So, we dumpster most of the food we eat, shoplift what we can't, monoculture coffee shops can't seem to keep their windows from getting smashed, and we just emailed the White House 1.7 gazillion times about the Jefferson Nail Forest 700 acre timber sale. We live, eat, and breath non-participation in a system we don t agree with. And yet, we still contribute to the most polluting, most land-stripping, most generally destructive service Capitalism has to offer The Sewer System - we still shit in flush toilets, and we still flush it away. The system is shit, and we shit in it!
The sewer system is not only incredibly expensive to operate and maintain (yes, every time you buy a pack of smokes, you re paying for it!), it also demands an insane amount of energy and dumps millions of gallons of highly toxic chemicals into the environment and into our drinking water.
Let s get boring and take a look at some of the facts
Human fecal matter is not a benign substance it contains dangerous pathogens that are potentially fatal if irresponsibly managed.
irresponsible management has led to plagues, typhoid, the Stock Market and more
Hookworms, pinworms, and roundworms scare everybody, but . Hookworms infect about 500 million
Pinworms infect 208.8 million - is not transmitted through feces S Roundworm infect 900 million - I million in the U.S.
Pathogenic worms rarely, if ever, survive the composting process.
Pathogens in general cannot survive outside their host for very long at all. In this case, the host is your up yer ass (see dry-ass charts I and 2)
Urine does not contain ammonia! Ammonia is toxic while urine is sterile. Urine is very nitrogen rich. Nitrogen evolves into ammonia quite rapidly when it mixes with the air. Nitrogen is a valuable resource while ammonia is not. The nasty-ass piss smell is indicative of nitrogen loss, making it twice as evil.
Don t turn your compost pile! For fuck s sake! Every time you turn it you lose a ton of nutrients. If, for instance, you turn it once every two weeks, you lose 75% of your nitrogen! Instead, use two compost piles and rotate them fill one up, switch to the other. A backyard compost pile will not and has never exploded. Fuck urban legends.
5 billion gallons of purified water get flushed every day. In the U.S., groundwater usage exceeds replacement by 21 billion gallons a day.
If you stop using flush toilets, you would save 13,000 gallons of water from bciig contaminated by your 165 gallons of excrement per year
HOW TO COMPOST YOUR SHIT
(IN TEN EASY STEPS)
1. Obtain a few same-sized 5 gallon buckets with lids (check construction site dumpsters) and clean them out if you have to.
2. Go back to those dumpsters and get the scrap lumber. This is what you ll need to make your badass ne er flushing toilet (see picture #1).
3. Find a source of raw sawdust (i.e. not from a woodshop or lumber store which may use pressure treated wood - which is HIGHLY toxic, the treatment being Cromated Copper Arsenate, CCA or arsenic for short), mulch, shredded newspaper, rotting wood chips, leaf mould, peat moss, grass clippings (watch out for chemically treated grass, like ChemLawn), or any organic cover material. Hardwood sawdust and wheat straw decompose the fastest. This will be what you cover your shit with, and it will prevent your composting toilet from smelling had (see picture #2). Try to keep your toilet covered with the lid when you re not using it. Both of these things will keep flies, which you can now think of as disease vectors that carry germs from poop to your dinner plates, off your shit. Don t you wish all it took were grass clippings to keep your slack-ass housemates away from your shit, too?
4. Call around and find either (and this is important) a food grade, or, better yet, a plastic 55-gallon drum with a lid. This can run you about $7, but could he free, especially behind bakeries. Just look around whenever you re done pulling out bagels and pastries from the dumpster. This is where you can do your composting especially living in a city, where having a traditional compost pile might not he possible, or at least be pretty tricky.
5. Chop a hole in the lid to accept a length of ABS pipe (looks like black PVC, but is not PVC, which is one of the most toxic construction materials around). The pipe should be at least I foot long, and be split half in and half out of the drum lid. We speculate that if you had a long enough length, ran it to the bottom of the barrel, and drilled a bunch of 1/2 holes in it, the aeration would be way better and composting would be hastened. We haven t tried this method, so we don t know for sure. Cover the ends (or all the holes on the lower half) with bug screen (see picture #3). You now have your very own composter!
6. Piss and shit in your 5-gallon buckets. One bucket at a time, now. You have a few just in case you get lazy or totally drunk and pass out. As a starter, put 2-4 of you cover material on the bottom before your morning coffee, which we all know, gets them bowels movin . Cover every deposit with a healthy can full of your cover material. In a punk house of four, this will fill up in 2 to 4 days, or thereabouts, depending on whether you eat anything besides bagels. Dump the full bucket into the 55-gallon drum, and occasionally roll the drum around. Yeah, yeah, we said don t turn your piles, but that s for an open-air, happy worm-with-the-munchies type pile. This is a closed 55-gallon drum with a little bit of airflow. This drum, by the way, gets left out in the sun, and it s a good idea to paint it black - you re an anarchist, danmit, and besides, the black absorbs heat really well and will probably heat up your crap to above 140 degrees Fahrenheit routinely (take a look at the dry ass charts again), probably killing anything dangerous throughout in one days time. If odors become a problem pee sometimes outside, on the soil, which can accept urine full strength. Don t pee on trees, the bark could burn, potentially compromising the health of the tree.
7. We would imagine you could also toss in kitchen scraps. With the proper carbon (which is what food scraps have a lot of)/ nitrogen (which is what your crap has a lot of) ratio (the ideal being 30/1) you ll get what s called thermophilic conditions and the whole thing will easily heat up, without the sun, to over 120 degrees Fahrenheit and most likely stay that way for almost two weeks. Most backyard compost piles have little to no nitrogen, which is why they fuckin fester and never seem to do much of anything, and smell like rotting nastiness (because that s exactly what it is). If you have a back yard and neighbors who aren t too pesky, including humanure with all it s bad-assed nitrogen is the ideal thing for your compost.
8. Shit breaks down really fast. After the last dumping of the 5-gallon bucket into the drum (not quite totally full of shit), it should take maybe four months of sifting around to be pretty well composted (although, very little composting happens above 140 degrees Fahrenheit). Most IikeIy though if it s summertime, and if you ve had some good sun days, the crap will he totally hygienic after a month. Eventually, you are going to want to give the good worms a chance at it. Good worms could be Arkansas Red Wigglers, or any old Earthworm, really. If you had outdoor composting, they d just make their way over naturally and chow down on the cooling phase part your pile.
9. It s time to part with your shit. Again, if you have any access to an outdoor compost pile, dump it there. There will be a good amount of nitrogen left, and a HUGE amount of beneficial microorganisms in there to get the rest of the pile composting quicker than hell. Otherwise, take it somewhere at night and bury it. Yeah, it sucks to not enjoy the benefits of your nutrient rich soil additive, but watch as things grow like mad in your midnight garden.
10. So, it may not be possible for you to have a 55-gallon drum anywhere. You live in an apartment with hundreds of people perhaps. The option could be obtaining a lot of 5-gallon buckets, say a dozen or more depending on how many people will be using them, crap and pee in em as per instructions 1,2,3, and some of 6. When they fill up, leave them in a sunny spot, with the lids on tight, for about a month or two. They also have to get over 122 degrees Fahrenheit for at least a full day. They will not compost, as it is not an aerobic situation. But, the heat will anaerobically destroy harmful pathogens. Some people say let it sit for six months. They re scaredy-cats. If you have room for six months worth of 5-gallon buckets, go for it. Pathogens are weak, and unless you have worms (and you ll know) or are really sick, it s not that big of a deal. While you re wailing for the buckets to sit around long enough, organize everyone in your building complex into the first inner-U.S. composting toilet utilizing structure. After you ve kept the buckets healing for however long (ok, ok, longer is better...) go back to #9, and bury it clandestine-style. It ll probably still look like shit, so be mindful of the pigs. No, none of this is ideal. But, at least this way you re not contributing to Global ruination, and are keeping your organic excrement in nature.
Information for this was stolen from The Humarnure Handbook, by Joe Jenkins. A great book by all accounts. Also, there is our personal experience, as well as graphics from The Ghetto Garden (which includes a good deal of our personal experience).
Turn shitting into an act of revolution!
Shit composting is a Garbage Liberation Front sanctioned form of resistance.