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8 Ways to Compost

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Humanure Composting

This one is probably not for the squeamish. But with astounding amounts of fresh water being flushed down the toilet everyday, and fertilizer becoming an ever-more-precious resource, more and more people are turning to the idea of human waste as a valuable commodity.

If you want to start small, just go ahead and pee on your heap. Urine is a great compost activator, and a source of phosphate and nitrogen. But ladies, you should know that male pee may be better for the heap than female pee. (At least we boys are good for something…)

But for those who take the idea of composting human waste seriously, a composting toilet is the way to go. The humanure system was pioneered by Joseph Jenkins of The Humanure Handbook.

In The Humanure Handbook, waste is transported regularly from the household to the compost heap and then turned to ensure a hot decomposition.

Jenkins sells a “Loveable Loo” (video shown here) that is supposed to make waste collection and transportation relatively hassle free.

Other options include high-tech composting toilets, and basic traditional composting outhouses and “tree bogs” where waste is left for a longer period of time, but not necessarily composted hot.

Anyone wanting to attempt humanure composting or composting toilets should do some reading first, and establish their comfort zone in terms of contact with poop, and safety.

Most composting toilet advocates suggest the end result should not be used on parts of plants that will be eaten directly (eg carrots or lettuce), but rather fruit trees or bushes where no contact between poop and food is likely to happen. You should also do some research into legalities and planning issues in your area, although there are plenty of people with humanure toilets in the heart of the city.

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102 comments

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4:42AM PST on Feb 18, 2014

thank you

8:50PM PST on Feb 16, 2014

Very informative. Especially the part about peeing on compost.

8:59PM PDT on Sep 15, 2013

always something to learn.......

8:57AM PDT on Aug 13, 2013

Thank you, AWESOME ARTICLE; I did not know all of these.

Read more: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/80-items-you-can-compost.html#ixzz2bri61IGf

8:06AM PDT on Aug 4, 2013

Thanks 4 the suggestions.

7:18AM PDT on Aug 4, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

10:52PM PDT on Aug 3, 2013

Thanks for the tips.

4:16AM PDT on Jul 12, 2013

Is it eco-friendly?

7:05PM PDT on May 21, 2013

compost everything, and share the some of the worms with my neighbor's chickens

11:40AM PST on Feb 2, 2013

growing up, we had a large garden and every fall my dad and brothers would collect the curbside bagged leaves and dump them on the garden to compost over the winter. in the spring, they were plowed in. we had the richest garden soil around. no fertilizer required.

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