Re.source Household Toilets — 6 Comments

  1. Greetings and Aloha,

    I just came across this site this morning. The drawing is exactly what I am looking for – even to the point that I have been toying with the idea of designing something like it and having them manufactured.

    My interest is in environmentally sound tiny houses. It seems to me that most composting toilets are cumbersome and way too expensive.

    The tiny house design that I am currently working on uses an external shower that drains into a multi chamber leach field. I plan to channel the urine (relatively benign)into this system and let the water from the shower spread the liquid fertilizer. It will probably take about a year for the nearby trees to send their roots to the source.

    The poop is another matter – nasty stuff – full of pathogens – the disposal of which is justifiably heavily regulated. To me the ideal system is a five gallon plastic pail with a clamp on lid. There would be different types of lids for different markets.

    The simplest version would be into a bucket with a liner. Do your business, add some kitty litter and when full, tie it up and send it to the landfill. This would work for car campers.

    Another version would when full be capped off with a lid for anaerobic composting. The lid would need some sort of bleeder valve – a ball in a cage – to vent any gas build up. The idea is the users keep filling up buckets – store them for a time and them use the fertilizer generator for the orchard. It wouldn’t be that hard to build a thermometer into the design to verify that sufficient temperatures are realized to effectively destroy any pathogens. In my climate (Hawaii) this would happen quite quickly especially in a black bucket. The bleeder valve is necessary to keep the thing from exploding.

    It would be possible after a time to transfer the contents to a compost pile and thus reduce the need for more than two buckets.

    My goal would be to find a price point between three and five hundred dollars for the American market. I’m confident that the project could be successfully funded through Kickstarter – I think that there are enough campers out there who would pay for a product that they don’t have to worry about falling into.

  2. Owen’s exactly right that this is pretty much the model for Joseph Jenkins work in Haiti.

    This has been mentioned in comments on this blog previously, but I don’t recall a blog post about Joe’s work.

    Here is a great video overview of Joseph Jenkins’ work in Haiti. It’s a presentation he gave at a conference.

    Here is a video Joe has made about a Humanure composting system sized for one household.

    Also… Joseph Jenkins is a professional high quality slate and metal roofer by trade. His YouTube channel contains a plethora of outstanding roofing tips, These techniques are very useful for anyone building a roof out of any material.

    Like… how to properly flash a brick chimney.

    Check out Joe’s YouTube channel for more:


    Kings and Queens of old used a “chamber pot” and let servants deal with all the dirty work emptying, disposing, and cleaning. Of course, their sh*t didn’t stink like that of the common folk, or so they would have everyone believe.

  3. Interesting post. I’ve wondered what Kings and Queens of old sat on. Were their seats encrusted with jewels and gold? Okay, maybe not but, it certainly wouldn’t surprise me if they were. Good post Owen.

  4. I haven’t read all the details, but this looks almost exactly like a Jenkin’s sawdust toilet with urine diverter and plastic shield in front. This should work great for places like Haiti.

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