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I am convinced that the razzing comes from a position of ignorance. People just dont know what is possible. They think that dumping your "waste" into water is a "sanitary" way of dealing with it. Obviously, it is not. All you need do, is experince a failing traditional head system to know this is true.
Yes, composting is a very different approach and may require the owner to do things a traditional head would not need, like emptying the urine catch more often and carrying peat moss onboard.
But the benefits. Just ask anyone who has made the change. There is no comparison, by my assessment.
 

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First Im in favour of composting heads. But if u-r liveaboard or extended cruiser and only have one head how does it get to be fully composted. Where and how do you dispose of partially composted material. Inshore put in garbage bag and then into public garbagecan? Offshore dump directly into ocean? You could make an airhead out of a couple of 5 gallon pails and a toilet seat,just not as pretty. Say you had 2 heads and could let one go the full distance. Where do you dispose of the compost?
 

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First Im in favour of composting heads. But if u-r liveaboard or extended cruiser and only have one head how does it get to be fully composted. Where and how do you dispose of partially composted material. Inshore put in garbage bag and then into public garbagecan? Offshore dump directly into ocean? You could make an airhead out of a couple of 5 gallon pails and a toilet seat,just not as pretty. Say you had 2 heads and could let one go the full distance. Where do you dispose of the compost?
I’d like to know these things too.

Does anybody actually put their compost into a plastic bag to dispose of? Doesn’t this defeat the whole purpose of the compost?
 

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Doesn’t this defeat the whole purpose of the compost?
To a degree, but not being able to fully compost doesn't diminish the major advantage of composting toilets over holding tank heads and porta potties - keeping liquid and solid separate.
 

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Once the plastic bag is sealed shut there won't be any further composting going on until the contents were exposed to air again.

For this reason, I would only use the plastic bags to transfer the waste from head to shore and not for storage aboard (though some have had luck storing waste aboard in sealed plastic buckets). The composting toilet's solids container can also be lined with a plastic bag to make the transfer process easier.

Ideally the waste would always be transferred to a shoreside compost bin to finish breaking down. The reality though, especially when cruising, is that it's quite difficult to do that. Perhaps eventually composting toilets or just general composting will gain enough penetration that every marina and dinghy dock will have a compost bin, but until that happens the only alternative in a lot of situations is just to bag up the solid waste and chuck it in the garbage.
 

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leave compost in finishing drawer for 3-4 weeks

That doesn' seem practical for a live aboard couple.
I agree. This kind of post lets me be frank about this; I have one to two bowel movements a day. If it is time to empty my "bucket", what about all the waste that hasn't decomposed yet? I don't want to put it into a plastic bag, because to me that defeats the purpose and puts another damn bag onto my beautiful green earth.

So how do people that live-aboard deal with the partially composted material?
 

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We liveaboard. We partially empty ours every two weeks into a biobag and toss it in the garbage. The remainder starts "cooking" the new stuff. If we had one of them weirdo land housey things, we'd start a composting pile. As it is, I don't feel too bad about 3 gallons in a bag that will biodegrade and let our #2 combine with all the diapers and banana peels and rotting carcasses leftover from the weekends BBQ. And if we ever get our old boat 3 miles offshore, bloop!

If you are tired of the stench of old hoses and the extra hole in the boat, and the nasty nasty holding tanks, get one. It rocks.
 

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We liveaboard. We partially empty ours every two weeks into a biobag and toss it in the garbage. The remainder starts "cooking" the new stuff. If we had one of them weirdo land housey things, we'd start a composting pile. As it is, I don't feel too bad about 3 gallons in a bag that will biodegrade and let our #2 combine with all the diapers and banana peels and rotting carcasses leftover from the weekends BBQ. And if we ever get our old boat 3 miles offshore, bloop!

If you are tired of the stench of old hoses and the extra hole in the boat, and the nasty nasty holding tanks, get one. It rocks.
I probably will get one eventually. I'm just trying to figure it all out and justify the cost of a plastic bucket with a toilet seat on it.
 

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why is that?

leave compost in finishing drawer for 3-4 weeks

That doesn' seem practical for a live aboard couple.
Would you need to empty the finishing drawer more often than the manufacturer recommends?
If so, why?
Of anyone that has installed one, I have not heard that this is an issue.
 

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The US EPA has a PDF file online about composting toilets. No pun intended, but the "bottom line" is that most of what are being sold as composting toilets for boats? Aren't.

The EPA recognizes two kinds of composting toilets. One, where the waste gradually fills a bin so that what you are removing is typically a year old, as it progresses down from the toilet. After a year in the proper conditions, it has composted and is no longer hazardous sanitary waste.

The other, requiring AT LEAST TWO BINS or composting units. You use one, the either swap it out or move ot the other, and ALLOW THE FIRST BIN TO COMPOST for at least a full month. Longer depending on conditions.

So...composting toilet for boats? Unless you have two of them, or two bins and space to swap them out, it is nothing more than a cedar bucket with aspirations to be something more. And what comes out of it, is still "sanitary waste" that requires the appropriate permit and special handling to be disposed of, or buried, ashore.

I know, waste is waste and a "dry head" may still be more convenient than a holding tank full of wet waste. But as far as I can see--the things being sold as composting toilets, for single installation on boats, just aren't going to generate any kind of sterile safe compost.

Of course, they're way easier to find than plain old cedar buckets. :)
 

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perhaps the old traditional holding tank is replaced with a "holding bin" (also vented) that partially composted peat and waste is moved to until it composts fully.
Just a thought.
If it can be done late enough in the process, its shouldnt be too hard to manage. Still preferable to a wet storage I would think.
 

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Replace it with two holding bins, each with a liquid separator, and you've got a valid composting system. Just remember--each bin needs to have temperature and ventilation and liquid separation managed, and be large enough to hold all your waste for somewhere between one and three months to allow that compost time to ripen.

I'll go with a holding tank, and peeing in a urinal. (Ladies, turn away. Sometimes men use the sink.)
 

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The US EPA has a PDF file online about composting toilets. No pun intended, but the "bottom line" is that most of what are being sold as composting toilets for boats? Aren't.

The EPA recognizes two kinds of composting toilets. One, where the waste gradually fills a bin so that what you are removing is typically a year old, as it progresses down from the toilet. After a year in the proper conditions, it has composted and is no longer hazardous sanitary waste.

The other, requiring AT LEAST TWO BINS or composting units. You use one, the either swap it out or move ot the other, and ALLOW THE FIRST BIN TO COMPOST for at least a full month. Longer depending on conditions.

So...composting toilet for boats? Unless you have two of them, or two bins and space to swap them out, it is nothing more than a cedar bucket with aspirations to be something more. And what comes out of it, is still "sanitary waste" that requires the appropriate permit and special handling to be disposed of, or buried, ashore.

I know, waste is waste and a "dry head" may still be more convenient than a holding tank full of wet waste. But as far as I can see--the things being sold as composting toilets, for single installation on boats, just aren't going to generate any kind of sterile safe compost.

Of course, they're way easier to find than plain old cedar buckets. :)
Do you have a link to that PDF? It would be very useful.
 

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So now that summer is underway and approaching Sept. What's the word on the composting toilets? Stinky or better than sliced bread?
 

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non-stinky

Chronology:
- installed Nature's Head in spring
- used by two guys for two weeks continuously
- used by me weekends thereafter
- I neglected to put a screen on the vent hose and got a fruit fly infestation
- emptied and cleaned the solids bin (it sat unused for two weeks prior) smelled like potting soil ... put the compost in my compost pile at home
- if I didn't get the fruit flies, I would still not need to empty it
- I basically live at the Marina most weekends - definitely don't miss the pump-outs!
- would definitely do it again!
 

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Chronology:
- installed Nature's Head in spring
- used by two guys for two weeks continuously
- used by me weekends thereafter
- I neglected to put a screen on the vent hose and got a fruit fly infestation
- emptied and cleaned the solids bin (it sat unused for two weeks prior) smelled like potting soil ... put the compost in my compost pile at home
- if I didn't get the fruit flies, I would still not need to empty it
- I basically live at the Marina most weekends - definitely don't miss the pump-outs!
- would definitely do it again!
So did you end up using your existing vent hose outlet for the holding tank as planned? If you don't mind me asking, where is that vent, and where is your head in relation? We're very interested in installing a composted head this winter, but I'm still trying to work out the logistics of how we would install our nicro vent or use the existing vent line, so I'm very interested in how others have done the project.

Thanks!
-J
 

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Composting Head vent

J

I originally vented the head through the old holding tank vent but found that to be too restrictive. Now I've got it vented through the holding tank deck pump-out fitting. I dremeled out the center of the fitting's cap and hot-glued screen onto it. I get a small amount of rain water through the screen and down the hose which is easy to deal with. I use the built in fan on the Nature's Head.

Total run for the vent hose is about 10 feet ... I'll get pictures next time I'm down to the boat.
 
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