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post #111 of 130 Old 07-26-2019
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Re: Natures Head Composting Head....

Perhaps not a first choice for a larger boat, but for small boats with very small head compartments it may be a very good choice. I use it when we are cruising both as an emergency toilet as well as a means to cruise when we are away from pump out stations. I use reconstituted sawdust from equine pine pellets that is stored in left over 1/2 gallon pretzel type containers.

Foreign boats visiting the US that have direct discharge toilets could temporarily disable their toilets and use this system with very little investment and no boat alteration. A bucket sitting in the bowl of the existing toilet and a pool noodle will work.
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post #112 of 130 Old 07-27-2019
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Re: Natures Head Composting Head....

One photo is the original porta potty, a chamber pot. Not very useful in a boat but certainly worked in its day.

The other photo is a 3.5 gallon paint pail with a Magellan snap on toilet seat. The wood shavings are on the bottom left. These are for boaters who need an emergency toilet or can deal with the procedures needed to operate the toilet. This may not be attractive to many boaters but it can be a practical, functioning toilet.
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post #113 of 130 Old 07-29-2019
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Re: Natures Head Composting Head....

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Originally Posted by MikeOReilly View Post
Nice work, and probably a lot cheaper than the commercial versions as well.
Thank you. Less than $200 to build.

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post #114 of 130 Old 07-29-2019
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Re: Natures Head Composting Head....

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Originally Posted by North Channel Sailor View Post
Delta, great job. One suggestion. My Airhead is sealed on the lid with a rubber seal and the vent is screened. Maybe figure something out to stop flies from getting in. If it's not feasible than use diatomaceous earth in your compost mix to kill them.
The way I see it is you need relief air in order to exhaust out. Without out air in, there is no air out. No flies to date after four years.

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post #115 of 130 Old 07-29-2019
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Re: Natures Head Composting Head....

Agreed Delta-T, good setup. If you need to go with a smaller footprint, you will have to eliminate the urine collection bottle or use a remote bottle. The sawdust footprint is about 11"x 11" with the 5 gallon bucket. A cabinet enclosure (see "sawdust toilets" on the web for many pictures of cabinet builds) would be very nice as a finish touch like Delta did.

Another good way to get a functional toilet in a boat.
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post #116 of 130 Old 07-29-2019
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Re: Natures Head Composting Head....

Becoming more established in some public florida anchorages/mooring fields is having a recwipt of urine dump no older than 1 week if using compost toilet.
Gotta bring your pee to the harbor pee collection station, that also accepts compost. Its free..no cost, but gotta be able to prove you dumped..properly.

I think straight, undiluted urine may be cleaner than the waters in some harbors.
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post #117 of 130 Old 07-29-2019
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Re: Natures Head Composting Head....

This situation may be a case where the sawdust toilet, with the urine and feces contained in a single compartment, may be a pretty decent option. Assuming a couple will utilize two dump cycles a week, a weekly dinghy trip to the compost bin with 2 sealed buckets of bagged waste probably would not be onerous. If the toilet has been properly operated there will be no sloshing around and no odor. The separating toilets certainly work in this situation. To each their own choice.
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post #118 of 130 Old 07-30-2019
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Re: Natures Head Composting Head....

Like I said Jim, these sawdust heads really are quite different than the composting heads discussed here. They’re more akin to a portapotti, albeit more pleasant to empty (I would think). The critical factor in making dessicators function is the liquid/solid separation. That, along with drying of the feces material.

The sawdust bin approach works, just as a portapotti works. But I can’t see it making much sense for more than weekenders, and perhaps for dock-bound folks, but in the latter case why not just us the shore facilities?

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post #119 of 130 Old 07-30-2019
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Re: Natures Head Composting Head....

The sawdust toilet appears to be a niche toilet that will have use in a small head compartment or as an emergency toilet. It would also have utility on boats with direct discharge units that move into US waters. It would certainly be useful for marina live aboards who can use shore side facilities on a regular basis but must move their boats for pump out services. It is another design that may find usefulness to some boaters.

I still have my holding tank system and have no plans to remove it. It works fine with minimal odor and problems. I use the sawdust toilet to extend our cruising time when we are without the services of a pump out facility.

Oh, yes, it is much more pleasant to empty than our old portapotty. (it does not slosh, spill or stink)

Photo is of a sawdust toilet in a Pearson 365.
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Re: Natures Head Composting Head....

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Originally Posted by paulinnanaimo View Post
It's probably tough to generalize, but can you give an estimate of the cost of required materials for the head. Let's say 2 people for 2 months or something similar.
Very, very little! Our costs, living aboard about 50%, have been maybe $3 to $5 per month, for two persons, if I had to dump and reload today. But I don't...

Prior to installing our Nature's Head, I was under the (mis)impression that you were supposed to add more material with each "flush." I wondered what visitors would think of this. But, no worries, the manual says not to. (Pg 13, 2nd from last paragraph.)

When we ordered the NH, we bought 2 bricks of coir at Walmart (the bigger ones have it in the garden center, but not all locations carry it) for somewhere between $6 and $10 per brick. I forget the exact. We hacked one into a pile of chips with a dive knife. Then, following the manual, we added just enough water to soften enough chips to make a couple gallons worth (expanded) and dumped it in. That was most of, but not all of, one brick. Coulda used the whole first brick, but we filled it just to the level the manual said.

We stay on the boat from 1 to 3 weeks, and go home for 1 to 2 weeks. Repeat. After 2.5 months we have yet to add any more coir or empty the #2 bin. The only other cost so far is the paper, which I assume you use anyway. To save bulk we use cheap, single ply "Scott" brand.

We take the urine jug to dump into the porta potty at the end of the marina dock row every 3 to 4 days when we start to see the level visible in the jug (comes above the height of the jug holder of the main unit).

Initially we often used vinegar water as a spray / rinse / flush, but that smelled worse than the poo. Now we only spray to get rid of the (very rare) skid mark.

We love the thing!

Routing the air vent out of the boat without making more holes in the boat, especially where we might get a splash of water was the biggest installation hurdle.

Second challenge was that the old Jabsco was on a platform over the curve in the hull. I had to extend the platform forward to support the NH, and we added a step / footrest in front, because the NH + the platform is pretty tall. (The NH is the height of a standard toilet, unlike the Jabsco which is some kind of kiddie training potty.) Standing on the platform I hit my head on the overhead.

If I had to do it again, I *might* look for a smaller model, just to simplify installation. But the composting head concept, if implemented correctly, is so very much better than the holding tank and twice weekly pumpout.

Last edited by DeepDish; 08-01-2019 at 03:12 PM.
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