Environment

What to do when your dunny blows over!

Kathleen McCann 29 September 2019
Kathleen's dunny. Photo: Kathleen McCann

Kathleen’s dunny. Photo: Kathleen McCann

We had big winds at my place recently – 150kms/hr according to BOM, so strong that it blew over my wonderous tardis of an outdoor drop pit toilet. It had stood proudly in that spot for nearly 20 years.

This small and important building was solidly built and must weigh at least half a tonne if not more….didn’t matter though – over it went. I’m just glad I wasn’t in it at the time!

I was in a crisis! What to do about my number twos?

A change had been on my mind anyway, my loo was starting to finally fill. Having it blow over has forced me into action.

So here I am with a simple, easy way to start up a composting toilet that is quite safe and gives you a valuable resource in about 12 months.

I set up a commode chair with a bucket in my bathroom when I first moved into the shed.

I use it mainly at night to look after my aging bladder – stumbling outside with a dodgy torch just for a wee became tedious. And let me tell you – that bucket of wee is a fantastic resource for the garden, full of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.

Now I’ve turned it all into a mini toilet composting system. What bliss to no longer have to go out in all weathers to answer nature’s call!

Kathleen's dunny. Photo: Kathleen McCann

Kathleen’s dunny. Photo: Kathleen McCann

Now the nitty-gritty.

I clear my gutters around the shed regularly and use the munched up broken down gum leaf litter I collect as a mulch on one side of my shed, after eight years I had quite a good build-up. This is what I add to my toilet bucket, it’s clean, with a slight eucalyptus smell and small enough to keep breaking down well in the composting system.

You can use sawdust, dry grass clippings, fine woodchip, even sugarcane mulch. You just need something that is dry and absorbant. I add dried lavender that I crushed into the mix for an even nicer smell.

Once the bucket is full I empty it into an old wheelie bin that had been set up for composting in the past. It has an ag-pipe running on the inside from the bottom of the bin to the top with and outlet on the top side to help dissipate any methane.

You can add lime to the compost mix to help it break down even quicker and it also helps with any smell.

When full, the bin will be left to compost on its own for up to 12 months, then I’ll use it to help feed my fruit trees. You cannot legally use human waste compost in the vegetable garden.

I have noticed that where ever I have used composted toilet waste the rabbits no longer disturb it – which is bonus!

Wheelie bins, pickle barrels, big food grade buckets with lids all make excellent toilet composting receptacles. They just need a lid that allows the gas that builds up to escape and keeps water, insects and animals from getting in.

Wheelie bins, pickle barrels, big food grade buckets with lids all make excellent toilet composting receptacles. Photo: Kathleen McCann.

Wheelie bins, pickle barrels, big food grade buckets with lids all make excellent toilet composting receptacles. Photo: Kathleen McCann.

I am separating my number ones from my number twos  – because it makes the toilet compost a lot smellier as the ammonia starts to break down. I’ve got two buckets now, which means I’m able to keep using my wee each day somewhere in my thirsty garden or on my regular compost – it’s great for helping it breakdown faster!

And what of my old loo? Well, it’s still on it’s side as we decide what to do with it and how to fix the pit.

So just a warning – if you’re a bit shy of my inside temporary composting system, don’t visit me when you might need a poo!

Kathleen McCann is a permaculturalist, artist, good chick, and number 1 worker at Luscious Landscapes.

What's Your Opinion?

Top