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Old 12-03-2019, 06:54 PM   #61
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Originally Posted by kazetsukai View Post
Putting the "composting" semantics aside for a moment-

So what is the process for "doing it right"?
I am far from an expert, and there is probably more than one right way (and many wrong ways) to do it. If you have land its simple, build a true composting system to compost the dry waste from your toilet. But if you don't have land, you need to figure out a more efficient system. The biggest no-no would seem to me to be "you can't **** on Sunday and dump on Monday (or Tuesday or Wednesday) and expect it to be compost, it is basically 'dry sewage.'" If you can design a system that sustains a heat of 125*+ for a few days, you now have safe waste (still not compost). The main principle is you either need a lot of time (not possible without land/space) or heat to make it safe and kill the pathogens.


I encourage you to read this relevant short section from the Humanure Handbook. The expedition/overland community (who often share the same constraints as busdwellers) have been wrestling with this problem as well, in greater depth than is being discussed here, here is a link to that conversation. I think because it is such a niche use of composting toilets, there isn't a ton of information on the legality, safety, or best practices out there in regards to the particular way we use our composting toilets.

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Originally Posted by kazetsukai View Post
This is what the proponents of composting toilets seem to be selling. The diaper or kitty litter arguments are seemingly good ones, too. Again, what is the right way to handle this?
I am in partial agreement with the diaper argument. Clearly if tossing human waste was an existential threat to public health we would not dispose of diapers this way. On the other hand there really isn't an agreed upon easy and efficient alternative to diapers (setting aside cloth diapers or composting diapers). And because we allow (or the system can handle) a little bit of something in situations where its hard to avoid doesn't mean the system could sustain many people who don't truly have a need for it using the system improperly. A bagged absorbent diaper with a baby sized amount of poop is much different than gallons of grown human waste. Like most systems, its overuse that causes the problem, its just a matter of figuring out where to draw the line.

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I'm not really committed one way or another, I'm just interested in what capabilities each solution brings to the table... and from my point of view composters bring the same type of capabilities as that of wood stoves (versus pellet stoves or gas fuels)- the potential to manage your own waste indefinitely, given land + time.
Yeah, I'm right there with you, this is the same reason I am most drawn to both composting toilets and woodstoves. But I think its important to be clearheaded about the pros and cons and proper use. Composting toilets don't magically make compost and woodstoves are not the most eco friendly option. But used appropriately both can be used responsibly and ethically, and cause little or no harm to yourself or others.

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If I wanted to see how to really deal with waste, mobile and in isolation, I'd probably start by looking at an international space station.
Yeah, although they have the benefit of millions of dollars of R&D and scores of engineeers . I think they recycle/reclaim pee, not sure what they do with poop, maybe incinerate it, maybe eject it into space, maybe some sort of chemical conditioning, maybe something. Now I'm curious
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Old 12-03-2019, 07:06 PM   #62
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Can anyone post a law saying properly bagged human waste can't be deposited in a dumpster? Name specific places it is illegal.

Here is what I found for your state (if your profile is up to date). Its admittedly vague, dense, and mostly applicable to stationary living.


I have heard many times from many people that it is illegal to toss non-diaper human waste in the trash, or in a landfill. It is treated as biohazard in the medical field and is disposed of separately. But I have never heard anything other than second hand accounts of the illegality of tossing dry human waste in the trash. I believe its true but would also like to see the actual laws for specific jurisdictions.
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Old 12-03-2019, 07:11 PM   #63
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I'm told that by using Sphagnum Peat Moss, due to it's higher carbon content, helps speed the composting process. Compost process needs carbon and nitrogen in a 30/1 ratio. Whether any of that happens while it's still in my bus is unimportant. I have a litter box in my kitchen, when the cats use it for #2, it does not smell, unless I feed them wet food. They pee outside, so you can't smell the box in the kitchen.
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Old 12-03-2019, 07:14 PM   #64
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Originally Posted by dzl_ View Post
Here is what I found for your state (if your profile is up to date). Its admittedly vague, dense, and mostly applicable to stationary living.


I have heard many times from many people that it is illegal to toss non-diaper human waste in the trash, or in a landfill. It is treated as biohazard in the medical field and is disposed of separately. But I have never heard anything other than second hand accounts of the illegality of tossing dry human waste in the trash. I believe its true but would also like to see the actual laws for specific jurisdictions.
And the only thing there is a recommendation to bury it 6"s deep. And don't use it on gardens that produce edible food.
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Old 12-03-2019, 07:19 PM   #65
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not to mention all the Doggy-Doo I see peopke toss in the trash ....
im guessing its to discourage it as a regular practice.. if you can imagine many more people tossing it out then it can cause big issues.. make the law a deterrent..

I think this is spot on. A few people tossing dry sewage into the trash trash isn't an existential threat to public health and sanitation. But if enough people do it, it posses a risk to waste management workers, to the groundwater (as does traditional septic in some cases) and so on. As with most things, in moderation and with responsible use, it may be okay.
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Old 12-03-2019, 07:33 PM   #66
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Some possible options for disposing of partially composted waste more properly (not endorsing any, just thinking out loud):

- If you have a homebase, start a compost pile and wait till you get home to dump your waste.

- Rig up a heated secondary chamber to dump into (only needs to sustain 115 degrees to be safe in 1-2 weeks). Maybe work it into your hydronic heating system or use a small electric tank heater to keep the temperature up.

- Dump the solid waste (AND an equal amount of water) into a pit toilet at a campground or elsewhere, if your absorbent material isn't likely to clog the pumping trucks


- Bury the waste 6-8 inches deep in a sunny (but not overly dry or cold) area, waaay off the beaten track. I wouldn't do this with toilet paper in it though, waste only.
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Old 12-03-2019, 10:41 PM   #67
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not to mention all the Doggy-Doo I see peopke toss in the trash ....
im guessing its to discourage it as a regular practice.. if you can imagine many more people tossing it out then it can cause big issues.. make the law a deterrent..
A few outliers make no real difference. If everyone abandoned running water and went back to the outhouse we'd have a sanitation crisis.
All these hep outbreaks are nothing compared to what we'd have then.
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Old 12-03-2019, 10:44 PM   #68
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Originally Posted by dzl_ View Post
I am far from an expert, and there is probably more than one right way (and many wrong ways) to do it. If you have land its simple, build a true composting system to compost the dry waste from your toilet. But if you don't have land, you need to figure out a more efficient system. The biggest no-no would seem to me to be "you can't **** on Sunday and dump on Monday (or Tuesday or Wednesday) and expect it to be compost, it is basically 'dry sewage.'" If you can design a system that sustains a heat of 125*+ for a few days, you now have safe waste (still not compost). The main principle is you either need a lot of time (not possible without land/space) or heat to make it safe and kill the pathogens.


I encourage you to read this relevant short section from the Humanure Handbook. The expedition/overland community (who often share the same constraints as busdwellers) have been wrestling with this problem as well, in greater depth than is being discussed here, here is a link to that conversation. I think because it is such a niche use of composting toilets, there isn't a ton of information on the legality, safety, or best practices out there in regards to the particular way we use our composting toilets.



I am in partial agreement with the diaper argument. Clearly if tossing human waste was an existential threat to public health we would not dispose of diapers this way. On the other hand there really isn't an agreed upon easy and efficient alternative to diapers (setting aside cloth diapers or composting diapers). And because we allow (or the system can handle) a little bit of something in situations where its hard to avoid doesn't mean the system could sustain many people who don't truly have a need for it using the system improperly. A bagged absorbent diaper with a baby sized amount of poop is much different than gallons of grown human waste. Like most systems, its overuse that causes the problem, its just a matter of figuring out where to draw the line.



Yeah, I'm right there with you, this is the same reason I am most drawn to both composting toilets and woodstoves. But I think its important to be clearheaded about the pros and cons and proper use. Composting toilets don't magically make compost and woodstoves are not the most eco friendly option. But used appropriately both can be used responsibly and ethically, and cause little or no harm to yourself or others.



Yeah, although they have the benefit of millions of dollars of R&D and scores of engineeers . I think they recycle/reclaim pee, not sure what they do with poop, maybe incinerate it, maybe eject it into space, maybe some sort of chemical conditioning, maybe something. Now I'm curious
THe liquids and solids are separated. The liquids are vented to space.
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Old 12-03-2019, 10:55 PM   #69
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THe liquids and solids are separated. The liquids are vented to space.
Pretty sure the liquids are recycled...

Water supply is at a premium up there...
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Old 12-03-2019, 11:00 PM   #70
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Pretty sure the liquids are recycled...

Water supply is at a premium up there...
Google it. I just did!

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The toilet used on the Space Shuttle is called the Waste Collection System (WCS). In addition to air flow, it also uses rotating fans to distribute solid waste for in-flight storage. Solid waste is distributed in a cylindrical container which is then exposed to vacuum to dry the waste. Liquid waste is vented to space.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_toilet
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Old 12-04-2019, 02:11 AM   #71
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A few outliers make no real difference. If everyone abandoned running water and went back to the outhouse we'd have a sanitation crisis.
All these hep outbreaks are nothing compared to what we'd have then.
Yes and no. In the big picture I agree with you, a few outliers (a few thousand people is probably a good conservative estimate) is not a big deal when thinking of the whole system. But.. If those 'few outliers' have similar patterns and visit similar places it can become a problem in those places. A few backpackers shitting in holes in the wilderness is no big deal, but it can become a big problem at popular backpacking places, especially when people don't do their business properly in a low impact way. The BLM and NPS and small towns have had similar problems in popular rafting locations (rafters pack their poop out, but it was becoming a problem when they were all dumping their waste in the same towns and facilities. Probably not a problem in most cases, but in concentration it can become a big deal.


I think if we are conscious about our decisions, and if we develop some personal best practices on how to dispose of solid waste safely and ethically. The relatively small number of people using composting toilets in vehicles don't pose a big problem. But the point I was trying to make by bringing this up, is that you do need to think of it as waste, not compost, and you do need to think about how best to dispose of it safely and not negatively affect others or act in a way that is more likely to make cities/states/parks pass laws prohibiting the use of composting toilets.
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Old 12-04-2019, 10:48 AM   #72
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Please read post #44

I agree with the logic in your post. It takes 1-2 years and higher temps to create real compost from human poo. What I don't agree with is carrying around poop and trying to keep it warm to make it “safe”. I find that backwards and extremely unsanitary.

Human feces is a bio-hazard substance.

Probably 99% of “composting toilets” on the road are not composting anything. They are tossing bio-hazard in trash bins a crossed the country.
The problems with this is- There are people that dumpster dive and recycle things from trash bins, we have hungry people in our country that eat out of trash bins. Garbage collectors are not suited or protected to collect bio-hazard waste.

The 1% of people that are realistically composting their feces are exposing themselves and anyone around them to their own bio-hazard risks. The poop buckets have to be transported to the compost area, dumped, buckets have to be cleaned. All that most likely happens with out proper bio-hazard handling protection(hope no open wounds get infected or no one rubs their lips !). I bet the flies love it !

Statistic data will say certain temps make feces “safe”, which might be true in a laboratory setting. In reality playing with poop, hauling it around, spreading it around those temps will be lost, files will be around and bare skin will be exposed.

To each their own, if someone wants to let their pig eat their poo, pile it up next to the junk cars, ….,? I don't really care as long as they keep it out of the water upstream.
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Old 12-04-2019, 11:07 AM   #73
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When I was building my first composting toilet I checked with the County health department and the garbage company.

What I got from them made sense. They said that they would prefer that you not put uncomposted fecal matter in the trash. If you must, then place it in a secure container in order to avoid human contact.
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Old 12-04-2019, 11:34 AM   #74
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I agree with the logic in your post. It takes 1-2 years and higher temps to create real compost from human poo. What I don't agree with is carrying around poop and trying to keep it warm to make it “safe”. I find that backwards and extremely unsanitary.

Human feces is a bio-hazard substance.

Probably 99% of “composting toilets” on the road are not composting anything. They are tossing bio-hazard in trash bins a crossed the country.
The problems with this is- There are people that dumpster dive and recycle things from trash bins, we have hungry people in our country that eat out of trash bins. Garbage collectors are not suited or protected to collect bio-hazard waste.

The 1% of people that are realistically composting their feces are exposing themselves and anyone around them to their own bio-hazard risks. The poop buckets have to be transported to the compost area, dumped, buckets have to be cleaned. All that most likely happens with out proper bio-hazard handling protection(hope no open wounds get infected or no one rubs their lips !). I bet the flies love it !

Statistic data will say certain temps make feces “safe”, which might be true in a laboratory setting. In reality playing with poop, hauling it around, spreading it around those temps will be lost, files will be around and bare skin will be exposed.

To each their own, if someone wants to let their pig eat their poo, pile it up next to the junk cars, ….,? I don't really care as long as they keep it out of the water upstream.
WTF...
Composting pOOp is no different than composting anything else like cow, chicken, etc...
HOWEVER each of these different pOOp types have different nitrogen levels which requires a different ratio of additives when making compost.
HOWEVER -- human feces can be a vector for human disease in a way that cow poop can't -- we don't typically get hep* from cows for example...

Suggest you read up on "night soil" The population of China is not all sick and dying so...

The hotter you run your compost pile the quicker it breaks down...
Getting it hot enough to ensure you kill any harmful pathogens will also mean the compost has little fertilizer value -- just a fact of composting.

NOTHING put in a sanitary landfill is composting -- there is no life -- no organic breakdown of the contents in a sanitary landfill -- the contents of the landfill will sit there virtually forever...
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Old 12-04-2019, 12:11 PM   #75
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WTF...
Composting pOOp is no different than composting anything else like cow, chicken, etc...
Wrong.. Human feces is full of diseases and is very harmful to humans. Cow and chicken manure is not near as hazardous and deadly to humans that is why it is not considered "Bio-Hazard”.

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Suggest you read up on "night soil" The population of China is not all sick and dying so...
I suggest you read up on "skid row" "bags of feces San Fransisco streets" "open sewers". People a crossed to globe live with open sewers and no sewers. People exposed to human feces get sick and die much more often.

Just because some book says gardening with poop is cool, doesn't mean it is safe. Volumes of scientific literature says poor human waste disposal is deadly and unhealthy.
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Old 12-04-2019, 12:27 PM   #76
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Guess I better put on a full bio suit each time I wipe my butt.....

By the way I have a black tank, that suits my use and needs best. If a human litter box works best for others that is ok too, just don't call it composting.
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Old 12-04-2019, 12:53 PM   #77
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Wrong.. Human feces is full of diseases and is very harmful to humans. Cow and chicken manure is not near as hazardous and deadly to humans that is why it is not considered "Bio-Hazard”.



I suggest you read up on "skid row" "bags of feces San Fransisco streets" "open sewers". People a crossed to globe live with open sewers and no sewers. People exposed to human feces get sick and die much more often.

Just because some book says gardening with poop is cool, doesn't mean it is safe. Volumes of scientific literature says poor human waste disposal is deadly and unhealthy.
Nice job of selectively quoting me -- you could work for Fox...

Of course pOOp! needs to be handled carefully -- just as your hyper-sensitivity to pOOp! apparently also needs to be handled carefully...

That doesn't change the fact that compost happens in weeks, or months, if properly aerated NOT in years as you suggest.
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Old 12-04-2019, 05:26 PM   #78
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That doesn't change the fact that compost happens in weeks, or months, if properly aerated NOT in years as you suggest.

This is false. I would like to see some real proof to back up this claim.(actually maybe not..)

Human feces take about 2 years to turn to compost aka “Humanure”. I have seen it in action and had discussions with people who have spent years doing it. Two years is with the optimum composting piles and conditions.

There is false and a very common misconception I believe is promoted by the $1000. poop bucket industry. It is a fairy tale that a person can buy a $1000. poop bucket called a “composting toilet” poop in it, sprinkle saw dust on it and dump out soil a week or two later. This is complete BS.. weeks later you will have human feces months later you will have human feces.
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Old 12-04-2019, 06:12 PM   #79
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Just build a steel black water tank and run your exhaust pipe through it, boil it off while you drive, might want to install a powered vent on it though ��
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Old 12-04-2019, 07:27 PM   #80
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This is false. I would like to see some real proof to back up this claim.(actually maybe not..)

Human feces take about 2 years to turn to compost aka “Humanure”. I have seen it in action and had discussions with people who have spent years doing it. Two years is with the optimum composting piles and conditions.

There is false and a very common misconception I believe is promoted by the $1000. poop bucket industry. It is a fairy tale that a person can buy a $1000. poop bucket called a “composting toilet” poop in it, sprinkle saw dust on it and dump out soil a week or two later. This is complete BS.. weeks later you will have human feces months later you will have human feces.
Only because I find you entertaining...
I'll quote MYSELF from post #47...
"Thank you for pointing out that what most folks describe as their "composting toilet" should really be referred to as their human litter box! which they then bag up and toss (just like you do with your cat...) in the trash -- and YES, this is illegal in most places but somehow baby diapers are exempt so... Their's no actual composting of their human waste..."

So I obviously agree you're not wrong about everything but you know nothing about making compost.
Garden waste put in a bag and taken to the dump will NEVER turn into compost either...

Now to the legality of actually composting human pOOp!
Every municipality will be different -- where I now live I have a septic system -- I pay a county health inspector to check it out every year -- failure to pay the inspection fee will result in a lien on my house by the county... the inspector will still come and inspect...
I suspect if I told the county I compost all my waste water now and there's no septic to inspect instead of a health inspector I'd have the sheriff coming to visit...

Be that as it may any pOOp! mixed with carbon based material (kitchen/garden waste, grass clippings, tree leaves etc) and rolled in a tumbler composter will turn into compost within weeks to a month or two depending on the heat you let the natural process take it to. Letting it get hotter will compost faster -- too hot and you will kill all the beneficial microbes doing the composting for you...
Turning pOOp! into compost is not the same thing as getting it hot enough/long enough to kill any possible pathogens -- this goes for human as well as canine pOOp!

My wife's home! No more time to waste (cheap pun! ) ...
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