost, little fabrication /packaging debris

Author: Alice
Thursday, May 22, 2003 - 4:44 pm
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BTW, this blood diluted in water (like from when you rinse out "glad rags"- but then it must be separate from feces) makes an amazing fertilizer applied directly to plants. I would stick with non-edibles though- just flowers, etc. You can also do it with used tampons- soak them like tea bags. People spend money buying dried blood products to add to their gardens, when many of us are producing plenty on our own!

Author: Joe W
Sunday, June 01, 2003 - 4:49 am
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Why would you stick to non edibles?

Author: Jeff
Sunday, April 11, 2004 - 2:03 pm
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My summer home is a camping trailor with a chemical toilet system. I want to compost the human waste from the blackwater tank. Is the blackwater containing toilet chemical compostable?

Author: admin
Sunday, April 11, 2004 - 8:35 pm
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Probably not.

Author: Maureen Costell
Saturday, April 02, 2005 - 8:39 pm
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Hi there,
From what I understand, vinegar kills germs as well as bleach. I use vinegar in the diaper pail for stains and odors. If I dump the diaper pail water on the compost pile, would the vinegar kill all the good microbes in the pile? I would appreciate any suggestions for good routines to handle cloth diapers and poop washcloths with a humanure pile and greywater system. (We are renting right now, so we're not doing it yet, but are currently looking for land.)
Thanks,
Maureen

Author: Stephen
Sunday, April 03, 2005 - 2:07 pm
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Vinegar does not kill bacteria and would be fine for the pile.

Author: south_nj
Monday, April 04, 2005 - 11:12 am
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actually, there was an experiment run on tv dealing with an interview with Heloise, a popular household tips for cooking and cleaning... and based on the outcome of that ad hoc experiment they found that vinegar does kill the same amount of bacteria when used as a cleanser... I still think that it would be ok because I think there are organisms that would find the vinegar something good to digest...

Author: admin
Sunday, April 10, 2005 - 8:41 pm
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If we have a batch of wine that goes to vinegar, we dump it into the compost pile and the pile seems to like it. Could be the yeast residues that the bacteria are chomping down on.

Joe Jenkins

Author: heather m.
Friday, August 19, 2005 - 10:50 am
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Hi! I am so excited to have joined the ranks of humanure composters (just finished my new bin and bucket system last week). So far everyone who has visited my house has been given the guided tour (with very mixed reactions!).

My question revolves around vomit. The first question a friend with 2 small children asked was what to do with puke. I guessed that it could be composted with everything else...anyone care to confirm or deny?

Author: S. Infante
Friday, August 19, 2005 - 3:10 pm
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I believe it is all supposed to go into the compost pile- you know, back to nature.

Author: admin
Saturday, August 20, 2005 - 7:32 pm
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Yes, vomit into your sawdust toilet, if you can, and compost it. Otherwise, add it to your compost.

Joe Jenkins

Author: Stephen
Saturday, August 20, 2005 - 8:36 pm
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There's not a better place for it. Congrats and welcome.

Author: plantwitch
Sunday, January 08, 2006 - 2:32 am
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Vinegar tweaks the pH levels, which is why some may see a change in their compost piles. Same premise as using vinegar/vinegar & water for multiple forms of yeast infections or, for women, at the first indication of one on the rise (I won't get into the physical symptoms) cleansing with vinegar or a vinegar/water mixed solution is enough to get the pH corrected and inhibit overgrowth of the yeast. So it's definitely on the "yes" list for compost. I use varying amounts of vinegar (I've become especially fond of rice vinegar) mixed with water to water different plants. The gardenias love a vinegar-water watering as it is more conducive to the soil pH they prefer.

Author: sinfante
Friday, February 03, 2006 - 2:55 pm
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Wood ashes? What can be done with ashes from a fire place or wood stove? If they can be composted, how much is too much?

Author: admin
Friday, February 10, 2006 - 11:57 am
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Rather than compost wood ashes (they don't really compost), put them directly onto your soil where you need them.

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