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Old 14-12-2016, 18:57   #1
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Composting Heads

Do they stink? How much maintenance is required? Do they draw flies?
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Old 14-12-2016, 19:09   #2
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Re: Composting Heads

Lots of threads on this. I usually donít suggest this b/c the search tool is pretty poor, but this one is an easy one to find. Short answers:

No. Not much. Not when itís operating properly.
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Old 14-12-2016, 19:21   #3
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Re: Composting Heads

I second mikes post and I built my own .
https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...ml#post2207950
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Old 15-12-2016, 06:41   #4
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Re: Composting Heads

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Do they stink? How much maintenance is required? Do they draw flies?
Not if installed and used properly. Here's a piece I wrote for Good Old Boat about ours. 6 years with an Air Head full-time live-aboard cruising.
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Old 15-12-2016, 06:45   #5
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Re: Composting Heads

Composting heads are great once you get the hang of them. We have a C-head and the kids needed some practise with the liquid diversion part. Other than than we follow the instructions to the letter and there is no issue with smell. Installation was simple ( take it out of the box and bolt it down!) We use cedar pet shavings in ours and the head smells a bit like the inside of a nice cedar closet!
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Old 15-12-2016, 07:13   #6
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Re: Composting Heads

I agree. One of the best moves I made on my old boat. Simple, easy to work with, and it not only did not smell, but once I removed all the old plumbing and holding tank the boat smelled better. Remember, in the end (pardon the pun) a head is nothing more than a hole you do your business in. How much you want to spend and work on that hole is up to you. Also, there are no back ups and floods in 8' seas to contend with.

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Old 15-12-2016, 07:36   #7
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Re: Composting Heads

I read an account of one woman who had to fix her head while sailing upwind in rough seas with 6 people aboard. I was "scared straight". We bought a Nature's Head for our boat. We haven't even installed it properly yet but it's already paying for its self. We are in the work yard at Marina Seca San Carlos and there is no water for 3 days now. No matter. We don't mind. But we have been watching our neighbors get pumped out (via truck) left and right. $$$.
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Old 15-12-2016, 08:02   #8
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Re: Composting Heads

There's a thread on DIY desiccating heads on Sailfar.net. Search for "The $10-20 or even free..."
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Old 17-12-2016, 12:17   #9
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Re: Composting Heads

Interestingly enough, the sawdust toilet has no smell when properly tended to. The basic process is a simple bucket, about 5 gallon, place about 3" of sawdust, coconut coir, or peat moss in the bottom. The liquid and solids are not separated. After each use, a cup or so of sawdust (or other medium) is dumped over the waste. If there is a smell or it looks wet, add more sawdust. This is a very simple system and can be constructed quite small to fit small head compartments. When the bucket is about 3/4 full, empty it into a compost heap. Since I, and many boaters, are not into home composting, I line my bucket with a sturdy plastic bag which I remove from the bucket and throw into a dumpster. Yeah, it is legal and appropriate. Just go check out a nursing home and see where they dump their adult diapers...same thing.

Again, it does not really smell, and it absolutely does not stink if you have enough sawdust. A 20 pound bag, about 4 gallons volume, of cat pine pellet litter will cycle a sawdust toilet 4 times, about 12-15 days for two adults.

Is this the absolutely best thing since sliced bread?...no. It does work and some boaters can use the technique. To each their own. The system is very adaptable. It would be best to research the concept at The Humanure handbook website The Humanure Handbook - http://humanurehandbook.com/
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Old 25-12-2016, 08:50   #10
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Re: Composting Heads

Got one of these on lay away, around a grand, for the peace of mind, I'm excited. I'm hoping to use the existing heads thru hull for a water maker, water source after replacing the thru hull fitting.

Pleased to hear everybody's positive reviews.

Merry Christmas.

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Old 25-12-2016, 09:04   #11
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Re: Composting Heads

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Interestingly enough, the sawdust toilet has no smell when properly tended to. The basic process is a simple bucket, about 5 gallon, place about 3" of sawdust, coconut coir, or peat moss in the bottom. The liquid and solids are not separated. After each use, a cup or so of sawdust (or other medium) is dumped over the waste. If there is a smell or it looks wet, add more sawdust. This is a very simple system and can be constructed quite small to fit small head compartments. When the bucket is about 3/4 full, empty it into a compost heap. Since I, and many boaters, are not into home composting, I line my bucket with a sturdy plastic bag which I remove from the bucket and throw into a dumpster. Yeah, it is legal and appropriate. Just go check out a nursing home and see where they dump their adult diapers...same thing.

Again, it does not really smell, and it absolutely does not stink if you have enough sawdust. A 20 pound bag, about 4 gallons volume, of cat pine pellet litter will cycle a sawdust toilet 4 times, about 12-15 days for two adults.

Is this the absolutely best thing since sliced bread?...no. It does work and some boaters can use the technique. To each their own. The system is very adaptable. It would be best to research the concept at The Humanure handbook website The Humanure Handbook - http://humanurehandbook.com/
The biggest problem I see with your system ( for most cruisers) is the frequency of emptying . If you were to seporate the lquids from the solids like the commercial systems you would be able to get at least a month between emptying the solids bucket.
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Old 25-12-2016, 09:42   #12
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Re: Composting Heads

You are correct that it needs to be emptied every few days. This can be a bad thing for some cruisers, and a good thing for others. This is not a cure-all for all types of marine sanitation problems, just one of many solutions. If it fits your cruising needs, then use it.
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Old 25-12-2016, 09:58   #13
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Re: Composting Heads

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Do they stink? How much maintenance is required? Do they draw flies?
I know there're many hard-core believers and situations where a composter makes perfect sense, like on a reservoir lake, but...

The believers can't honestly claim a urine diverter doesn't stink and that it's less work to walk around looking for a place to dump a jug filled with stinky one to five day old urine, than it is to just flush and forget.

Another observation: If composting heads are so great, then someone please name one manufacturer power or sail that installs them on new boats as standard equipment.
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Old 25-12-2016, 10:21   #14
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Re: Composting Heads

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenomac View Post
I know there're many hard-core believers and situations where a composter makes perfect sense, like on a reservoir lake, but...

The believers can't honestly claim a urine diverter doesn't stink and that it's less work to walk around looking for a place to dump a jug filled with stinky one to five day old urine, than it is to just flush and forget.

Another observation: If composting heads are so great, then someone please name one manufacturer power or sail that installs them on new boats as standard equipment.
First strange but true . A spoon of sugar will cure the stink factor of the urine jug. Secondly manufacturers always go with the cheaper option for standard equipment.
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Old 25-12-2016, 11:06   #15
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Re: Composting Heads

The sawdust toilet is simply another tool available to boaters to satisfy USCG MSD requirements. There are many very good solutions, but small boats have space limitations, both for the size of the toilet and the volume of organic medium.

It does obviate the need to possibly dump urine overboard, which is still illegal in most US and Canadian waters.

Our personal cruising usually has us where we will pass a convenient appropriate trash dump area. We are not always so blessed to have a convenient pump out.
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