The Walden Effect: Homesteading Year 5. Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Homestead Blog


Homesteading Tags

Recent Comments

Blog Archive

User Pages


About Us

Submission guidelines


Where to store sawdust for the composting toilet

Composting toilet bins

It's been about a year since we started using our composting toilet, and the first bin is filled to the brim.  Time to add another seat and change bins!

Sawdust storageWhen we first built the composting toilet, I planned to store the sawdust in the central bin just like the author does in The Humanure Handbook.  Since then, though, I've decided it's better to simply fill up a big trashcan with sawdust and use that to fill our five-gallon bucket, which sits by the seat for ease of scooping.

What's wrong with keeping the sawdust in the middle bin?  Filling a bucket out of the central bin requires awkward bending over, the sawdust there has begun to decay a lot due to contact with the wet ground, and it's also caught a tiny bit of seepage from the used bin beside it, which makes the sawdust much less fun to handle.  Even if that last point is really all in my head (I only saw a smidgen of toilet paper amid the sawdust and doubt there was much seepage), it still seemed like a good idea to shovel the sawdust out and use it as the bottom bedding in the new bin since we want to fill our bin halfway with high-carbon material before we start using it anyway.  Plus, this way we can fill the middle bin next year and give this past year's bin a full twenty-four months to decay before it goes on the garden.

Deciding on sawdust placement only took a couple of minutes, and I spent the rest of the day building the new seat, but this post is already too long, so I'll save that story for another day.

Want to be notified when new comments are posted on this page? Click on the RSS button after you add a comment to subscribe to the comment feed, or simply check the box beside "email replies to me" while writing your comment.

Hi Anna and Mark,

I wonder if you are using the compost yet?

And if so how well it works?

There is a good post on goodnewsindia about very good long term effects from this sort of composting.

warm regards to you both,
Comment by John Wed Nov 6 09:39:02 2013
John --- We won't be using the contents of the first bin until at least this time next year (or fall 2015 if I decide to give it an extra year to age). I plant to use it on our fruit trees, so probably won't have any data on how well it works until the next year. A long term project! I'm confident it will do well, though, especially since the sawdust we use will make the compost fungally-dominated --- just what trees love.
Comment by anna Wed Nov 6 12:00:43 2013
We have been using our humanure from the third year. One year to fill it, one year to age it, and then breaking into it during the third year. It is quite nice at that stage. Fluffy and full of lots of different grubs. Once we waited an extra year and it was even better. But more than that and it melts away to near nothing. So I suggest using it from the start of the third year.
Comment by Eric in Japan Fri Nov 8 00:56:36 2013

One very unique homestead, $1,500 per acre, the opportunity of a lifetime