Humanure composting for Homeless

The International Compost Sanitation Forum and Message Board: Humanure Composting Around the World: Humanure composting for Homeless
Author: Ecointerest (Ecointerest)
Thursday, August 27, 2009 - 3:40 am
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PS... I suspect that a Humanure system, designed for, and set up by some communities, specifically for those people within the community would not be regarded as a Public facility. It could be a very good way of educating so many people... visitors as well as community members.
Also, if several Humanure units were in use, the servicing and emptying of those units would provide employment as well. A central composting area would probably work well.

Author: Ecointerest (Ecointerest)
Thursday, August 27, 2009 - 1:58 am
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Here in Australia I have seen, over the past few years, several instances where the use of composting toilet systems has not been at all effective for the Public utility.
You have several factors which mitigate against it being successful.
First, (and Joe has mentioned this in his Handbook), "fecophobia." People "do it," drop their paper down, turn away and run! They don't want to even think about the pro's and con's of how the system works. So they will not normally read any notices or instructions you put on the wall.
Secondly, laziness. No consideration for how they leave the facilities; leaving it dirty, untidy, messy pedestal and/or seat. If there is a notice about adding sawdust the notice is ignored.
Thirdly, habitual wastage. Adding lots and lots of toilet paper can fill the bin quickly. Also, any sawdust which does get dropped down there does not smother the feces properly.
Fourthly, vandalism. I have known sticks more than a yard long, being dropped into the composting chamber. Bottles, beer cans, diapers, plastic bags, rocks.... all manner of stupid things, which stop the composting process working properly.
Next, I have seen an instance where the builders put up a very nicely designed building to house the composting toilet. Yet they had left lots of gaps for air to get through. Great for the old "long drop dunny," which tends to smell foul if you don't air the place. But disastrous for a composting toilet, where you want the fan to pull air down the tube and out the flue at the top. Wind blown into the cubicle causes vortices and sucks any smells back up into the cubicle.
Finally, 3 or 4 public roadside facilities, where the wash basin water was designed to drain into the composting chamber! Carbonaceous material was never added. The chamber was almost full, within a few feet of the pedestal. Such a disgusting, pongy mess I have never seen before or since. You would not want to put you butt down onto the seat!
All these cases tend to give the concept of composting toilets a very bad name. And we remember the bad cases more than the good ones.
When house owners install any composting toilet system, we have a desire to make them work well, for the sake of reputation if nothing else. So yes, they are great for personal use.
I hope this has given everyone room for thought, and I would be happy for it to become a topic for further discussion.
(How can it be put into a new Topic heading?)

Author: Meismeems (Meismeems)
Tuesday, August 25, 2009 - 5:41 pm
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I imagine they'll figure out soon enough that the Jenkins system would work much nicer. That's a brilliant idea though! Public toilets are lacking in most areas. With some maintenance composting toilets could be set up in every city for anyone to use.

Author: Larry Warnberg (Larry_warnberg)
Friday, April 18, 2008 - 2:25 pm
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Urban homeless need toilets too, so some innovative University of Washington architecture students in Seattle developed a simple composting privy from recycled materials. Check out the short video and description of the design competition for the homeless on this link: https://uwnews.org/uweek/uweekarticle.asp?articleID=41094
The blue barrel toilet receptacle may not be the most effective or practical. My preference would be a bucket and sawdust system.

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