In natural ecosystems there is no waste, yet it feels strange for most of us to imagine pee and poo as anything other than exactly that, waste…
Since the 1950s we have been accustomed to flushing it down the toilet. This is a process that requires huge amounts of clean water that gets contaminated and then has to be purified again! Being thoughtful and making use of toilet waste, it may instead become a valuable resource.
At Suderbyn we use composting toilets to return and recycle waste to our land. In a composting toilet collected excreta – urine and faeces – are stored for long time. With proper care, it can be done hygienically and becomes an excellent fertiliser.
This particular composting toilet at Suderbyn separates urine and faeces. In the feaces compost, the stool is processed by means of heat, bacteria, worms and microorganisms. After two years of maturation in the compost the toilet waste has been converted into nutritious, hygienic soil ready for the garden. Urine is almost completely sterile but should still be stored for some time before use.
Urine is a quick-acting fertiliser with readily available nitrogen great for the plants. Urine can spread concentrated if avoiding watering directly on the growing leaves. Urine has a pungent smell of ammonia, so to avoid odor it’s necessary to water immediately after spreading or to rake over some soil. The faeces compost consists of organic matter and nutrients and may be used instead of peat moss and bone meal to improve the soil. The nutrients in the compost have long term effects meaning you can spread it before the growing season starts.
To read more about this topic, recycling our own waste, this is a good article: Recycling animal and human dung is the key to sustainable farming