Two regional composting toilets designers are teaming up to take composting toilets to a new level. “We’re making composting porta-potties: aka Porta-Posters, said Ben Goldberg and Abe Noe-Hays about this ingenious socially responsible new invention.What is the difference between these and an outhouse?
Outhouses just dump waste into a hole in the ground where it sits in an anaerobic blob, potentially leaching into the ground water. The porta-posters are self-contained and aerobically compost the humanure along with wood shavings. They are much more like porta-potties than outhouses, but without the smell or the slop of a porta-potty. Porta-posters are zero-discharge, and let you recycle the nutrients.Just how portable are they?
They’re similar to a small garden shed, but they can be moved around on a utility trailer. The accessible one in the picture rolled up the ramp onto a flatbed equipment trailer. They are heavier than the conventional porta-potties. They could be loaded and unloaded with a tractor with sufficient length loading forks.Where would one want to consider using one?
Right now, of the two we have in the field, one is, in a field at a remote residence who’s owners host a lot of gatherings, and a seasonal outdoor education center. We have had inquiries from farm stands and CSA’s who want facilities for their visitors and apprentices, a beach on Cape Cod, where the unit will be moved inside for the winter storm season. Some of the original ideas were for green building construction sites. I’m exploring whether they would be able to contribute to LEED credits for green job site practices. They could be placed along bike paths and hiking trails, where they could easily be serviced by pedal power or on foot.What is the required maintenance, and how often is it done?
Wood shavings need to be added frequently, ideally with each user tossing a small scoop of shavings down the toilet as a “dry flush” after each use. The 50 gallon solids drum we had in use lasted for the equivalent of two community fairs and still had room left over. The urine is diverted into a separate container and collected more frequently.Do they smell?
No, they don’t smell, as long as wood shavings are added regularly. The urine, which is the smelly stuff, is separated from the solids in a sealed container so the porta-potty smell is eliminated. The solids are covered with pine shavings after each use. The building is vented and could be supplied with a solar vent fan, though it hasn’t seemed necessary.Do they draw bugs?
Both times we had them in use, there were no flies. The collection drums are in a sealed chamber.Can you put toilet paper in them?
Yes. We encourage using 100% Post-Consumer Waste recycled toilet paper to discourage bleaching agents, plus, it’s just good practice.How do you collect the nutrients and what do you do with them?
Once full, the solids drum is exchanged with an empty one and capped with a vented cover. They are then sequestered for at least one year to compost. The compost can then be used on landscaping or buried, depending on local and state regulations. While one drum is composting, the other is filling.Do you have any testimonials?
They’ve not been in use that long to accrue many official testimonials, but the majority of feedback we got from the two festivals, was either about how people expected it to smell but it didn’t, and how cute it was. And the homeowner in Plainfield, MA does not use her indoor plumbing anymore.
They are made from as many recycled and reused products as we can find, and assembled using built to last techniques, using weatherproof fasteners and sealed or pressure treated lumber when necessary. Roof is made using a continuous sheet of Therma-clear panel for lighting, and each unit can be crafted to any size or style.
The sequestering drum system was designed by Abe Noe-Hays of Putney. Each drum has interior screening and a raised floor to allow oxygen flow and evaporation. This allows the contents to remain aerobic and thus non-smelly. They can be constructed using any size drum or even a wheelie bin. A Separett urine diverting privy seat does that part of the work for us, and I convert a recycled 5 gallon water jug for the urinal. www.separett.eu/default.asp?id=2473&ptid=2052.
For more info, you can reach Ben and Abe at: 413-586-3699 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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