View Full Version : Human Waste for Fertilizer: Eco-Friendly

04-06-06, 06:20
One side argument used against Total Animal Liberation is that animal exploitation and incarceration allows us to collect their droppings so that we can use it to fertilize our fields and keep the soil rich in nutrients. Some say that a vegetarian diet is only possible because fertilizer obtained from animals allows for large healthy crop yields and if fertilizer could not be had from them, then a vegetarian diet would be very difficult -- if not impossible.

That however, is unequivicably misleading and false. Human waste could easily step in and fill the absence of animal waste. Done properly, no health hazzard would automatically dismiss the use of human waste for crop fertilization. In fact, the environment would stand to benefit due to less animal waste contamination of streams and rivers and human waste would have a destination of purpose rather than to be expensively treated at large purification plants.

In Khokana, Nepal, villagers have embraced the most eco-friendly answer to human waste -- reusing it directly back into the food chain. Done properly, human waste, disinfected is quite safe and ideal for the environment as it it recycled.

"The use of human waste as fertiliser is an ancient practice in Kathmandu," says Upendra Poudel, engineer at the Environment and Public Health Organisation (ENPHO), who designed the toilets. "By using ECOSAN toilets, the people in Khokana are preventing agricultural produce from being infected with germs present in human waste. Also, they are using very little water in their toilets, something that can be emulated by people living in our cities that face acute water shortage."

In toilets made to be eco-friendly, solid waste is kept seperated from liquid waste and ash is used to raise the PH alkeleine level which kills bacteria.

...Once full, ash is poured in and the container is sealed for six months before the waste is ready to be used as fertiliser. During the period, another pan is installed in the toilet.


...Meanwhile, liquid waste, collected in a different container, is mixed with water before being sprinkled over the fields. "Urine has very low germ content while it is rich in nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. These chemicals are instrumental in the growth of plants," explains Poudel [engineer at the Environment and Public Health Organisation (ENPHO)].

Read full story here: From Superstitious Village to Model in Sanitation (http://www.asiawaterwire.net/node/51)

04-06-06, 06:34
I wonder if a solar toilet, or perhaps a toilet pan heated with just a little electricity killing all the pathogens, wouldn't be a more practical option for some. Perhaps in Kathmandu, ash is plentiful, but it would require some extra transporting to bring ash to places like California.

04-06-06, 06:51
Agreed, Revenant.

I am sure that different locales would require somewhat different practices for disinfecting the waste. Perhaps like you said, a solar heating system or some other means of raising the PH content -- maybe charcoal. The U.S. has so many forest fires, though, ash should be plenty. However, I couldn`t geuss to say it would be enough.

I am not so sure transportation costs would outstrip the expensive treatment facilities we utilize now, plus the cost damages done to the environment from animal waste and all associated with that industry.

The underlying message though, is that human waste is quite acceptable as a fertilizing agent when done properly -- and that blows a hole in the argument of those who say animals are needed to be exploited so that we can collect their waste for keeping our fields healthy -- as if no other viable alternative exists.

The animal industry would want us to think and believe no other alternative exists, but that is only because they make huge profits from the current status quo. Animal crap helps make people rich -- albeit at the expense of the environment and to sentient animals which suffer. Human crap on the other hand may make the upstart businesses that produce ECOSAN toilets rich -- but at least environmental damage is not the result of the underlying principles that support their product. I would rather have these newbies on the scene get rich with innovative human crap products than exploiters of animal pain and suffering do so with animal crap products that have repeatedly damaged the environment.

Time for a change and a new way at looking at things. I am all for ushering in the new and sweeping out the old when the environment and suffering is an issue.

04-06-06, 07:10
I am completely with you in taking steps to lessen our impact on the environment. I was just thinking that perhaps there was an even more efficient way of killing pathogens harmful to humans in the waste.

In toilets made to be eco-friendly, solid waste is kept seperated from liquid waste and ash is used to raise the PH alkeleine level which kills bacteria.I'm no expert here, but the solar toilet does kill all the pathogens harmful to humans by ashing the waste. In places where the sun didn't shine strongly enough, did I suggest heating it with just a little electricity (were the toilet well insulated, and a reflective surface placed on the inside, it would take very little heat to destroy all pathogens harmful to humans). Here's a link to the Solar Toilet (http://www.eparryware.com/customer/SolarToilet.asp). I can't find the picture, but there was a picture of a man holding the solar toilet's ash.

I did see the cover to one of these toilets somewhere on the web, and it looks well sealed (the heat must be kept in for the toilet to be effective). I don't think it would smell anything like an outhouse.

04-06-06, 12:42
Just checked out your link to the solar toilet, Revenant. It, too, is an option for treating waste and then having that waste used as fertilizer for crops.

04-06-06, 13:45
And, let`s not think using human waste for fertilizer is something only done in Nepal. Besides India, too, it is also done in Sweden, as well as other places.

Sweden has taken the lead in recycling and reusing human excreta. The city of Stockholm has supported the introduction of ecological sanitation in middle class housing areas where the urine is centrally collected, stored and spread on farmland as fertiliser. A project funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Sida, and carried out by the United Nations Development Programme is promoting further development of ecological sanitation.

One just can`t get around the fact, that if we consume recources but do not allow for those recourses to recycle back in the most efficient means possible, we are depriving the environment of the nutrients it rightly deserves so that it can keep providing us with our needs. We are creating a nutrient deficit on our environment and taxing it with the burdens of animal waste as these have been polluting our waterways.

By failing to return natural fertilisers, such as human excreta, back onto the land, we are depleting soils of nutrients, resulting in the production and use of artificial fertilisers, and the increased use of pesticides to prevent the food supply from diminishing. For food security and agricultural purposes there is a need to utilise the valuable nutrients in human excreta.


...Studies indicate that each personfs waste can provide enough nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium to grow a yearfs supply of wheat and maize for that person. Recycled human waste is an affordable and environmentally sound alternative to chemical fertilisers. Applying human waste to crops is safer than spraying them with chemical fertilisers because it diverts raw sewage from rivers and can help improve agricultural production. It also costs only a fraction of sewage treatment plants.

Excerpts from: United Nations Development Program`s Equator Initiative
Read full article: Divide and Spray -- Sweden (http://www.tve.org/ho/doc.cfm?aid=573)

06-06-06, 05:21
Here is a diagram pic of the already in use ECOSAN waterless toilet that allows for human waste to be collected for fertilizer:

Mechanical diagram:


(1)The human excrement falls down a vertical chute (2) and into one end of a specially designed helical screw conveyor (3). Every time the toilet lid (1) is lifted, a mechanism rotates the conveyor. With each rotation the human excrement slowly moves along, taking approximately twenty five days before falling into a reusable collection bag (4). It takes six months for the bag to fill with dry and odourless waste.

Through the uniquely designed ventilation pipe (5), adequate airflow is provided for the dehydration / evaporation, deodorising process. Human excrement consists of roughly 95% moisture. As the solids dry in the conveyer the urine and moisture is vented into the atmosphere. The solid waste then dries into a compost-like material, roughly 5 - 10% of it's original mass.

The dry waste is manageable and can be processed in the following ways:

Use it in the making of compost
Dispose of it by using municipal waste services
Use it as a source of fuel
Large objects like beverage cans, disposable nappies or other objects accidentally dropped down the chute will not block the system, It is however not advisable to do this.

-No plumbing required
-No drains
-No pipes
-Low odour levels
-Chemical free
-Relatively light and easy to install

Here is the outside view:


06-06-06, 08:56
Studies indicate that each person’s waste can provide enough nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium to grow a year’s supply of wheat and maize for that person.

Don't forget that this waste is not "lost" as it goes back to nature (into the soil) after dumping, and in the long run will serve as a fertiliser. It's just vital to sort toxic waste from fertilising one !

06-06-06, 13:10
When water becomes Blue Gold will these waterless toilets equal savings.

I think most people are turned off by waterless toilets, imagining they would put off a severe stink. I wonder just how they smell on a hot day, but I'm sure odorless will be designed in the near future, if these aren't already mostly odorless, especially if the demand for these kind of toilets goes up.

12-06-06, 15:29
I wonder just how they smell on a hot day,...

From what I have read thus far, the odor seems to be very minimal.

The most important thing though is that our excreta can be recycled back into the system for use as fertilizer -- and the large amount of water it would save.

04-03-19, 14:19
Actually antropology speaking - its good not to be a vegeterian. Evolutinary and phisically, we evoleved so much and became so smart because we can eat everything