Composting Toilets vs. Holding Tank - Page 5 - SailNet Community

   Search Sailnet:

 forums  store  


Quick Menu
Forums           
Articles          
Galleries        
Boat Reviews  
Classifieds     
Search SailNet 
Boat Search (new)

Shop the
SailNet Store
Anchor Locker
Boatbuilding & Repair
Charts
Clothing
Electrical
Electronics
Engine
Hatches and Portlights
Interior And Galley
Maintenance
Marine Electronics
Navigation
Other Items
Plumbing and Pumps
Rigging
Safety
Sailing Hardware
Trailer & Watersports
Clearance Items

Advertise Here






Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
 Not a Member? 


Like Tree28Likes
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
  #41  
Old 10-03-2013
hellosailor's Avatar
Plausible Deniability
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 10,559
Thanks: 2
Thanked 83 Times in 81 Posts
Rep Power: 10
hellosailor has a spectacular aura about hellosailor has a spectacular aura about
Re: Composting Toilets vs. Holding Tank

My complaint is that composting heads simply aren't doing any composting, and if the folks who make a product need to misrepresent it in order to sell it...I don't want any part of it.

Sell 'em as "waterless heads" or "dessicating heads" or whatever, and let the customers know up front that they are NOT going to make nice harmless beneficial compost in any way at any time, and I wouldn't object.

But these heads produce sewage, not compost. And sewage brings sanitary risks. And since there are no conventions or standards for getting the "dry" sewage into the sanitary sewage system...I can see that being problematic. After all, Typhoid Mary knew she wasn't the problem.

As to the feces from baby diapers, I'd have to expect that an infant has a fairly low risk of passing on typhoid or polio or other infectious diseases, simply because they haven't been on the planet long enough to be exposed to most of these problems. As opposed to adult feces, where the donor has had many years in which to be exposed to many risks from many partners. Likewise, dogs and cats simply don't carry the same diseases that humans do.

No, I think I want a genset and an Incinolet. If I'm going to use a bucket and bags...I can use a bucket and bags. That's called a commode, and no one pretends it makes nice tasty beneficial compost.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #42  
Old 10-03-2013
erps's Avatar
the pointy end is the bow
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: La Conner, Washington
Posts: 6,149
Thanks: 2
Thanked 24 Times in 24 Posts
Rep Power: 10
erps will become famous soon enough erps will become famous soon enough
Re: Composting Toilets vs. Holding Tank

Quote:
All feces carries pathogens, but human feces carries pathogens of paricular concern to humans. It's dangerous stuff.
I did not know that. I thought only crap from sick people had the pathogens and while all crap was full of bacteria it wasn't necessarily harmful.

I read an article that some folks take poop pills to reintroduce beneficial bacteria back into their gut.
__________________
Ray
S.V. Nikko
1983 Fraser 41
La Conner, WA


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


Boating for over 25 years, some of them successfully.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #43  
Old 10-03-2013
MikeOReilly's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario
Posts: 1,060
Thanks: 96
Thanked 48 Times in 43 Posts
Rep Power: 5
MikeOReilly is on a distinguished road
Re: Composting Toilets vs. Holding Tank

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
I have. I've also used an outhouse and porta potty. They're all gross, by common standards. Doesn't stop me, but I know plenty who won't use any of the above. Period.
Oh come on Minn. By "common standards" most of what we do to live on a small boat is equally unusual. That's a silly criticism. The commercial composting heads function almost identical to every other toilet. Sit, open a trap door, let 'er rip. What's so different? What's gross?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
If you're depositing in it every day, the moment you empty it you have nearly uncomposted waste in the mix. What would you do with it aboard to let it compost for 3 months? Therefore, dumping past the limit is really the only option and I doubt their are many that find themselves in legal dumping areas often enough to be practical. Therefore, the same raw sewage from yesterday's deposit goes straight in the trash I suspect.
This is a valid criticism. It's true, the last deposits have not been "processed" in any real way. This is why I agree it should not be put into the landfill stream, but as others have pointed out, the impact is negligible. I'm sure all the dirty diapers have a far greater impact. But I agree. Don't dump it into the garbage.

If you can't go out to sea, or find a wilderness zone to dump, or otherwise get the solids into a sewage treatment, then NH makes it easy to have two bases that can be swapped out. The lid allows for air flow so the composting process continues. Swap it out, let it cook, then dump it into the dumpster after the requisite time.

Better still, stick with your standard marine head. They work fine. I'm not saying everyone should switch to composters. There are significant benefits (for those who are not grossed out by it all), but it's not perfect, and there are some downsides. Just like with most things in our sailing/cruising world, there is no one right answer for everyone.
arf145 likes this.
__________________
Why go fast, when you can go slow.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #44  
Old 10-04-2013
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Narragansett Bay
Posts: 8,847
Thanks: 10
Thanked 131 Times in 117 Posts
Rep Power: 6
Minnewaska will become famous soon enough Minnewaska will become famous soon enough
Re: Composting Toilets vs. Holding Tank

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeOReilly View Post
Oh come on Minn. By "common standards" most of what we do to live on a small boat is equally unusual. That's a silly criticism. The commercial composting heads function almost identical to every other toilet. Sit, open a trap door, let 'er rip. What's so different? What's gross?
You are absolutely right that living aboard has many unusual requirements compared to living ashore. Most of us would look at my master stateroom, with separate shower and head, a centerline queen-king bed and built in settees on each side and consider it a magnificent suite. Almost every non-boater that's aboard thinks it looks like a sardine can, with the aft cockpit above the mattress and only about 20 sq ft that one can actually fully stand upright.

I'm specifically referring to these non-boater's perspective, not sailors, which one may have as guests aboard. We have a ton of them every season. Knowing that a weeks worth of turds are just below that trap would clearly disturb some of the delicate landlubbing flowers we have visit. Then, what about the toilet paper? Do you require it be bagged or can it go in with the compost? Any skid marks before making it through that trap door that have to be cleaned? Any previous urine to gurgle in that bottle they have to aim for? Presumably, you want them to turn the compost when they're done, which will be a different experience from flushing. Unless both delicate and dumb (good entertainment if they are), they will realize they are just mixing it in. Any chance they just won't follow these rules and pee on your compost?

Quote:
Better still, stick with your standard marine head. They work fine. I'm not saying everyone should switch to composters. There are significant benefits (for those who are not grossed out by it all), but it's not perfect, and there are some downsides. Just like with most things in our sailing/cruising world, there is no one right answer for everyone.
I agree and I'm not trying to talk anyone out of a composter. Just adding one of the issues to consider. Guests may be grossed out.
__________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Jeanneau 54DS

In the harsh marine environment, something is always in need of repair. Margaritas fix everything.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #45  
Old 10-05-2013
MikeOReilly's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario
Posts: 1,060
Thanks: 96
Thanked 48 Times in 43 Posts
Rep Power: 5
MikeOReilly is on a distinguished road
Re: Composting Toilets vs. Holding Tank

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
You are absolutely right that living aboard has many unusual requirements compared to living ashore. Most of us would look at my master stateroom, with separate shower and head, a centerline queen-king bed and built in settees on each side and consider it a magnificent suite. Almost every non-boater that's aboard thinks it looks like a sardine can, with the aft cockpit above the mattress and only about 20 sq ft that one can actually fully stand upright.
Wow ... now I'm jealous. Your boat sounds more impressive than my house on shore. Want some more visitors .

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
I'm specifically referring to these non-boater's perspective, not sailors, which one may have as guests aboard. We have a ton of them every season. Knowing that a weeks worth of turds are just below that trap would clearly disturb some of the delicate landlubbing flowers we have visit. Then, what about the toilet paper? Do you require it be bagged or can it go in with the compost? Any skid marks before making it through that trap door that have to be cleaned? Any previous urine to gurgle in that bottle they have to aim for? Presumably, you want them to turn the compost when they're done, which will be a different experience from flushing. Unless both delicate and dumb (good entertainment if they are), they will realize they are just mixing it in. Any chance they just won't follow these rules and pee on your compost?
Again, I'm not trying to convince anyone to go compost over standard. But just in case people are using this thread as research, let me answer that:
  • TP goes into the head. Paper composts just fine.
  • Skid marks? Same as a normal marine head. You skid it, you clean it. However, my experience so far is that it's a lot harder to skid using the NH compared to my old Skippers Head (which will be for sale soon).
  • There is no "aiming" for urine or feces. Sit and go. The design aligns everything perfectly.
  • Yes, a churn is necessary. Seems less yecky than flushing, either manually or electrically.
I can't really comment on your concerns about "delicate" visitors. Seriously Minn ... who are these people? I guess we just move in very different circles. Wouldn't they be equally squeamish knowing their turds were now mixed with urine, floating in a toxic sludge mere feet away?

There are some significant challenges with these composting heads. The main one is crew size. I would not recommend any of the commercial options (NH, AH, CH) for full time use if crew size is more than three. Emptying requires that you get more personal with your effluent compared to a holding tank. And yes, there is the challenge of proper disposal.

On the flip side, the benefits include much greater range between dumps (for a two-person crew anyway), a lot less complicated, much safer (no holes in your boat, no toxic sludge to flow anywhere in the case of tank or hose failures), significant space savings (no holding tank, reduced plumbing), and cheaper in the long run (no more paying for pump outs).

I would not recommend a composting head for people who spend most of their time in marinas, or who sail mostly in dense urban areas. On the other hand, if you like to be on your own hook, especially in out of the way places, then the self-sufficiency of a composter is a major benefit.

Again, both have their plusses and minues. I've used a standard head for over a decade on our boats. They work fine. But for our sailing and cruising style, a composting head is a great boon.
__________________
Why go fast, when you can go slow.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #46  
Old 10-05-2013
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Narragansett Bay
Posts: 8,847
Thanks: 10
Thanked 131 Times in 117 Posts
Rep Power: 6
Minnewaska will become famous soon enough Minnewaska will become famous soon enough
Re: Composting Toilets vs. Holding Tank

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeOReilly View Post
Wow ... now I'm jealous. Your boat sounds more impressive than my house on shore. Want some more visitors .
I hope you realize, I wasn't showing off, but making a point that non-sailors compare our accommodations to their shore experience.

Quote:
Again, I'm not trying to convince anyone to go compost over standard.
Nor am I the opposite. Just insuring that all points are considered.

Quote:
TP goes into the head. Paper composts just fine
That's great, but as we've discussed, it doesn't actually compost in the short period of time. Some users require TP goes in a bag. Yuk.

Quote:
Skid marks? Same as a normal marine head. You skid it, you clean it.
Not exactly. Skids in a water flush often take care of themselves, particularly if you lubricate the bowl with a quick flush of water before you sit. If not, you use a brush and flush to clean both. Exactly how do you clean the skid from the composter?

Quote:
I can't really comment on your concerns about "delicate" visitors. Seriously Minn ... who are these people? I guess we just move in very different circles.
I'm sure that isn't true. People are people. I'm not saying its everyone, but its just not uncommon.

Quote:
Wouldn't they be equally squeamish knowing their turds were now mixed with urine, floating in a toxic sludge mere feet away?
Not in my experience.

Just the opposite. Non sailors just assume that the waste has left the premises the moment they can't see it any longer. As we know, it needs a lot of chase water to get it all the way to the holding tank.
__________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Jeanneau 54DS

In the harsh marine environment, something is always in need of repair. Margaritas fix everything.

Last edited by Minnewaska; 10-05-2013 at 04:15 PM.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #47  
Old 10-05-2013
hellosailor's Avatar
Plausible Deniability
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 10,559
Thanks: 2
Thanked 83 Times in 81 Posts
Rep Power: 10
hellosailor has a spectacular aura about hellosailor has a spectacular aura about
Re: Composting Toilets vs. Holding Tank

Skid marks? Use a bigger bowl under the seat, or larger coffee filters. Isn't that why they use them?

Actually ToTo, a major Japanese supplier of toilets, invested a lot of money into special porcelain surfacing so that nothing sticks to their bowls. There are indeed folks who spend all of their time working on these issues.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #48  
Old 10-05-2013
bblument's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Syracuse area, NY
Posts: 198
Thanks: 39
Thanked 27 Times in 20 Posts
Rep Power: 2
bblument is on a distinguished road
Re: Composting Toilets vs. Holding Tank

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post

Some users require TP goes in a bag. Yuk.


That was exactly our reaction during our second trip to Isla Mujeres. The first time, we stayed in one of the standard tourist condo hotels. While we were there, we met a lot of great people who lived on the island who introduced us to the possibility of renting small apartments. Much cheaper, a more authentic experience, and in general just a more of an "escape" type of vacation; we were more able to immerse ourselves in a different way of life than the typical rat-race for more crap (no pun intended) at home.

First eye-opener was the requirement of the apartment owner to not put anything in the toilet that you didn't eat first, including used toilet paper. My wife was so grossed out by the prospect that we almost bailed out and went back to a "real" hotel. Fortunately, we came to our senses. It's no problem at all, doesn't stink, no more difficult.... it's just something we weren't used to. I mean, without getting too indelicate, you have to handle the toilet paper once you use it; what's the difference where you drop it? Put it in a garbage can/bag, twist the bag close, and go enjoy the rest of your day.

We felt really stupid the second day, and apologized to the owner for our initial reaction. She laughed, saying "Don't worry about it; I would have thought you were one strange gringo if you WEREN'T surprised at first." Sweet lady.... like everyone else we met on Isla. We've been back a ton of times, and always stayed in private apartments since.

Customs are just customs. That's all. Easy to change.

Barry
__________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
"Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza." - Dave Barry

Last edited by Faster; 10-22-2013 at 07:49 PM. Reason: fixed quote
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #49  
Old 10-05-2013
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: British Columbia
Posts: 2,331
Thanks: 19
Thanked 32 Times in 31 Posts
Rep Power: 3
Brent Swain is on a distinguished road
Re: Composting Toilets vs. Holding Tank

Non boaters have an environmental impact with is, in some ways, thousands of times that of those who live aboard ,while getting downright sanctimonius about we who live aboard boats. What they consider "NORMAL is an environmental impact which would take several more planets to sustain indefinitely. They put their recyclables in the blue box, drive their motor homes to the polls, to vote for the green party, then to the airport to catch a plane to the far side of the planet ,regularly,increasing their environmental foot print exponentially in the process, and preach against hunters, while paying General foods to burn the rainforests for their food supply, all the while, heating 24-7, a huge house, far bigger than they ever need, and driving their gas guzzling cars daily, while criticizing the oil industry for feeding their habits.
Compared to them, the average live aboard's environmental foot print is microscopic.
__________________
Brent Swain, Boat designer, Builder, and author of "Origami Metal Boatbuilding"
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #50  
Old 10-22-2013
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 11
Thanks: 1
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
themerryonion is on a distinguished road
Re: Composting Toilets vs. Holding Tank

This is all great information and debate. One thing that no one has touched on is the fact that the boat currently has no holding tank. So I was wondering about installing that vs. a composting head. We are going to have to do something. Now that I've read about pros and cons of each, which is more expensive in the short and long term?
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
Reply

Tags
catalina 27 , composting toilet , head , holding tank , liveaboard


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

 
Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may post attachments
You may edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Convert existing steel freshwater tank to blackwater holding tank? patrickstickler General Discussion (sailing related) 7 09-24-2010 07:55 PM
Composting Toilets Pendle Gear & Maintenance 15 09-22-2010 08:47 PM
Holding Tank leterip Announcements and Suggestions Box 2 12-23-2008 10:03 AM
Composting Toilets tumblebug General Discussion (sailing related) 1 02-10-2008 02:39 PM
Composting Toilets tjvanginkel Gear & Maintenance 23 09-23-2007 11:43 AM


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 02:34 PM.

Add to My Yahoo!         
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
SEO by vBSEO 3.6.1
(c) Marine.com LLC 2000-2012

The SailNet.com store is owned and operated by a company independent of the SailNet.com forum. You are now leaving the SailNet forum. Click OK to continue or Cancel to return to the SailNet forum.