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Old 09-06-2012, 10:19   #1
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Cruising the Caribbean with a compositing toilet?

Well, I am at that point ( twitch twitch). Every sailor sooner or later looks at this option, the magical compositing toilet. I've read bunched, understand as much as I want to.
Looking for cruisers who have had their compositing toilets in the Caribbean, using them for a couple years. What do ya think?first hand experience please
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Old 09-06-2012, 10:21   #2
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Re: Cruising the Caribbean with a compositing toilet?

Oh, please specify brand you have, how many aboard. Any schematics or helpful too links Thanks!!
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Old 09-06-2012, 14:49   #3
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Re: Cruising the Caribbean with a composting toilet?

I mean composting toilet.
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Old 09-06-2012, 14:57   #4
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Re: Cruising the Caribbean with a composting toilet?

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Originally Posted by Ocean Girl View Post
I mean composting toilet.
Ahhhh now I know what you mean In the Caribbean? I would not buy one at all. Everything is direct overboard and same for the land sewers too, that often dump raw, unprocessed waste.

ciao!
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Old 09-06-2012, 15:07   #5
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Re: Cruising the Caribbean with a compositing toilet?

the blonde hair is working overtime today.
Thanks for the reply
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Old 09-06-2012, 21:08   #6
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AirHead, C-Head, Nature's head

Well my convoluted attempt to get info earlier about composting toilets, not compositing toilets( spell check, that's my story) yielded little results. So I will try a more direct approach.

AirHead
C-Head
Natures head

Anyone have one of these?
Pros and cons?
How about in tropical climates?

What's with the coffee filters?

Why use the grey vent hose you see that comes with the composting heads?
Seems it would leech odor, why not PVC or marine grade head hose?

Silly question- can you dump the fully composted waste overboard?

We are tired of holding tanks, stinky hoses. We would really like to live with a smaller eco footprint, I'm size 5 1/2( just kidding). Anyways, it would be nice to not pump overboard even when allowed/or where the laws are ignored.

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Old 10-06-2012, 07:58   #7
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Re: AirHead, C-Head, Nature's head

Really? You haven't found any posts here on composting heads? There's a bunch of em. But let me get you started. I do have the Air Head on my boat. With all due respect to member Peg Hall because she's an expert and a great wealth of info on heads, I stated here before and still stand by it. One of the best decisions I made on my boat was going to the Air Head. All smell is gone and I have more room on my boat where the holding tank and hoses used to be. Other than having to frequently empty the urine bottle it's been pure pleasure to have it on board. I've worked on plenty of old school marine heads, mostly in uncomfortable seas. The idea that some captains put forth that "If you clog it or break it you fix it" is a fairy tale with guests on board. If you hand a guest a screw driver and tell him to fix what he just clogged up, you'll come back an hour later and just have a guest standing there holding a screw driver next to a clogged head. Last year we had a couple aboard that were new to boats. I explained to them how to use the Air Head and told them what not to put in there. A month later I emptied the base. They didn't listen, a standard marine head would have choked, but the Air Head worked perfectly as advertised. I use it exclusively in the Tropical climate. The coffee filters are cheap and work well. The vent hose is not an issue for smells because it does not carry any waste product through it. I've left my boat closed up for weeks at a time with the Air Head full and never have a smell issue. I carry an extra Home Depot five gallon bucket with lid and heavy duty trash bags on board for the rare times I have to dump the Air Head before I reach shore. I'm not green, a tree hugger, or care much about footprints, but I'm greener that those with holding tanks by far.
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Old 10-06-2012, 10:40   #8
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Re: AirHead, C-Head, Nature's head

Thanks Tellie, I found the composting thread after posting two threads yesterday about composting ( blonde on cold medicine say anything to ya?). Does this mean Peggy Hall doesn't like em? I think I'm on 11 of page 29 of the composting thread, so will keep reading through.

Your Air head is standard? Did you modify it in any way? Bigger vent? Did you use the mini in line fan and nicro vent?


Though I spout the 'green small footprint', and I really do, my motives aren't totally pure....
Brian and I had to leave Rain Dog Suddenly last year when I got sick. Brian had closed all the seacocks and flushed the newly replaced head and sanitation hoses with fresh water. We had our pump out service empty our holding tank ( yes our vents were clear) etc. Months later we came back to a stinky stinky boat. This is after spending thousands on all new sanitation system. It was the last straw, I told my husband I'd rather use a bucket, pee in a cup than live with the marine head. We were looking at buying a porta potti when I ran into the composting toilet idea.

I will see if I can get the mods to add this to the composting thread.

Thanks,
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Old 10-06-2012, 14:30   #9
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Re: AirHead, C-Head, Nature's head

Yeah, mines standard right out of the box. I can't remember the owners name of the company, but when I first started to consider a composting head I called the company and he answered the phone and spent all the time I needed to understand the system and even sent me some extra dimensions to make sure it would fit. He was great. I've heard from several people who have his product have gotten the same personal treatment. Give him a call. The one slight draw back is I ordered the smaller seat to fit the space. (Old guy with a Twinky issue say anything to ya?) Peg Hall is a very gracious poster and I don't think I have seen her post her opinion on composting heads either way. No modifications on hose size and I'm still running the small muffin fan that came with it. I picked up a few spares at Radio shack just in case for about $4 each. I understand your frustration with your system. I've cleaned and repaired one too many holding tank systems myself. It's a nasty job. When I finally dump my composting head it's no where near as bad. It takes all of five minutes and the light smell is like wet carpet.
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Old 10-06-2012, 18:23   #10
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Re: AirHead, C-Head, Nature's head

How much saw dust, or peat do you carry aboard?
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Old 10-06-2012, 18:48   #11
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Re: AirHead, C-Head, Nature's head

Ah, the eternal question: What IS the scoop with the poop?


I spent a lot of time researching this, and looking exhaustively at information about all the available options. I was actually at the point of ordering an Ecovita privy kit and building in a system in the area available. It’s only because the darned things were back ordered last fall for weeks that I didn’t do that. When I found the C-Head it only took me a day or two to decide to cancel the Ecovita kit and order from Sandy.


Given the comparison between the C-Head and the other designs it was so simple and well designed, and seemed to make so much common sense, and the price point is so reasonable, I was convinced really quickly to try it. Ours came well built and made from a really nice wood veneer that looks great on our old school boat.


It has a very simple fool proof system for dealing with the mixing of the solid waste and the dry material. I really liked that the urine collection is in a plain old one gallon milk or juice jug, easily replaceable and easily acquired for back up storage should you need it. With the C-Head you do not have to order extra, expensive containers that are proprietary to their systems to have additional storage capacity. Got a 5 gallon bucket? You have a second storage container. Got an empty milk jug? You have additional urine storage. Are they getting yucky looking? Urine containers in particular are going to get a scaly build up in them no matter what over time. I like the idea of just recycling the container and starting with a new one whenever I want. With the C-Head you do not deal with the coffee filters either. Solid waste drops straight down, so no need to prevent skid marks.


Something to keep in mind with ANY of these systems is they are not really “composting” toilets, they are more along the line of “pre-composting” toilets. They manage the waste so that you wind up with relatively innocuous urine and desiccated fæces. Both of which are easier to dispose of than the usual mess of water, urine and poop soup that is the result of a holding tank.
You have a few basic choices regarding disposal;


A – Bag up the solid waste and dispose of on land when the opportunity arises, into a garbage can or dumpster. Much in the same way a baby diaper is disposed of, but with the added benefit of not putting the additional non-compostable material into the waste stream that go along with the diaper. Liquid waste can be put into a pump-out station or poured down a toilet.


B- Transport the waste to an appropriate area where you can finish the composting process. Check out the humanure handbook for more about this option.


C- Wait until you are offshore past the magic invisible 3 mile line and dispose of overboard, where allowed and appropriate.


Currently our head is in the mail being returned to us after a refit. Since last fall, when we got our unit, and now, Sandy has cleverly come up with a modification to the unit, incorporating a slanted back angle that allows the head to be installed up against the hull rather than only on the flat sole. We think this change is going to gain us 3” of clearance in the thru passage to the V-berth. On our little boat this is a sufficiently valuable gain to warrant the annoyance of packing up the head and shipping it back to Sandy. I am really looking forward to getting it back this week and seeing how it works now. We have traded space in the boat for capacity in the head. The slant back design uses a smaller main container. We are willing to take this trade off.


The previous capacity was 2 to 3 weeks; I am guessing that it will be reduced to 1 to 2 weeks. The urine collector has to be emptied pretty regularly, every other day or so with either version. I am thinking of putting in a secondary collector for urine that could be easier to pump overboard. Personally, while I am fastidious about solid waste and its containment, I feel that urine, sterile and mostly salt and water, is a fine addition to the ocean water which, while not sterile, is also mostly water and salt.
I figure that anytime we will be aboard for longer than 2 weeks with no opportunity to dispose of waste on land we will be, at least some of the time, out past the 3 mile line and can dump overboard.


Way rather have a 5 gallon bucket of dry poop than a waste tank full of poop soup. If the bucket fills up you can just empty into another bucket and move on, but when that tank is full? That’s it, no easy way to fix that problem. **** happens, but holding tanks are optional, and we opted out ; -)
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Old 10-06-2012, 21:35   #12
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Re: AirHead, C-Head, Nature's head

Thanks, we like the simplicity of the C Head too. I appreciate the time you all took to answer my questions.

It makes more sense to me now that you say to not expect to make true compost, but a more pre compost.

It seems the CHead has the smaller footprint too, yes? Under sail you keep the urinal offline, move to a uh er cup and chuck? All the composting toilets urinals seem like they would leak under sail, has anyone found that to be true?

Sara, if you like I can move over to the composting head thread if you think it would be better. Sorry I didn't see it till I started this thread (s) I'm still reading that thread, on page 19 of 26, whew!

Thanks for all your help and advice

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Old 10-06-2012, 23:00   #13
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Re: AirHead, C-Head, Nature's head

Altho Connie don't agree with me bit I still think a plain old Bucket is as green as it gets !! LOL and way cheaper!!
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Old 13-06-2012, 12:49   #14
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Re: AirHead, C-Head, Nature's head

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Originally Posted by bobconnie View Post
Altho Connie don't agree with me bit I still think a plain old Bucket is as green as it gets !! LOL and way cheaper!!
Well of course it is Bob, but I HATE the ring it makes around my ass, and it's tippy ta sit on, ya know?

And in marinas or the SF Bay dumping it overboard is just NOT cool, so we all have to suffer with our footprint ; -)
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Old 18-12-2012, 09:07   #15
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Re: composting toilet

It is now Dec. 2012. Did you purchase a composting toilet? we are still debating. Tired of the lectra san and the money we have dedicated to the system. So far we have spent over$5000 on plumbing in the past two years. We are live aboards and need a better system. thankfully we have two toilets but one is always out of service. I want one that will always work or that I can fix. Most of the posts are from over a year ago. I want to hear from someone that is using it now...2012
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