Compost Toilet --managing your poo for health, safety , and fertilizer

Compost Toilet is a toilet that does not use water, instead uses a carbon base material to begin the process of breaking down human waste--feces. Human urine is a sterile substance. Compost toilets do not smell. The latter reason makes compost toilets ideal for indoors. The compost material after composting for a year can be used for fertilizer. 


Composting toilet comes in many designs and shapes. One of the simplest design is a bucket in a box, covered with a toilet seat. One must make sure the toilet is sealed when covered. No flies should be able to get in. A bucket size hole in the ground with a seating apparatus on top would work nicely. Ventilation can be added by running a small hose from the inside of the toilet to outside. Make sure the outside hose is covered with a screen to prevent flies from getting into the funnel.

One year

To use human waste as fertilizer, it has to be composted for one year. At the end of a year, it should look like and smell like soil. 


In developing countries because of poor infrastructure, managing human waste can pose a problem. Disease has been spread due to poor sanitation. Using a composting toilet one can alleviate this problem. Composting human waste breaks down feces into inert matter, empty of pathogens that carry disease. Aerobic bacteria breaks down feces to inert soil. Composting human waste for 1 year creates inert material that can be used for fertilizer. Carbon base material sawdust, peat moss, leaves, dried and green grass, wood chips, coffee grinds, tree clippings are added to human waste and left for a year produces the best fertile soil. Since composting toilets does not use water, it is ideal for areas with a scarcity of water.

Usage and composting

After using the toilet, carbon base material-- peat moss, leaves, dirt , wood chips, coffee grinds, tree clippings are placed on top of the poo. When the toilet is filled up or reaches 3/4 of the container, container should be emptied. A composting  area should be designated. This is where all future containers will be emptied and left in a pile. 

After a year of composting, the poo should look like soil, smell like soil. Worms should be present. Worms provide micro-nutrients for the soil. That is how one knows decomposition of pathogens has taken place. If the previous conditions have not been met add more carbon material--straw, hay or weeds--and let compost another year to be on the safe side.

Compost Pile

A compost pile should be in a secured area with controlled access--rodents, dogs, cats should not have easy access. Placing the pile in a wooden box container is a popular method. Feces, urine, toilet paper together is thrown in the area, then covered with more cover material-- leaves, grass debri, weeds, peanut shells, sugarcane scraps, hay. The greener the cover material the better. The compost pile will continuously shrink. A 20" thermometer can be placed in the top center. A temperature of 120 degress F should be kept. At this temperature, pathogens--echoli, worm eggs-- are killed. This temperature is usually achieved in the center of the pile. This is the thermophyllic composting which is an aerobic process. Oxygen is utilized by the aerobic bacteria. This prevents the pile from stinking. Feces, uringe, toilet paper, food waste should be place in the bin for one year. After a year, the compost pile should be left alone. The latter becomes the mesophylic phase. No material is added. Because the temperature goes down it attracts fungus, bacteria, and worms which breaks down the pile, making it safe for fertilizer. After the second year of being left alone, compost is ready for fertilizer.

Work Cited

Joseph Jenkins. Human Sanitation. 143 Forest Lane, Grove City, PA 16127 USA ;;

Gord Baird. Eco Sense. Composting Humanure. <>

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