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Humanure Handbook, 1st edition

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The Process

Although most of the world's humanure is quickly flushed down a drain, or discarded into the environment as a pollutant, it could instead be converted, through composting, into lush vegetative growth, and used to feed humanity.First, construct or purchase a humanure toilet, and take a look at some owner-built toilet designs, or the Loveable Loo, and some owner-built compost bins. Read the Humanure Compost Toilet System Instruction Manual.

Humanure Toilet

The humanure toilet is a collection device.

humanure toilet

It is best located indoors. Sawdust (or other suitable cover material) covers the contents of the toilet, thereby eliminating odors, adding carbon, and absorbing lIquids.

humanure toilet

Both seats up allow for a male urinal.

humanure toilet

The toilet container should be easily removable.

humanure toilet

Humanure Toilet

The toilet materials are taken to a compost site. A four-receptacle system should require emptying about once a week for a family of four when each container has a five gallon or 20 liter capacity. When the containers are full, they're set aside (with lids) in the toilet room or other suitable location. They should never be allowed to freeze.

Watch a video showing how to empty the containers.

Look at some owner-built humanure toilets, and the Loveable Loo.

Buy a compost thermometer.

Build a Compost Bin:

Below is an inexpensive and easy-to-build three-chambered compost bin made from pallets. The straw bale can act as a temporary fourth wall for the active bin. How to start a compost pile.

pallet compost bin

ALL organic materials (food scraps, fats, oils, meat, HUMANURE, grass clippings, garden weeds, etc.) go into the pile and are thoroughly covered with a clean cover material (in this case, straw and rotted leaves).

Humanure Hacienda

More elaborate compost bins can be built, such as the author's "Humanure Hacienda" (above and below) with a roof over the center bin to keep the excess cover material dry and to collect rain water.

VIDEO: Introduction to the Humanure Hacienda:



Humanure Hacienda

Humanure Hacienda

Note water collection system above (rain barrel) which allows for
convenient cleaning of the compost receptacle after emptying.

emptying the bucket

The toilet receptacle is emptied into the compost bin. Note that a depression has been dug into the top center of the bin contents with a pitchfork prior to emptying the receptacle. This prevents splash-back and runoff and makes it easier to keep the fresh material localized in the hot area of the compost pile.

VIDEO: An active compost bin:

VIDEO: Emptying toilet receptacles:




covering the compost

The fresh compost material has now been completely covered, in this case with weeds from the author's garden. Much of the cover material was simply raked back over the fresh deposit after the depression was dug and the material dumped into the bin. A compost thermometer is kept in the pile to monitor it's microbial activity.


cleaning the bucket

cleaning the bucket


The receptacle is rinsed, scrubbed with a long handled toilet brush and a little dish soap, then the wash water is poured onto the compost pile. One gallon will wash two five-gallon receptacles.

Look at some owner-built humanure compost bins.

VIDEO: Digging finished compost from a bin:


VIDEO: Steaming compost pile:




The Author's Garden...

Thirty years of humanure compost has kept the soil fertile without the need for additional fertilizers, other than chicken manure from a flock of about 10 chickens.

Joe Jenkins garden.

VIDEO: Humanure Compost Planting Trials (5 minutes, 40 seconds)



Jenkins garden.


Jenkins garden.

Jenkins garden.


The above photos, taken in 2007 after 28 years of humanure compost, are of the author's garden. If you are a humanure composter and want to share your garden photos and humanure composting experiences with us, please visit our message board.

VIDEO: Adding compost to a garden in the spring:


Get a Compost Thermometer!

Get a Compost Thermometer!


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