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Old 19-02-2016, 15:41   #1
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Composting Toilets - Tell All

1) Composting Toilet - What it is and Why You Need One


2) The Big and Dirty Questions about Composting Toilets


3) Composting Toilets: Tips, Tricks and Solving Problems
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Old 20-02-2016, 05:43   #2
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Re: Composting Toilets - Tell All

I've been a convert and believer for years. But it might take a few more years before I'd use one for a coffee table.

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Old 20-02-2016, 07:06   #3
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Re: Composting Toilets - Tell All

Haha. I agree Tellie. I'm a convert as well, but pass on the coffee table as well

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Old 20-02-2016, 07:29   #4
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Welcome Zippy. Nutin' new there Cap. Many of us have converted, and all the others want to but their wives won't let them.
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Old 20-02-2016, 10:07   #5
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Re: Composting Toilets - Tell All

Thanks for sharing. I have never seen an Airhead toilet before. Seeing this helps me to understand a lot better some of the questions I hear. Definitely a different animal from the C-Head.

The question; "Is a vent required?"..... I would definitely say yes with the Airhead, or any toilet that has a door or lid that you must use. Although I never did install the vent that came with my C-head, once I quit using the lid over the solids bin, there was no trapped moisture issue again.

Bottom line- Some composting toilets are more simple than others. And simple is good.

Having said that, the Airhead gets a lot more uses between emptying days. But that means there is a lot more waste to deal with each time.

Using my unit like a "cat box" still works for me. Quick chore that others would maybe rather make a longer, more involved chore that you do less often.
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Old 20-02-2016, 10:33   #6
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Re: Composting Toilets - Tell All

I'm 100% with Minggat on this topic...

And there are a lot of other videos on YouTube that cover the same subject material...I wonder why people keep posting links to this particular series?

Check out the C Head style...as Minggat stated, simple is good. And clean. And easy. And did I mention simple? That horizontal crank/paddle system looks pretty unpleasant to clean. I watched a "graphic" video of the Airhead style and it was all I needed to know.

And yes, I use a composting/desiccating head of the simple style...after living with this system I could not even imagine carrying around a tank full of sloshing stinking waste and looking for places to pump it!

And to those that consider the use of peat moss to be environmentally insensitive, I say that I am only using it for a while and I return it to nature...can't get more environmenatlly responsible than that.
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Old 20-02-2016, 10:50   #7
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Re: Composting Toilets - Tell All

Question, as I am not an internet wizard by a long shot. This forum gets a lot of repeat questions, (mono-hull versus Multi-hull) (composting heads), and a couple of others. Can someone just create a quick-link that will get these people to a million previous post. I know you can go to the menu at the top of the Forum page, but no one seems to want to do this. Or, in the case of composting heads, a link to ''FaceBook''.
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Old 20-02-2016, 10:54   #8
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Re: Composting Toilets - Tell All

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Originally Posted by captlloyd View Post
Question, as I am not an internet wizard by a long shot. This forum gets a lot of repeat questions, (mono-hull versus Multi-hull) (composting heads), and a couple of others. Can someone just create a quick-link that will get these people to a million previous post. I know you can go to the menu at the top of the Forum page, but no one seems to want to do this. Or, in the case of composting heads, a link to ''FaceBook''.
What is even easier is to ignore the topics you are not interested in. I do it all the time. As for Facebook, I have absolutely no interest.
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Old 20-02-2016, 11:03   #9
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Re: Composting Toilets - Tell All

I like the C-Head. It obviously works as well as the other brands, and most DIY versions. I probably would have gone with CH over our Nature's Head. The price is about 1/2, and they use standard bottles for urine (not the proprietary ones used by NH and AH).

The key stroke against CH for me is/was the smaller holding tank. NH's (and AH) holding tank is about twice the size of CH. This means I can go twice as long between dumps. I like this, but if this is not important to you, then CH is probably a better deal. We get at least five weeks, and have gone as long as seven, with just the two of us on board full-time.

BTW, there's not much complexity with AH or NH. They should be vented, but I just ran it through the existing deck cap for the old holding tank's pump out. Wiring for the fan is as basic as it comes, and it hardly registers as a draw on my Victron amp meter.

morven55, the issue with peat isn't so much that it gets returned to nature quickly. It's that it takes nature a long time to create peat. It accumulates at the rate of a few millimetres per year, so a peat bog can take many decades to hundreds of years to grow to harvestable size.

Coir, on the other hand, is plentiful and quickly renewable. Best of all, it is already considered a waste product in the coconut business, so using coir actually turns waste into something useful. And as a final benefit, coir appears to be less succeptible to bug infestations that sometimes plague composting heads. People who've reported bug problems often trace it to the peat.
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Old 20-02-2016, 11:12   #10
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Re: Composting Toilets - Tell All

Guys, I have poor Internet here right now. Question: once the composting is done ... errr... what do we do with the ... errr... 'product'? I mean - composting turns our brown ones onto 'something' (a brick?) and then what do we do with this (brick? pulp?etc.)

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Old 20-02-2016, 11:14   #11
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Re: Composting Toilets - Tell All

Quote:
Originally Posted by captlloyd View Post
Question, as I am not an internet wizard by a long shot. This forum gets a lot of repeat questions, (mono-hull versus Multi-hull) (composting heads), and a couple of others. Can someone just create a quick-link that will get these people to a million previous post. I know you can go to the menu at the top of the Forum page, but no one seems to want to do this. Or, in the case of composting heads, a link to ''FaceBook''.
This is a common criticism on discussion forums. My attitude is, if you don't want to suffer through yet another chat about guns, anchors, heads or hulls, then don't click on it.

This is not a database of information. This is a discussion forum. People come here at different places in their boating experience. They come here to learn, discuss and share their information. Of course the same questions will keep coming up. My approach is to contribute to threads I know something about (like composting heads), to pose new questions (for me), and to read and learn about things I know little about.

Facebook ... if there is evil in the world it is Facebook. Google and Apple (and their ilk) are close behind. Friends don't let friends use Facebook.

... I guess what I'm saying is I don't like FB .
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Old 20-02-2016, 11:15   #12
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Re: Composting Toilets - Tell All

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Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post
I like the C-Head. It obviously works as well as the other brands, and most DIY versions. I probably would have gone with CH over our Nature's Head. The price is about 1/2, and they use standard bottles for urine (not the proprietary ones used by NH and AH).

The key stroke against CH for me is/was the smaller holding tank. NH's (and AH) holding tank is about twice the size of CH. This means I can go twice as long between dumps. I like this, but if this is not important to you, then CH is probably a better deal. We get at least five weeks, and have gone as long as seven, with just the two of us on board full-time.

BTW, there's not much complexity with AH or NH. They should be vented, but I just ran it through the existing deck cap for the old holding tank's pump out. Wiring for the fan is as basic as it comes, and it hardly registers as a draw on my Victron amp meter.

morven55, the issue with peat isn't so much that it gets returned to nature quickly. It's that it takes nature a long time to create peat. It accumulates at the rate of a few millimetres per year, so a peat bog can take many decades to hundreds of years to grow to harvestable size.

Coir, on the other hand, is plentiful and quickly renewable. Best of all, it is already considered a waste product in the coconut business, so using coir actually turns waste into something useful. And as a final benefit, coir appears to be less succeptible to bug infestations that sometimes plague composting heads. People who've reported bug problems often trace it to the peat.
Great post, as usual Mike...I'm willing to try anything...I understand the Coir has to be hydrated before use? Is that a problem? Also, I don't want to have to rely on shipping to various places in order to get the Coir. Peat is available virtually anywhere in B.C. and Wa. state and the 2 cubic foot size is not too hard to carry...I do understand the issue with Peat...but in many ways, it is much more environmentally sensitive than the alternatives, not to mention that boat people use a LOT less of it than gardeners? :]
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Old 20-02-2016, 11:23   #13
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Re: Composting Toilets - Tell All

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Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
Guys, I have poor Internet here right now. Question: once the composting is done ... errr... what do we do with the ... errr... 'product'? I mean - composting turns our brown ones onto 'something' (a brick?) and then what do we do with this (brick? pulp?etc.)

b.
Hi Barn, I'll take a quick crack at it. After around five weeks of deposits my compost bin is holding what looks and smells to me like slightly moist soil. Depending on how much desiccation has gone on, it will be damper or dryer, but basically it's like potting soil. There is nothing offensive or ugly about it. And not to raise any ick factors, but I have no problem getting my whole hand and arm in there to clean out the corners (if I'm doing a thorough cleaning).

So far my end "product" has been dumped in forested lands of remote anchorages. One time I dumped into an existing pit-toilet outhouse. When we get out to sea (out of the Great Lakes), I'm sure I'll be dumping over the side.

Many people bag and dump into marina garbage bins. I prefer getting it out into nature, but obviously that's not always an option in urban areas. Given that people dump full diapers and feminine hygiene products into the same dumpsters, I think a bag of semi-composted soil is a pretty minor addition to the garbage stream.
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Old 20-02-2016, 11:36   #14
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Re: Composting Toilets - Tell All

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Great post, as usual Mike...I'm willing to try anything...I understand the Coir has to be hydrated before use? Is that a problem? Also, I don't want to have to rely on shipping to various places in order to get the Coir. Peat is available virtually anywhere in B.C. and Wa. state and the 2 cubic foot size is not too hard to carry...I do understand the issue with Peat...but in many ways, it is much more environmentally sensitive than the alternatives, not to mention that boat people use a LOT less of it than gardeners? :]
I agree with you morven55 that sourcing material locally is probably more environmentally friendly that having it shipped across the continent. I passed through BC and Washington a few months ago on my motorcycle. I didn't see many coconut trees around . The amount of peat composting heads use vs gardener use is not even measurable, so you're probably right to go with peat where you are.

But to answer your coir hydration question; yes. It comes in highly compressed bricks that need to be gently hydrated before they can be used. The benefit is that I can carry six to eight months worth of material in a standard-sized bucket.

To prepare a brick for use I usually place it in a zip-lock bag and add maybe a cup of water (depending on the size of the brick). Then I leave it in the sun for a few hours. After that I can fairly easily rip it apart, usually starting by wedging my knife in and pealing off the layers.

BTW, I've learned not to add too much water at first. After all, the point is to have the coir absorb any excess moisture from #2 deposits, so you want it as dry as possible. Took me a bit of time to hit the right balance.
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Old 20-02-2016, 11:52   #15
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Re: Composting Toilets - Tell All

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I agree with you morven55 that sourcing material locally is probably more environmentally friendly that having it shipped across the continent. I passed through BC and Washington a few months ago on my motorcycle. I didn't see many coconut trees around . The amount of peat composting heads use vs gardener use is not even measurable, so you're probably right to go with peat where you are.

But to answer your coir hydration question; yes. It comes in highly compressed bricks that need to be gently hydrated before they can be used. The benefit is that I can carry six to eight months worth of material in a standard-sized bucket.

To prepare a brick for use I usually place it in a zip-lock bag and add maybe a cup of water (depending on the size of the brick). Then I leave it in the sun for a few hours. After that I can fairly easily rip it apart, usually starting by wedging my knife in and pealing off the layers.

BTW, I've learned not to add too much water at first. After all, the point is to have the coir absorb any excess moisture from #2 deposits, so you want it as dry as possible. Took me a bit of time to hit the right balance.
Great info Mike...I had no idea that it is possible to store six months of "kitty litter" in that small a space. The Peat I use takes up much more space [2.2 cu. ft/62L] and lasts about 2 1/2 months...it might just be practical to have Coir shipped if such a small volume produces a six mo. supply. Maximum use of space is always an issue. Although the part about putting it in the sun might be a problem in this part of the world! Maybe I could just set it out on deck for a bit and let the fog/rain/drizzle/humidity/gloom do the hydration?! LOL!
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