What would you like to know?
Share this Story

Humanure and Composting Toilets

Melissa is the assignment editor and contributing writer for SheKnows Home and Living. While other little girls were playing dress up with Barbie, Melissa was busy remodeling Barbie's house. She now lives out her dream covering design an...

We generally accept the idea of adding cow manure or bird droppings to the garden as a fertilizer, but thinking about using the waste that comes out of our own bodies is frankly pretty gross. When you think about it (not that you want to), our own poop could be a valuable gardening resource, not to mention the environmental benefits of reducing sewage waste. Composting toilets are becoming popular as a way to harvest "humanure". Read on for the basics of this very natural practice.


We generally accept the idea of adding cow manure or bird droppings to the garden as a fertilizer, but thinking about using the waste that comes out of our own bodies is frankly pretty gross. When you think about it (not that you want to), our own poop could be a valuable gardening resource, not to mention the environmental benefits of reducing sewage waste. Composting toilets are becoming popular as a way to harvest "humanure". Read on for the basics of this very natural practice.

A composting toilet is a specially designed toilet that allows for the safe decomposition of human waste. Instead of flushing waste into a sewage line or septic system, these toilets collect the waste until it is composted enough to add to a traditional compost bin that is designated only for human waste. The composting toilet can be located indoors or outside, and it is used just like a regular toilet. You can even drop in toilet paper, since paper is compostable. Every time waste is added to the bin, cover it with a fresh organic material, like leaves, to keep the odor at bay. It's not the prettiest method of creating fertilizer, but it's certainly another option for complete sustainability.

While urine is generally accepted as a safe addition to any compost bin, human solid waste is a bit riskier just because of the microbial activity and potentially harful bacteria present in our poo. That's why it's often recommended to only use humanure (human + manure) compost on non-edibles, like flower gardens and trees. Some folks do use humanure for vegetable gardens without any problems, but if you want to go this route, be sure to check the humanure compost temperature to ensure the waste gets hot enough to kill bad bacteria.

Adding Humanure Compost to a Garden:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ynUNOsMrO1k[/youtube]
Tagged in
manure
Recommended for You
Comments
Hot
New in Home
Close

And you'll see personalized content just for you whenever you click the My Feed .

SheKnows is making some changes!