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Can I Compost Human faeces?

(From the Household waste category | 3 comments - join the conversation)

a wooden stoolNo, don’t compost human poo in your own garden compost heap.

While the faeces of some animals (like chickens, pigeons and pet rodents) can be added to the compost heap, the pathogens and bacteria found in human poop is less likely to be broken down by the normal composting process (particular in climates like the UK) so it would present a health risk.

It is also likely to attract undesirable insects and cause a bit of a whiff during decomposition – not something most people want in their garden or at their allotment.

If you want to go down the number two route, it’s better to have a purpose-built composting toilet.

(For perhaps obvious reasons, we didn’t want to use a picture of actual poo here! Other pictures considered were a stick, a log, a loaf and someone dropping their children off at a swimming pool. Other suggestions welcome :) )

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  1. I have been composting my body ‘waste’ for more than two decades simply,minimal cost and benefiting my urban garden. In my bathroom a dustbin shaped ‘lundry’ container has the bottom third dry sawdust stored above a plastic (former coal) bucket,with a lid!. The bucket placed in the WC for use,contents when full emptied onto the brick built/mutiwall plasic enclosed compost heap interleaved with mostly leaves and shredded garden waste. The bottom of the ‘heap’ within a few months is infested with huge quantities of worms,the upper part becomes hot to the point of steaming. There is no smell from this procedure. The occasional mouse takes up residence dureing the winter(probably eating undigested seeds from my 100% plant food diet!) no sign of rats. At 73 with no health problems of any kind I shall continue skeptical about disease risk warnings.

  2. I have seen it suggested that cotton wool and biodegradable nappy liners are compostable. If they are soiled, even minimally, with baby poo and/or oil-based substances things like sudocrem, must they be thrown away rather than put in the compost bin?

  3. I have been using a composting toilet system for a little over a year and have not had any issues with smells or flies. I had to work out how to have sanitation on a totaly off grid field part of which is being developed into an allotment and small orchard. Searching for a solution I turned to the “Humanure Book” by Joe Jenkins. this book details how to safely compost your own poo safely, and goes into the science of safe composting in great detail and also the safety considerations.

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