Composting Toilets vs. Holding Tank - Page 11 - SailNet Community
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post #101 of 114 Old 11-19-2013
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Re: Composting Toilets vs. Holding Tank

I suppose if the makers and owners of these toilets would just call them dessicating toilets, which is what they are, and stop pretending they are composting toilets, which is what they are not, I'd be a lot happier.

How about we start an Alice's Restaurant Massacre Movement, and start using the proper name for these things?

Like dried camel chips and cow pies, **** don't stink when it is dessicated. Heck, dry it out all the way, mix in enough roughage, and you could even burn it for fuel.
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post #102 of 114 Old 11-19-2013
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Re: Composting Toilets vs. Holding Tank

Quite true Hellosailor, but it does begin to compost in the toilet. The user has to have the common sense to dispose of the compost in the best way. Ideally, one would bring it home to complete the composting in the garden. I have dumped mine in the woods, away from any trails, and believe it is a perfectly good way to get rid of the compost. Unfinished composted waste could be dumped offshore, bagged and put in the trash (not ideal) or perhaps even brought to the pump out place to be disposed of. At any rate, you do have a number of options with a composting toilet!

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post #103 of 114 Old 11-19-2013
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Re: Composting Toilets vs. Holding Tank

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Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
I have nothing against composting heads in general, particularly where there is little alternative, such as a mountain cabin. My biggest gripe is that I feel my non-sailor guests would struggle using one. That's a personal choice.

I often read from users, like above, that urine goes overboard. I would love to hear why its okay to put uric acid and pharmaceuticals in the ocean but not bio-degradable solid waste that has already been liquified with salt water.

i agree with you. i don't see a whole lot of difference between putting urine in the water or feces. in fact, i don't see how it's not ok to dump it in the water if you are only out 2 miles out but it's ok to dump it in the same water three miles out. it's the same water. that's about as logical as a restaurant with no smoking sections ( you know, it's the same air ). so, yeah, i don't see the difference, either.

there is so much urine and feces in the ocean. the ocean is full of living things swimming in it and flying over it. all of these living things urinate and defocate in the ocean. a pint of piss and a pail of half composted crap, every so often, isn't going to destroy it. everyone is so worried about feces or urine heading back to the beach. how many people, in the water at the beach, do you think just piss when they have to? right in the water where they are standing.

people seem to forget one thing: the earth....all the dirt we stand on including the ocean floor, is made of two things; dead plants and animals and...wait for it....crap.

lol. so, now that we have that thought in our minds, let's go work in the garden...get our hands in some nice rich dirt.

Last edited by captain jack; 11-19-2013 at 09:40 AM.
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post #104 of 114 Old 11-19-2013
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Re: Composting Toilets vs. Holding Tank

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Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
I suppose if the makers and owners of these toilets would just call them dessicating toilets, which is what they are, and stop pretending they are composting toilets, which is what they are not, I'd be a lot happier.
Agreed. Although, this is true of any "composter." Composting takes time. Your home composter is really just a pile of fruits and veggies until it is given enough time to sit and let the microbes do their work. So too with these heads. But you're right, those living full-time with these heads will produce dried, desiccated feces. It will not go to completion before being dumped.

Why go fast, when you can go slow.
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post #105 of 114 Old 11-19-2013
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Re: Composting Toilets vs. Holding Tank

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..I also don't understand how people can use a holding tank, often treated with chemicals, and then dump offshore (3 miles in the US?) and think it's the right way to do things.
I would be fine with banning holding tank chemicals. You are right, they are the dumping pollution, not the waste. Further, they are not only unnecessary to avoid odor, but ironically make it worse over the long term.

The three mile limit in the US is based solely on the distance from shore that our Federal Government has delegated regulatory authority to the States. If it was 100 miles, they would have chosen that.

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To be honest, the waste from boats is so insignificant a problem compared to land-based sewage that I don't really worry about it.
Amen
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post #106 of 114 Old 11-20-2013
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Re: Composting Toilets vs. Holding Tank

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i am interested in that possibility. do you have diagrams of this system or links to such information. presently, i am really thinking of going composting, but the price may be too prohibative. maybe your option might be a more financially viable option.
Don Casey describes this approach in detail in his book "This Old Boat". He calls this type of tank a "wide section in the overboard discharge path".

In the same book, Casey makes some points about general issue of overboard waste discharge, similar to those discussed in this thread.

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post #107 of 114 Old 11-20-2013
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Re: Composting Toilets vs. Holding Tank

Can someone with "compost toilets" explain the following:

1. Can you put toilet paper in the composter? What if someone uses a lot of toilet paper- what happens?

2. What if a crew member has diarrhea? Seems like that would be a mess.

Regards
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post #108 of 114 Old 11-20-2013
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Re: Composting Toilets vs. Holding Tank

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Originally Posted by casey1999 View Post
Can someone with "compost toilets" explain the following:

1. Can you put toilet paper in the composter? What if someone uses a lot of toilet paper- what happens?

2. What if a crew member has diarrhea? Seems like that would be a mess.

Regards
Toilet paper is fine, it actually helps to absorb some of the moisture, the same thing that the peat moss/coconut husks does. As far as diarrhea goes you might have to add some more of the peat moss/coconut husk to the mix to help dry it up. (same thing that you have to do if the liquids should happen to leak into the solids tank) Should not have a major effect on the process.

Now I agree that it does not completely compost the material, it does do some. And if you use multiple buckets even a full time live-aboard could fully compost if they really felt the need. From what I have read is that a bucket really needs about 30 days without new additions to be useable as compost in a flower garden (not recommended for food gardens). Given most couples say they have to empty once a month this would require the rotating of two buckets. With a C-head that would mean 2 5 gallon buckets, and I believe he (or it may have been another company) sells vented lids to allow it to continue aerobically breaking down. Still less volume than most holding tanks. This would be a good idea if you live in a remote area without trash facilities but really the bag of dung is not much more than a large bag of diapers, without the non-degrading diapers.

Last edited by miatapaul; 11-20-2013 at 04:34 PM.
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Re: Composting Toilets vs. Holding Tank

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Originally Posted by casey1999 View Post
Can someone with "compost toilets" explain the following:

1. Can you put toilet paper in the composter? What if someone uses a lot of toilet paper- what happens?

2. What if a crew member has diarrhea? Seems like that would be a mess.
Hi Casey. #1. We toss paper in. Gets churned up and desiccates very well. We sometimes use "marine" TP, and sometimes just standard 2-ply. The key is to use as little as possible.

#2. Can't say it has happened much with us yet, but unless you were really flooding the compartment (in which case, you should see a doctor), I can't see it being a problem. Might make things a bit moister for a while, but I'd expect the fan would still dry things out.

Why go fast, when you can go slow.
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post #110 of 114 Old 11-20-2013
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Re: Composting Toilets vs. Holding Tank

what is marine TP?
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