Monday, September 22, 2008

Get your inner pre-schooler ready...

[Shawn, this post is for you!]

People don't generally like to talk about poop. But it's something we have to deal with, w/r/t the Tiny House plans, and honestly, life. We don't want a septic system and we've I've kinda latched onto the idea of a composting toilet. [Keith is trusting that I've done the necessary research.]

What are our options?

Obviously we can't afford a fancy schmancy chemical toilet---and I mean, seriously, that's a ridiculous amount of money to spend on something you poop in! That's as much as ALL THE LUMBER to build our house. And besides: chemicals. The less, the better.

So, the $25 sawdust toilet is closer to our price range.
But it involves dumping buckets of poop.
In the winter, I can see where that might be a less-than-ideal wedge on the chore wheel.
I am, however, willing to suck it up (figuratively) for the planet.

Intrigued by internet research suggesting a sawdust toilet might be the answer, I requested from the library: The Humanure Handbook ("...provides detailed scientific information on how humanure can be hygienically recycled, without fancy technological do-dads, a large bank account, toxic chemicals, or environmental pollution.") Yes, yes, it's all safe and you won't die or contract terrible diseases from composting your poop.

I know you're wondering: WHY?!?! would we even consider this?

Why you should compost your poop instead of flushing it into the sewer or septic system:
  • to prevent water pollution (almost 4 trillion gallons of sewage effluent are dumped into our coastal waterways each year);
  • to fertilize the soil (rich in soil nutrients, humanure can be safely recycled by thermophilic composting);
  • to protect our dwindling drinking water supplies (nearly 1/3 of all household drinking water is used to flush toilets) ;
  • to enhance our health. Fertile soil not only grows great veggies, but nourishes our health and community's well-being.
I found this great blog about some people living a low-impact lifestyle in France. Here's their instructions to build a composting toilet, or loo, as they say en franรงais. Endearing, those frenchies.

Other countries are all about the composting toilet. Not everyone worldwide (in fact, surprisingly few people) has access to indoor plumbing. And others who do have indoor plumbing, have figured out what a massive waste flush toilets actually are.

Here in the US we're a little more puritanical about poop and other bodily functions. I am guilty of this as well. It will take a shift in mindset, I know. But it makes sense. If you can be just a little open-minded. I can give you a pep talk if you need one. Poop PowerPoint?!

I want to print out this for the Tiny House---hilarious!

Also, slightly related: Urban composting in a Rubbermaid container.


evangeline said...

omg. i'm so jealous.

ps. lani just walked in and goes, "why is there a stop sign that says POOP on the computer?"


mockum said...

The reason I like the idea of a composting toilet is that it is so much cheaper than a flush toilet. I don't like the idea of having a composting toilet inside, though. Fortunately, since I'm a guy, I only need it for number two and for that I can go outside. Nothing like some fresh air on the bum. 'Course I'm not doing that now. Maybe once I went outside a few times, I'd be bringing the toilet inside. Another reason: it's portable.

April said...

yeah, going outside in the winter wouldn't work for me...
is it the smell you're worried about? if you use the correct amount and kind of cover material there is ZERO smell (cedar sawdust recommended).
and yeah, portability---i've seen sites that recommend you take it to concerts or other outdoor arenas where you can string up a tarp and not have to wait in line for the portas. but i don't think i'm that brave.

CN said...

when the depression hits, can I come and park/live in my car near your house?

will work for food.

April said...

we'll be accepting applications.