bucket compost toilet system instructions

contents introduction


the toilet


cover material


using the toilet


the compost


setting up


using the compost


find out more


this  instruction  manual  is  made  available   under  creative  commons    public  license  attribution  3.0  NZ   http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/nz/


Bucket compost toilets are the simplest, most effective way to turn humanure into a safe and valuable compost resource. But it is a hands-on technique that relies on the user taking an active and informed role in the process. We encourage you to become intimate with the whole process, and strive for best practice, so that you end up with a compost you feel proud of and can feel excited about using in your garden. There is a wealth of information available on the internet and we encourage you to go deeper and be an informed and responsible pioneer of this technique in New Zealand. We are personally committed to ensuring best-practice use of these toilets so get in touch if you have any questions. But ultimately it is up to you to make sure your toilet system operates effectively and safely.

Happy crapping,

Greg Inwood & Lisa Johnston [email protected]

the toilet Your toilet box is handmade using untreated Douglas Fir for the box, and plywood for the lids and seat. The design is inspired by the Loveable LooTM as shared by Joe Jenkins on his website http://humanurehandbook.com/ . The toilet is designed to fit a 20L bucket. We recommend having 20L buckets in reserve so that you can collect several buckets of humanure and put them all into your compost in one batch. This will give the compost sufficient mass to reach hot pathogen killing temperatures. We recommend keeping your toilet out of direct sunlight and keeping it dry & clean. If condensation collects on the inside of the lid, wipe it dry. Or to prevent this from happening, leave all of the lids up and put the bucket lid on instead.

cover material The cover material is what you cover your poo & pee with in your bucket. It should be carbon rich, absorbent and chemical free. For example: • •

forest litter untreated sawdust (semi broken down is best)

• •

dry leaves shredded paper

• •

soil untreated wood shavings.

A mixture of fine and coarse things is best because the fine things will break down more easily and the coarse things will create air spaces in the compost pile.

Forest litter from underneath a stand of broom, mixed with aged untreated sawdust – an ideal cover material.

using the toilet • When you start a new bucket put about four cups of cover material in the empty bucket. • Sit down and do your business as per usual.


• After you are done, place a cup or two of cover material in the toilet to completely cover your deposit. • If you have peed in the bucket put in some extra cover material to soak it up. • We recommend lifting all three parts of the lid to put the cover material directly into the bucket. This will ensure you don’t get cover material caught between the seat and lid, which will damage the finish on the wood. • Toilet paper and the cardboard toilet roll should be dropped into the bucket too. • When you are done, put the toilet seat back down and/or replace the bucket lid, making sure your bucket is inaccessible to flies. Note that the best way to keep flies away is to completely cover your poo with cover material.

This is how it should look after you have covered your deposit with cover material.

• NEVER put any chemicals, anti-bacterial products, bleach, deodorisers or anything inorganic into the toilet, these may disrupt the composting process by harming the beneficial microbes.

the compost Just like regular compost, a humanure compost needs air, moisture, and a balance of carbon and nitrogen to work optimally. Poo and pee are relatively high in nitrogen, so most of the cover material you add should be rich in carbon, to create the balance. Additionally, you need to make sure that animals and insects cannot get in and out of the part of the pile with humanure in it. You will also need to ensure that excessive leachate from the pile does not go into the ground. It is fine to use your humanure compost pile for other composting materials such as household food scraps, garden weeds, and all of the usual things that go into a healthy compost pile. But do not add lime or ash, as these may inhibit microbial activity.

setting up First make a frame for your compost. We recommend using pallets lined with chicken wire to prevent rodents from getting into your compost. Your compost frame should be at least 1m3 to ensure your compost has enough biomass for hot pathogen killing composting to take place. Dig a dish shaped depression in the ground at the base of the compost. This will ensure that any liquids that do manage to leach through will travel in towards the centre. Put a thick layer of coarse dry absorbent organic material down. This will help to soak up any liquids that seep through the pile. This layer can be really thick as it will squash down once the compost is piled on top. Dry straw, dry leaves and weeds are a good option.

Dish  shaped  depression   in  the  base  of  the  compost  

Thick  layer  of  coarse  absorbent  organic  material  in  the  base   of  the  compost  pile.    

using the compost Before emptying your poo buckets into the pile, make a small dish shaped depression in the centre of the pile and then put all of your poo mixture into the middle. You are trying to create a protected ‘nest’ of humanure in the centre of your compost pile. We recommend collecting several buckets of humanure and putting them in all at once. This is called ‘batching’ and it increases the likelihood of your compost reaching hot pathogen killing temperatures. Once you have placed the contents of your buckets into the centre of the pile, rinse the buckets clean, scrubbing the sides of the bucket with a toilet brush, and pour the rinse water into the centre of the pile as well. If you want to use soap, make sure it is a very small amount and that it is a gentle eco-friendly soap. If it is a sunny day the buckets can be left out in the sun to solar sterilize. Cover the poo mix completely with a thick (at least 30cm) layer of cover material such as straw, leaves, weeds, forest litter etc. Make sure you have plenty of cover material on hand so that you can cover it up straight away. Next time you come along to empty your toilet buckets, draw back the cover material with a pitch fork, put the contents of your buckets into the hot centre of the pile, then draw back the cover material, and add another fresh layer of cover material on the top. If you live in a place with high rainfall, you should also cover your compost with a water resistant cover. If you have problems with rodents, birds or other animals getting into your pile, you will need to cover off the pile with chicken wire and/or lay out some traps. When the pile is full, make sure your compost pile is really well covered with cover material and leave it alone without adding any more humanure for at least one year. You will probably need to have 2 or 3 compost piles so that you have a new pile to add to while the finished pile is aging for a year. We manage to put 4 or 5 batches of 8 or 9 buckets into 1 pile before leaving it for the year. After a year is up, use the compost in the garden. If you have any doubts about pathogens then don’t use it on food crops, but dig it into an ornamental part of the garden or under fruit trees. As you confidence grows with the composting process you may be more inclined to use your finished compost on food crops.

find out more We recommend the humanure handbook by Joe Jenkins. This is a great primary resource and is available for purchase or can be viewed for free at www.humanurehandbook.com. The website also has a wealth of other useful videos, instructions & links.

instruction booklet.pdf

... of this technique in New. Zealand. We are personally committed to ensuring best-practice use of these toilets. so get in touch if you have any questions. But ultimately it is up to you to make sure. your toilet system operates effectively and safely. Happy crapping,. Greg Inwood & Lisa Johnston. [email protected].

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