Friday, December 19, 2014

Update: Compost Toilet, Day 4

Alrighty...Here were are at day 4 of using my compost toilet. I have it set up in my bedroom (since my bathroom is too small) and everything seems to be going smoothly under the watchful eye of Wonder Woman.

The bucket on the left has the peat moss in it with a scooper and the one on the right is the replacement once the one in use is full.
The first day it was operational was Tuesday and, needless to say, I was a little apprehensive about using it. I wasn't sure what to expect and so, I held on to the very last possible moment but, alas, nature doth call when it calls. All the dancing around and leg crossing won't help.

It was a very strange experience. First, just using a toilet that is located in a bedroom feels strange. Second, not reaching back after making a deposit to flush away the contents of the bowl is strange too. Knowing that everything is just sitting there below you is kinda creepy at first.

But since then, it has become much easier. I am using old faithful for both poop and pee (I know, "poop and pee" sounds so 1st grade but "urine and fecal matter" sound too clinical and I am MUCH more "1st grade" than "clinical"). With 3 full days of use under my belt, I have yet to notice an odor. Well, at least an offensive odor. The peat moss definitely gives my room a more "earthy", "soil" kind of smell but it's not at all unpleasant.

I am fairly sensitive to smells. Just ask the people I work with. I will frequently know when specific co-workers have arrived by their smells. I can even tell when certain people have been in the elevator recently. Freak...I know. But, like I said, I am sensitive to smells. That being said, if I don't notice an odor, I can say with some confidence that none exists. But I decided to call in a few unbiased noses.

First up yesterday, my aunt Sheri. It's her house that I'm living in and I KNOW if there's an odor, she will be putting a stop to this experiment toot sweet. So I called her into my room for a little sniff around, carefully avoiding my shoe rack and laundry hamper. She reported no noticeable odor. She even got down next to the toilet to do a ground zero assessment and to her shock and amazement, nothing. She continued to comment on it for the rest of the day. "How could a bucket filled with 3 days of poop and pee NOT stink???"

Later on that evening, I went for the young, ethnic, male demographic by calling in my buddy Freddy. When I let him know that I needed an odor assessment, he dropped to his hands and knees, lifted the toilet seat and prepared to take a big sniff right down in the bucket!! While I appreciated the lengths to which he was willing to go for our friendship, I stopped him before he could inhale. Not because I thought he would experience a foul odor, but because I prefer to use my friend "wild cards" for things like, "Hey, I'm at home watching a movie. Can you run to the store and bring me some ice cream?" or "I'm butchering some chickens or hogs this weekend and need an extra hand. Please help." Yes, I am aware how wildly different those two things are but if you're gonna be my friend, you gotta be ready for any and every eventuallity. But in this situation, using up a card to have him sniff poop seemed like a waste. Entertaining, but a waste nonetheless.

So, my second smell test went off without a hitch as well. Amazingly, Freddy, too, found there to be no noticeable odor.

And so, the experiment goes on. So far, I'm still on board. My first bucket will be full by next week I think. I should have my compost pile ready to go this weekend.

I really want to recommend "The Humanure Handbook" by Joseph Jenkins to anyone that is even remotely interested in this subject. You can download the e-book for $10 by clicking here. So much of what we believe as a culture about this topic is not correct. This book is very helpful and informative and $10 isn't much.

Well, that's all I've got for now. Any thoughts, suggestions, concerns? Please share. Thanks for stoppin by!

-Big Jerm


  1. My husband and I are cracking up about the compost toilet story ! But it works and gets you ready for a tiny house ! You are a great writer. Keep up the good work ! Thanks for all the info it will help us decide what to do about a toilet when we build our tiny home in the future :)

    1. Thank you so much for the feedback! And I'm so glad you enjoyed reading about my crazy adventures. LOL. Please keep in touch with your plans and progress as well.