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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Composting Toilets vs. Holding Tank
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Thread: Composting Toilets vs. Holding Tank Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
11-21-2013 07:58 AM
copacabana
Re: Composting Toilets vs. Holding Tank

Quote:
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
#1 - You can put TP in the composter, but it will fill up faster. The other thing to consider is if you dump your compost in the woods (like me) or out at sea, you don't want to be leaving paper there. We use a small garbage can with lid lined with a plastic bag for all paper. When it's full we just tie it and dispose of it with our trash.

#2 - This may be a problem as it might not go directly in the hole to the composting chamber. We always keep a roll of paper towels and a spray bottle of vinegar solution beside the toilet just in case anyone "misses". Hasn't happened so far
11-20-2013 09:49 PM
captain jack
Re: Composting Toilets vs. Holding Tank

lol
11-20-2013 09:39 PM
Minnewaska
Re: Composting Toilets vs. Holding Tank

Any single ply TP is a perfectly suitable substitute for marketed marine TP.

So, we've talked about TP and diarrhea. Skid marks? Think about it. No flush water.
11-20-2013 07:28 PM
mitiempo
Re: Composting Toilets vs. Holding Tank

Marine (or RV) Tp is designed to dissolve far easier than conventional household Tp.

Easiest solution if Tp is a problem with any head system is to not put it in the head - as is done in many countries.
11-20-2013 07:00 PM
captain jack
Re: Composting Toilets vs. Holding Tank

what is marine TP?
11-20-2013 05:29 PM
MikeOReilly
Re: Composting Toilets vs. Holding Tank

Quote:
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.
11-20-2013 05:29 PM
miatapaul
Re: Composting Toilets vs. Holding Tank

Quote:
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.
11-20-2013 03:44 PM
casey1999
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
11-20-2013 02:50 PM
Rusty123
Re: Composting Toilets vs. Holding Tank

Quote:
Originally Posted by captain jack View Post
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.

Russ
11-19-2013 07:41 PM
Minnewaska
Re: Composting Toilets vs. Holding Tank

Quote:
Originally Posted by copacabana View Post
..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.

Quote:
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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