No, the majority of people in the United States are not actively composting, and this can be attributed to various reasons. Some individuals may not have access to composting facilities or equipment, while others may not fully grasp the advantages.
Compost process with a compost toilet.
By integrating your compost toilet's contents into your existing compost system, you're closing the loop on your waste management, minimizing environmental impact, and creating valuable soil enrichment for your gardening endeavors. Remember to approach this process with care and respect for sanitation and environmental considerations.
Emptying Your Compost Toilet into Your Compost System:
Safety and Hygiene: Before you begin, ensure you're wearing appropriate protective gear like gloves and follow hygiene protocols. Safety first!
Emptying: Ensure that the compost mixture in your toilet has been well maintained and fully agitated.
Healthy Compost Mixture: Throughout the composting cycle within the unit, your solid waste should not emit a sewage smell, display signs of mold, attract pests, or have an unpleasant appearance and odor. If you're using OGO™ ORIGIN with its power agitation feature, your solid waste should blend seamlessly with the medium during each cycle.
Normal Changes: It's normal for your compost mixture to thicken and darken in color over time. However, when properly processed, it should not be distinguishable as waste in your bin.
Disposal Options: Once your compost mixture is ready for disposal, you have two eco-friendly options:
- Designated Compost Pile: You can directly empty the composted material into your designated compost pile. This is an environmentally responsible way to return valuable nutrients to the soil.
- Compost-Friendly Bag: Alternatively, you can tie off the composted material in a compost-friendly bag, ensuring it can continue to decompose efficiently when added to your composting system.
- Design Considerations: Your existing compost system should be designed to accept human waste. This might involve a designated composting bin or pile that's separated from your edible garden by time or physical barriers.
- Layering: When adding the compost mixture, layer it with other organic materials like yard waste, leaves, or kitchen scraps. This helps balance the carbon-to-nitrogen ratio and encourages efficient decomposition. You want about a 27 carbon : 1 nitrogen
- Aeration: Regularly turn or aerate the compost pile to facilitate proper decomposition. Oxygen is essential for breaking down organic matter effectively.
- Temperature and Time: Ensure the compost pile reaches and maintains a temperature that's conducive to composting (ideally between 135°F and 160°F or 57°C to 71°C). The composting process can take several months to a year, depending on conditions.
- Monitoring: Regularly monitor the compost pile's moisture levels and progress. Adjust the pile's composition if needed to maintain a healthy composting environment.
- Safety Guidelines: Follow local regulations and safety guidelines related to composting human waste. Be aware of any legal requirements or best practices in your area.
If you do not have a compost pile, don't worry.
If you find yourself without a compost pile for your compost toilet, there are still several responsible disposal options available, especially in the United States where many states have regulations that allow for the disposal of composted material tied in a plastic bag.
This approach is akin to handling adult diapers, with one crucial distinction – in just 6 to 12 months, your compost mixture will have completely broken down and become safe for the environment. In contrast, traditional diapers remain hazardous and contribute to environmental issues long after disposal. So, even if you don't have your compost pile, there are sustainable and hygienic alternatives to ensure responsible waste management.
Green alternatives for disposal of your waste.
Community Composting Programs: Check if your local community has composting programs or facilities that accept residential compostable waste. Many urban areas offer such services, allowing you to contribute to a larger composting initiative.
Municipal Green Bins: Some municipalities provide green waste bins for organic materials, including compostable waste. You can inquire if these bins are available in your area and if they accept residential compostable waste.
Local Farms or Gardens: Contact local farms, community gardens, or gardening clubs to inquire if they accept compostable material from residents. Some agricultural or gardening organizations may be open to receiving compostable waste for use in their projects.
Neighborhood or Friend's Compost Pile: If you have friends or neighbors with compost piles or bins, you may ask if they are willing to accept your composted material. Just ensure that they follow safe composting practices.
Compostable Bag Pickup: Some waste disposal services offer pickup for compostable bags. You can use compostable bags to store your composted material and arrange for pickup if available in your area.
Burying: In some cases, you can bury the composted material in your yard or garden. Ensure you follow local regulations, dig a proper hole, and bury it at an appropriate depth to aid decomposition.
Commercial Compost Services: Investigate commercial composting services that may accept residential compostable waste for a fee. These services can process the material on a larger scale.
It's important to research local regulations and available options to determine the most suitable and environmentally responsible way to dispose of your composted material if you don't have your compost pile. Proper disposal ensures that the composted waste continues to break down and benefit the environment.