green living – The Compost Toilet – part one

 

It’s nearly two months now, that we used our school’s new compost toilets for the first time and I think it is the moment to give a first update: I am totally taken with it. They are just great!
 
A year ago some friends gave us the idea to build toilets that do not need canalization or water tubes; toilets of which one’s business will become compost earth to be used in the garden; Toilets that do nut flush away three liters of fresh and pure drinking water after every session; Toilets that do not need more than a seat, a bucket and some sawdust.
And because we always tend towards greener ways of living, we immediately wanted to give it a go and we searched the net on how to do it.
In the beginning it all sounded a bit strange to us and we feared that going to the loo and not flashing it all away with water would be something smelly and dirty. But the idea of re-using human manure for the garden, such as we also use animal manure, appealed very meaningful to us.  After having read several blogs and articles about this topic, we were totally into it. It all made so much sense and seemed so easy, practical and good. It matched the school’s low budget and our values at the same time and it gave us the chance to try something new in this valley which could become a longtime solution to ecological problems that begin to crop up here.

We built a little traditional clay house in the yard behind the school with two separate rooms for the boy’s and girl’s toilets. The carpenter made two wooden boxes with a top to open and a regular seat. Inside we put a metal bucket and beneath the box we put one basket with sawdust and one for the used cloth-pieces (instead of toilet paper).

Everything looks really nice and clean, and after having explained clearly to the pupils how to use the toilets, all works very well now. There is nothing disgusting or nauseating, nearly no smell (not more than in a normal toilet) and no dirt expect maybe some sawdust on the floor. When you open the seat you only see wooden snippets and after having done your business you simply throw a handful of sawdust into the bucket to cover everything.
When the bucket is full, I take it out and bring it to the wooden compost box behind the house – again nothing disgusting is to bee seen, and the box gets filled now with sawdust, human manure and vegetable leftovers from the kitchen.
I am really looking forward to see all of this slowly becoming rich, nurturing earth, inchallah.
But until then, I simply enjoy the easy maintenance of our new toilets and the feeling of practicing something really green and good. Alhamdulillah.

 

For more information look here:

http://www.wikihow.com/Build-a-Composting-Toilet  

http://humanurehandbook.com/humanure_toilet.html 

http://theorganicsister.com/on-composting-toilets-and-humanure/

http://www.tcpermaculture.com/

http://sallygardens.typepad.com/sallygardens/2008/01/excrementation.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compost_toilet

Or write me an email, if you need further instructions.

  
 

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27 thoughts on “green living – The Compost Toilet – part one

  1. für die komposttoilette eignet sich auch humus- erde 1-2 schaufeln düber geben es bilden sich keine gerüche eine gute alternative zu den holzspänen.

    assalamualaikum

  2. Hmmm… I am in love…
    Assalaamu alaikum, composting everything, that’s just my thing. I just wonder, just wonder… How do you do with washing with water? Shame this wouldn’t work in any western two bed apartment 🙂
    I wish you all the best***

  3. You are a very brave woman. This might be my very last choice after doing everything else. Also, we don’t own our place, so it’s a good excuse for my conscious for the time being. A round of applause to you my friend!

    Peace.

  4. as salaamu `alaykum…

    I am totally all for green living but like insteadofletters, am wondering whether your facilities allow for istinja. I applaud your efforts and wish you much success 🙂

  5. Wow, you never cease to amaze me Itto! Masha Allah, you are both creative and brave. I’ve used toilets like this in New Mexico, they are somewhat common there, lots of green-minded people.
    Allah bless you always dear sister.

  6. salam aleikoum sisters,
    thanks for your motivating comments. I see your concerns regarding wudu (abolution before prayer). This has to be done separate, outside the toilet, such as it is the case with traditional moroccan toilets (the hole in the floor-toilets).
    We normally take a little bucket with warm water and go outside to a hidden place behind the house for wudu.
    But if you have the compost toilet inside your house, you would simply go afterwards to the bathroom to do wash for prayer.

  7. Jazakillah khayran Itto 🙂 I was actually meaning to wash oneself after using the toilet, not making wudu. Do your facilities allow that? I do like the nice sink or wash area you have made.

  8. Some people use toilet paper for istinja and there a differing opinions about this. The same as using a bidet, if you prefer water (as I do) I’m sure something could be worked out 😉

  9. Br00ke, yes I love that Itto has cloth towels! My husband is looking into getting some farm land and working on his passion – green living – so this is why I’m hijacking this comment box LOL! We’ve had solar panels and are looking into growing things now in a small way but we’ve not thought about a compost toilet. Yes, we do prefer water so I am thinking there has to be a separate area for that. What would we do without the bidet! 😛

  10. It has been a long time since I came across a blog as interesting and as absorbing as yours. I hope you don’t mind me having posted on your blog and including it under my one of the few ‘Sites Of Note’.

    God bless you and your family.

  11. Imaan, Well, I was thinking I should maybe just right a blog post response since I have so much to say 😉 but that will never happen. Green is really interesting here in Morocco and a lot of it seems financially initiated, such as there are many people in the cities using solar paneling–something I hardly ever see in the states, but it’s a cheaper investment in the long run. Also people do quite a bit of “recycling” food, like uneaten household bread products are resold to be fed to livestock–though some people just “separate out” their bread at the curbside for others to collect and profit off of it. But then many people still burn trash because, even though it is illegal, it would otherwise be costly to dispose of. And people reuse and repurpose here so well, masha Allah, but mostly for $$$ reasons as opposed to environmental concerns.
    So, just as we are seeing in the US, unfortunately, people generally need monetary incentives to do these things…this compost toilet would save a lot for people who pay for water 😉 I hope to build a run-off tank to catch our bath and kitchen water for reuse in the garden, insha Allah.

  12. MashaALLAH, ich bewundere, wie konsequent du bist. Ich kann mir das mit den Sägespänen sehr gut vorstellen, bestimmt gibt es auch die Möglichkeit, Wasser zum Reinigen zu benutzen, aber was mich unglaublich große Überwindung kosten würde, ist, den vollen Eimer fröhlich zum Kompost zu tragen und ihn dort auszuleeren. Ich weiß nicht, ob ich dazu in der Lage wäre.
    Ich würde eher ein großes Loch graben, darauf die Toilette stellen und wenn das Loch ziemlich voll würde, es komplett mit Erde bedecken und die Toilette über ein neues Loch stellen. Wäre das eigentlich machbar?
    Und was die Tücher zum Abwischen betrifft, du musst sehr tough sein, sie später alle von Hand zu waschen… Möge dir Allah ta aala immer die Kraft dafür geben.

    Noch eine Überlegung: Wenn ich mir den Toilettensitz so anscheue, wäre es nicht besser, ihn etwas weiter nach vorn auf den Kasten zu setzen? Kinder haben ja noch nicht so lange Beine und es ist vielleicht nicht so angenehm, wenn sich die harte Kante des Kastens in die Schenkel bohrt.

    Das Design des Waschbeckens finde ich übrigens sehr gelungen. Ganz simpel, aber doch sehr hübsch. Und die Späne laden wirklich zun Hineingreifen ein.

    Wa salam alaikum, enim sou

  13. salam aleikoum sister enim sou,
    thank you so much for the ideas and further thinking about the toilet. I will definetly think about the place for the seat. and yes, doing the toilet on top of a hole, which will be simply closed when full, is an option and one of the many different ways on how to do a compost toilet.
    but emptying the bucket is not that bad, because you really do not see much more than the sawdust, and it doesn’t smell a lot.
    by the way, I do not wash the cloths by hand, that would be much too much work. I have a washing machine (one of the few technical things I really treasure, alhamdulilah), and I wash the cloths on 95°C to make them really clean and germ-free. we have enough cloths, so I have to wash only once a week.

  14. salamualaikum,
    maschaAllah so viele Gedanken, da muss man sich erst einmal durchlesen..
    Ich finde die Idee gut und denke, dass es machbar ist/auch für mich machbar wäre (ich kenne ja ein wenig die Umstände am/im Atlasgebirge und ich wäre einfach nur überglücklich überhaupt eine Toilette zu haben!;) Als wir letztes mal beim “Großvater” an den Bergen waren, da waren sie gerade dabei eine Toilette zu bauen…Es war irgendwie lustig, der Großvater meines Mannes sah dem ganzen schmunzelnd zu…er ist sicherlich schon weit über 90 Jahre alt und hatte sein Leben lang gar keine Toilette..was für ein Erlebnis:)schade, dass ich jetzt erst über die Kompost-Toilette lese..ich hätte ihnen das auf jeden Fall vorgeschlagen..
    Lg und hoffentlich bis bald:) mal so in ganz echt;))
    JenMuna

  15. Itto, each new idea you have is brilliant!
    I read a little bit about it before and I think you are doing good by setting this up for the school and it is so good for the earth. People were doing this before. Nowadays in big cities it is a bit too much but if we understand and become all more caring for our planet I am sure we will start to see many benefits to it.
    Well done, looking forward reading more on this later! Take care

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  19. Most people would freak out about the whole idea but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. Kudos for coming up with such wonderful idea.

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