Living in campervan traveling across ...

The International Compost Sanitation Forum and Message Board: Humanure Handbook - A Guide to Composting Human Manure: Living in campervan traveling across country for several years
Author: Shush (Shush)
Thursday, January 20, 2011 - 11:54 am
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Hello, "Eco" and all. Archeological digs in Philadelphia indicate they were voiding in holes then. I've perceived the cat and dog poop was cooling my pile back in summer. This winter's wood ashes and animal poop will loosen my clayey soil in random spots. Ten foot square pen of large leaf piles take my winter additions of "me" and food scraps.

Author: Ecointerest (Ecointerest)
Wednesday, January 19, 2011 - 11:10 pm
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I see one of the most valuable aspects of this Message Board is that we can actually discuss the subject of urine, faeces, etc. Many people in various social situations cannot bring themselves to think about it, much less do any discussion.
Here we read of successes; failures; ideas some sound, some not-so-sound; yet all respected as legitimate input to the subject.
Thank you MD Heath and Knothead, everyone that contributes and adds to my knowledge.

Author: Md_heath (Md_heath)
Wednesday, January 19, 2011 - 9:41 pm
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Knothead, very creative use of parts in the garage urinal. At least with your system the urine is still being added to the compost pile, which is the best use of it, in terms of ag output. I have a 'conventional' humanure toilet in my office, which only I use, with rare exceptions. I rarely empty it more than once a week, when I empty the house buckets, too. Maybe I am dehydrated and need to increase my fluids intake...?

Author: Knothead (Knothead)
Sunday, January 16, 2011 - 8:50 am
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MD, The only reason that I separate the urine by using a bottle urinal most of the time is because that way I only have to empty the bucket about every three weeks. Plus, I have to admit, after thirty years of sitting down to pee out of deference to my wife, I am enjoying being able to stand up to pee. :-)
If I was peeing in the bucket every time, I would have to empty it about every three days and I would have to use a lot more cover material.
The urine from by bottle is emptied every day or so and usually goes directly on the compost pile.

I am the only one who uses the toilet in the garage. My wife still uses the water waster. On the boat however, the head is often used by female guests (they have no choice) and without the separator, the bucket would fill up fast. Plus this way I don't have to bother teaching them about how much cover material to use etc.

Here's a pic of my urinal. Made from a kitty litter bottle, a rum bottle, a fiber supplement bottle, a piece of hose and a section of vacuum cleaner pipe.
https://lh4.ggpht.com/_p6-Uhmaf-RA/TAueeROTb_I/AAAAAAAACvg/cJ_6xRVLE6s/s720/IMG_5437.JPG

Author: Md_heath (Md_heath)
Sunday, January 16, 2011 - 3:14 am
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and, one suggestion on 'gastrointestinal troubles' while traveling. i have traveled all over the world, eating in the local restaurants and homes. i have found that if i will eat at least 1 cup of fresh, 'live', yogurt every day, montezuma has not had much revenge upon me.

i have yet to find a place in the world where yogurt is not made(after 5 continents and a few dozen countries). eating the local yogurt also helps as it seems to have some of the local cultures and counteracts the 'local' bug issues.

the cheap, commercialized, 'dead' stuff in the chain stores will not serve the purpose. but even there you can usually find yogurts made locally and, most importantly, with 'live cultures' in them. and the 'whole foods' genre of stores are full of good yogurts.

Author: Md_heath (Md_heath)
Sunday, January 16, 2011 - 3:04 am
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i have little access to sawdust, but i have lots of crushed leaves and they work fine. traveling in the US you can easily get sawdust at most any pet supply or farm feed store. I live with a wife and 4 daughters, plus all their girlfriends, and, as long a a good deposit of cover material is being added each time, i have not had any trouble with excess urine issues.

i have never understood the urine separating concept, ever. if you apply urine to plants, it is true that it improves growth. however, if you compost both urine and feces, together, and apply the compost to the plants, the resulting output is higher than urine only, or feces composted without urine. so, since it is more bother and expense to handle 2 substances separately, and since the positive result is higher with composting them both, together, then why separate them?

as for disposal, i can see several options: as Knothead suggests, bury it in the forest. just watch out for the control freaks out there who will want to throw you in jail for 'polluting' or for 'dumping hazardous materials'. there are plenty of public outhouses, such as those in the forest and other public campgrounds where you can add your bucket contents. you will not be adding to the compost value, but will likely improve the typical stink of the pit latrines, since you will be adding biomass with your deposit. last, in this digital age, try a posting of where you are traveling. maybe even create a blog and add a daily entry of your travels and seek out composting toilets users across the land. a blog on "my travels with mobile humanure", "the composting cargo van" or, as joe would probably call it, "the turd trucker", might get some readership.

Author: Knothead (Knothead)
Saturday, January 15, 2011 - 10:51 am
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Your trip sounds like fun. The idea makes me nostalgic.:-)
I have been using my homemade head for a little over a year now and have come to a few conclusions. Maybe they are worth sharing.
I built two identical units. One for the garage and one for my sailboat. I purchased one urine separating bowl and seat from a company called Ecovita for a little over a hundred bucks. My thought was that I would simply use the bowl and seat on which ever head I was using at the time. What I ended up doing was just using the separating thing on the boat where it could expect to get some female use. Since I'm the only one using the toilet in the garage, I don't really have to worry about separating the urine since the bucket is only used once or maybe twice a day. The urine simply doesn't build up because I have a bottle urinal that I use most of the time. I think only females would have a problem with too much urine in the bucket. Most guy's would probably be happy to use a tree, bottle or the lee rail.
As far a cover material goes. I can't see where you would have a problem. If I were traveling I would simply stop in a forest once in a while and sift out some of the partially decomposed stuff that accumulates on the forest floor. I've used it and it works fine. I've also used plain dirt, compost, sawdust, coir, and biochar. It all works fine. You may have to use a little more of one thing than another, but it's not a big thing.
As far as dumping. Again, I would think that you could discretely bury a bucket of compost in some remote forested area without much problem. If it were me, I would have rotating buckets and I would cap off and allow my full bucket to sit awhile before I dispose of it. It has to be better than what most boaters with composting heads do. They mostly just put it into plastic bags and then dump the bags into the marina dumpsters. Seems to me that burying it in a forest is a much better idea.
I bet most of the problems you envision with be worked out easily and you will be so much happier than if you went with a port-a-potty.
Good luck

Author: Theno1katzman (Theno1katzman)
Friday, January 14, 2011 - 5:31 pm
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Hey guys, I am a young guy and going to buy a cargo van and retrofit it into my home so I can travel across country and visit the national parks and some organic farms and communities. I don't know where I can get sawdust and not sure what other products I can use (Read about peat moss, but some people said that was no good). There was some concern with the amount of peeing and pooping in the bucket, as disrupting the pH balance is concerned, I don't know about you, but when I go for number 2, number 1 comes naturally as well. I had have experience with compost toilet buckets living in a community in Hawaii for three months. I learned that your poop won't stink as much if you are eating the correct diet for your body, so diet has something to do with it. Also, with bowel problems, and most of the poop being diarrhea that could disrupt the consistency of the material. Back to the discussion of where I can get a proper cover? Does anyone know of some places I can get proper cover material, real sawmills? Anyone find a really good alternative? What about where to dump the buckets when you are done? I won't be composting the stuff in piles in my backyard like Joseph does because I won't have a backyard, so maybe a farm would take it or maybe composting facilities would, but I'm not sure. Any help is greatly appreciated.

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