Most people don’t realize how easy it is to compost feces and urine. People don’t question the value of using animal manure in a garden, but the idea of utilizing humanure in agriculture typically produces a negative response. Due to ignorance and lack of practical knowledge, recycling humanure remains one of the last frontiers in modern organics recycling, even though humans have been utilizing excreta to grow food and manage soil fertility for millennia.
Unlike the use of untreated night soil, which is applied directly to fields, humanure composting converts organic toilet material into a safe and hygienic soil treatment through containment, heat treatment and storage time — a combination of low-tech procedures and natural processes that destroy harmful pathogens, and close the nutrient loop. Humanure composting also returns valuable nutrients and Carbon back into the soil to restore soil fertility without reliance on chemical fertilizer. Humanure composting is not much different than composting ordinary food scraps or leaf litter.
How it works:
Hot composting treats feces and urine by destroying pathogenic organisms. When managed correctly, humanure compost products are suitable for growing a variety of food crops and trees.
Humanure toilets are inexpensive and very simple in design and implementation. They do not produce waste products, and they help reduce environmental and water pollution from untreated fecal material. The system can be adapted to many different contexts using locally sourced materials. The humanure system is the simplest form of compost toilet, specifically designed to promote hot composting of human feces and urine, and organic cover materials. This approach can involve different methods of collection, and either mechanized or manual composting, but the principles of thermophilic treatment and end-use are the same. This approach is also referred to as compost sanitation, or container-based sanitation.
Humanure composting requires a paradigm shift and change of attitude. Instead of viewing feces and urine as human waste products, the supporters of Ecological Sanitation are developing ways to recycle and reclaim valuable nutrients in feces and urine for productive re-use as fuel, fertilizer, or fodder.
Humanure systems require a shift from passive to active management and a steady supply of carbon cover material. The system is highly adaptable to many contexts, however, GiveLove is dedicated to creating inexpensive, family-scale systems for developing countries and water scarce areas.