Treasure Night Soil As If It Were Gold

Cheeky stuff…!

Interesting, well written and worth a read IMO.

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The go-to place for this subject…

Obviously not a popular subject.

I’m just guessing here but at some time in history came a turning point when upper-class Victorian prudery, if that’s the right word, invented the water closet.

I remember reading Mortissier’s book (actually now im questiining if it was him or the Scandinavian guy) about sailing around the world. At one point he ended up living on a pacific island that couldn’t grow anything much. Between composting down palm leaves and using human waste he was soon growing amazing things!

We’ve been using a compost toilet in the UK as described in the humanure book for over ten years. Our garden there is super fertile and produces a lot of our food. The only problem we ever had was rats in the compost heap.

A couple of years ago I made a pair of compost bins out of blocks on a concrete base. This solved the rat problem as they can’t get in. I also raised the compost heaps by putting plastic pallets on the base, covered in stainless steel mesh. There’s an air brick in the bottom layer of blocks, so the whole heap is aerated from below. The heat of the heap draws air in from the bottom.

I put in a pipe at the bottom to collect the liquid, and on a warm day collect over a gallon of what looks like baby bio. The liquid has a dramatic effect on plant growth! I realised that with the old system, sure, I gained a cubic metre or so of really good compost each year, but the best stuff, the liquid, has been draining into the ground the whole time!

Each compost bin is a cubic metre. It seems to me, not a lot of space. And far cheaper than a septic tank. And what it produces really is like gold for the garden. I haven’t used any other fertiliser for many years, and frequently have a freezer full of fruit and veg, and have given away boxes of tomatoes and squashes etc to the rest of the street.

The compost toilet is popular with the family. We are fully on grid, and have a normal toilet in the house, but no-one uses it. They prefer the compost toilet.

Frankly, the alternative, sending this good stuff away and paying for the privilege seems very old fashioned, inefficient, wasteful and polluting.

I’m planning to build a new house in France, and this kind of toilet will be the only one in the new house. It’s basically a bucket, with a container of sawdust beside it.


That is really interesting stuff - can you please post some photos of the compost beds.

Sorry, I’ve searched my phone and I don’t have any photos of the compost bins. Also, I’m in France for another month.

They’re just two bays side by side built of breeze blocks. There’s a shallow ply pitched roof. One side lifts off for emptying the buckets in. Down the front of the bays, I have panels that stay in place for two years - a year for filling the bay, and then it’s left to decompose for another year. Then I slide out the front panels to access the finished compost.

Most of the compost I shovel through a hatch into a nearby greenhouse where it stays in a corner for use in plotting plants.

There’s just one down side to my methods that I can see. In using the compost in the greenhouse, I find I start feeling kind of wheezy. If I’m going to use a lot of compost, I open all the windows and doors of the greenhouse. The stuff is fairly full of aspergillus and penecillium fungus. It’s not good to be breathing that! Lots of compost is full of the same mould spores, which is why commercial compost has a label advising you to wear a mask when you use it. Much less of a problem if the compost is used directly on needs outside rather than in a greenhouse.


I have an epub of The Humanure handbook edition 3 , if you like I can email you a copy for your perusal.

Are the French local authorities supportive of these types of systems if done correctly?

I’ll know a lot more about that when my planning permission is approved, but RT2020 is full of minimising the effect on the environment and supportive of things like rain water harvesting. I think I read they’d be happy with compost toilets so long as the resulting compost was used in the garden ( as opposed to being dumped I guess). But I’ve read a lot recently and not all of it in my native language… I certainly hope they’ll like the idea!

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I’m with Gabriel Garcia Marquez on this (fecal) matter.

Does that mean you are germophobic?

During an interesting guided-tour, a few years back, we saw houses built of straw (like the 3 little pigs) and composting toilets… amongst all sorts of other excellent ideas, which were being backed by the Local/Regional Authorities

The idea was to be as self-sufficient as possible… while helping the environment.
So, I think there’s a fair chance that @Pir8ped will find his local folk are sympathetic.

Nah, I don’t mind the Boxheads.

Ooo be careful there, someone may take umbrage…:smiley:

It’s when they try to annex the Sudetenland, you need to worry.

No no when they start bombing our chip shops!

Easier that singing that in German:

“ Dein Großvater hat unseren Chipsladen bombardiert!”

Just don’t mention the war, Basil.

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