HUMANURE and COMPOSTING TOILET SAFETY FACTS! - Save Major Money Avoiding Septic Systems

in homesteading •  2 years ago 


When you build a homestead, you have a choice that many people never consider. Unless your homestead is in a suburban area or within town limits, you will probably have this option. Question: Should you spend thousands of dollars to install a septic system or will a composting and humanure system be chosen?

At first glance, people recoil at the thought of pooping in a bucket or compost system. But studies have shown that a properly cared for system is safer in terms of germs and is much cleaner then a normal household toilet. Home toilets tied to the neighborhood sewer system are much dirtier. Why do you think the cleaning chemicals are so powerful that are sold in stores for keeping bathrooms clean?

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Studies Prove It

Studies have shown that every time you flush your toilet, you send a bacteria filled mist over the contents of your entire bathroom. Is your toothbrush in your bathroom? Yep, that is what studies show, fecal matter on your toothbrush.

Composting Humanure toilets have time and time again proven to be a safer, greener and CHEAPER alternative. Independent and University studies show over and over again the facts on the viability on humanure.

Below are our humanure bins where our compost sits for 1 full year before they are emptied. Both fecal waste and urine are mixed with carbon (wood chips) and nitrogen (hay) that allows the thermophilic process to take place. We just fill up the bins and let sit. It's a very low maintenance process.



The studies and links referenced in the video are listed below

  2. Video Playlist:
  3. Compost Sanitation Paper:
  4. Humanure Sanitation Paper:
  5. Cornell Study:
  6. Cornell Post:
  7. Modern Farmer Post:


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Definitely bookmarking this post. I live off-grid as well and have a composting outhouse. I use a barrel vs. bin method. I'm thrilled to see all the research and supporting evidence and will be sure to keep it on hand. A big thanks for gathering all of this in one spot.

Thanks for watching! It means a lot!

We vermiculure. Worms process the.waist faster and more thoroughly.

If you're putting the correct amount of carbon and nitrogen, the worms will leave your compost because they cannot live in such high temps. We add red wigglers to the gardens however. They are multiplying like crazy!

If you replace the straw with comfrey, you dont have the issue of heat any where near as badly. It makets for a really good system.

The heat is essential in killing any bacteria or pathogens in the manure. It is what makes it safe.

Negative ghost-rider. There are multiple ways of decomposition. Vermiculture processes waist most efficiently in the least amount of time. Look into it, its super cool

Ok, if you say so, I believe you, but according to the website and studies I mentioned, it will not kill bacteria and pathogens. They say vermiculture is better suited for food scraps and organic composting materials and not manure.

Pro Tip: use comfrey as the nitrogen source. Its extremely high in nitrogen and low in fiber making it perfect for composting and processing waist.

It grows wild around here but it would be time consuming to harvest a bunch of it. We use it for medicinal purposes however.

I used to use a lawn mower with a clipping bag to harvest it. It makes the job really efficient.

Great article and accompanying video. We are so looking forward to getting our humanure system started. Our property came with a septic system, but we still don't like the idea of throwing away such a precious source of nutrients for our fruit and nut trees.

Thanks for posting, Zac.

I totally know what you mean. I hate wasting things...even waste. :)

How does your system deal with the odor?

It doesn't smell AT ALL! We use Hickory chips/sawdust and that really absorbs any smell. The compost bins do not smell at all either. You wouldn't even know what they are if you walked up to them.

Didn't watch the video right now, but love the pics and the sentiment! I also think your use of the T-posts to hold in the front boards on the compost piles is ingenious. In the past, I have made grooved tracks to hold the front boards, but this is so much simpler.

Don't know if you mention in in video, but Joe Jenkins' The Humanure Handbook is an amazing resource that we used when doing our off-grid, off-septic toilet.

And here's my kicker: When we moved a couple miles down the road and back on the grid about 2.5 years ago, we brought our old humanure with us to spread on our flower gardens and some other perennials! It was like the nicest compost ever! How many people can say that they take their old shit and piss with them when they move??

Keep up the good work homesteaders!

YES! His books and website are a great source of information and peer reviewed studies on the safety of humanure. I totally recommend that in the video!

Good info, which is now saved for future use. When I get off grid or more off grid than I am now setting up the bins will be one of the first things that will be done!

This was the perfect post for a late morning sitdown in the crapper. Seriously, the wife and I are going to build one these before next fall.

wow. thank for sharing. i like this post :)

I have something similar at home, more rudimental thoe!

Shared to show some facts!

Perfect post! Resteemed!
check out my posts for all kinds of DIY sustainability stuff, and my other account @geetinstitute for revolutionary clean enery tech info, and Jeremy Marcotte's account, @geetrofits for his GEET and homesteading posts.
Looking forward to seeing and sharing more of your stuff!

Great video describing most of what I was looking for. I might have missed it but when the composting cycle is over ( one year) is it safe to use as standard compost for the garden or should it be just used for other items?

This is a great post with so much information to help educate us all on something that is a never ending resource that most people wouldn't ever think about or know about.
I wanted to share it but the little arrow thingy isn't showing for me...I don't know why, sorry.
I'll have to make sure my hubby @timmyoflinn checks this out for future planning. Thanks for sharing. :D

You might not see this message in time, but I wanted to share with you my composting toilet. I use a combination of my outhouse and an indoor setup similar to yours for night time or those super cold days. I'm not sure how you have your outdoor outhouses set up, but thought this might be an option for you. I didn't want to spam your page with my post, so I'll leave it here in the comments.