Compost toilet and humanure

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WHAT IS HUMANURE ?

Humanure (human manure) is human fecal material and urine recycled for agricultural purposes via composting.

HUMANURE AT SUNSEED

Here at Sunseed, we are off-grid and therefore are not linked to general water and sewage systems. We use compost toilets as a way to process and re-use our own waste. Compost toilets are a great way of making our lives more sustainable by:

Saving water: Compost toilets are dry toilets, they don’t use any water as they have no flush. Generic toilets use drinking water for their flushes, wasting a very precious resource. Reducing our water consumption is particularly important here as we live in a semi-arid area.

Recycling human waste: by using compost toilets we transform human waste into a useful resource. Humanure is a free and nutrient-rich compost, increasing the fertility of our soil.

Avoiding pollution: Generic toilets and sewage systems create pollution by adding excess nutrients into natural water systems. By using compost toilets we don’t create pollution, instead we use the nutrients, creating a closed system.

PROCESSES

In the compost toilets, urine and poo (other term ? Feces, caca, solid waste) are separated, to prevent the compost getting too wet and smelly because of the anearobic/aerobic process (add a link to website explaining this)

we are aiming for a aerobic environment to help organic matters to be break down (by insects and aerobic bacterias)

– Urine

The urine is separated from the solid waste and goes into our waste water system or is sometimes used in hot compost process.

– Poo

Our toilets are raised of the grounds, on top of several large chambers. We use one chamber at a time to store the poo. After each use, dry matters (sawdust, straw, leaves) are added to the human waste to balance moisture levels. When the chamber is full, we then close it and leave it to break down for a year and start using a different chamber.

After a year, the compost is ready to be collected and safe to be used : we remove it from the chamber and bring it to a open area where we leave it to rest for six more months covered by mulch. It is then transferred to the drylands nursery where it is composted again by adding more nitrogen-rich materials (eg : green leaves) to complete the break down of any woody material.

USES

The humanure is used as a fertilizer in our tree nursery to grow native trees and bushes for our landscape restoration department. We also use it when planting the young plants out in the environment, to increase soil fertility and growing success as we are in a semi-arid area with very poor soil.