Second Composter Setup

So, we’re getting a better handle on frequency and volume of our, err…output, and have a pretty good system in place. Now that we’ve been at it for 3 1/2 weeks, I have been pleased to see how little odor there is associated with a properly maintained composting toilet.

When we started in, we researched various options. Being hooked to the blackwater tank (which will feature into the final design, although we will use a combo of RV toilet and composting toilet, depending on the amenities available to us) in our current state would mean about a 15 mile drive to the nearest dump site. The composting toilet simply means we need to have a way to handle the waste.

The composting toilet options are variable. There are the expensive ones, which feature a crank handle and turn the compost while it is in the toilet, but as several reviews I read pointed out, if it jams or breaks down, guess what you’re doing? Yup, taking parts out…by hand…the bucket and seat system is not only the cheapest option but probably the best. The best part is, if you don’t balance your wood chips or peat moss properly and have an odor, you can dump it early on.

I have to admit, this is an area where I am particularly squeamish, and, other than winter camp setup, probably the part that made me the most nervous going in. I was not going to pile everything into an open compost pile, as it made me nervous to think of my children incidentally going near it.

So we decided to go with a compost tumbler. We looked locally and could not find one (even had one guy at a home and garden place look at us like we were aliens when we asked about them). Ultimately, what we came across was the Yimbly compost tumbler. It is an easy setup, has good capacity, and affordable (we bought 2 direct for $130…more on that later). It features two compartments, a must for compost tumblers, I figure, because this allows you to add to the second chamber while the first is maturing.

The reason for the second tumbler is simply…volume. based on what we have seen so far, it will take six to 8 weeks before we are completely full, and in that time, while the compost won’t be safe to use on food plants, it should be safe enough to turn out into an open compost pile without fear of the nasties giving one or more of us a fatal disease. At that point the bugs and worms and such can break it down pretty quickly.

So far, FAR less disgusting as I thought (as a matter of fact, I would even say it is less disgusting than a flush toilet, as you clean the “bowl” (bucket) every time you dump the contents). And far cheaper than a twice weekly drive to a dump site. Still, as the crowdfunding campaign advances, we will eventually have a blackwater tank installed.

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