Humanure: Saving Water & Soil One Poo at a Time

By: Ryne Meier, Sandbagger News

All over the United States, we fight over water. Where does it go? The list is infinite. States like California, Arizona and Colorado are setting water restrictions. Alabama, Georgia, and Florida are involved in legal disputes over this precious commodity.

The water crisis has more than one source. We cannot blame it solely on any one entity or object.  What we can do is adapt our lives to help conserve water as best we can – and hopefully convince our neighbors to do the same.

Joseph Jenkins published an interesting book that seems “cheeky” at first glance. But upon further reading, I discovered much common sense about how we could better do ourbusiness in the bathroom. The Humanure Handbook provides practical guides on how to construct Humanure toilets and compost areas.

Most toilets are rated 1 gallon per flush. That’s the “American Standard.” The waste goes to a scary, underground poo bunker where it sits with itself, building up noxious gases. With humanure, you go into a bucket (with a toilet seat on top and all!). When you’re done, you cover your waste with organic matter – sawdust, shredded leaves, etc. When the bucket’s full, dump it onto a larger pile kept covered in straw.

I used one of these setups at a friend’s ranch and found it incredible. While it’s no fun chore changing the bucket, the compost was odor-free, and he got some great compost out of it. We planted some “poo-tatoes" directly on top of a pile that had been sitting for a year, and fruit sprung up quickly (though the deer devoured them before we could).

America has more than 300 million citizens, and I’m willing to bet most of those people will flush a toilet today – more than once or twice. If we all started pooping the more eco-friendly way, we’d be saving lots of water, as well as creating new soil from our waste.

This is one way, but once you start saving water, common sense leads you to other water saving practices. Give it a shot and go forth and conquer the water crisis – one poo or shower at a time.

For more information from someone who knows what in the world they’re talking about, head over to Jenkins’s website: