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Composting 101

There is nothing difficult about composting human waste. It does require a small amount of knowledge, and occasional monitoring. There is a link to an excellent article on the topic below, but in a nutshell…you need two bins. Use one only at a time. When the first one is full, start using the second one. When the second one is full, the contents of the first should be ready for the non-edible plants. When I put waste in my composter, I like to cover it with dry grass or leaves, but that is optional. It breaks down very quickly, and there is never any odor. It should NEVER get wet or slimy. If it’s getting wet, you need more dry material. It should never dry out. If it’s getting dry, add a little water. Please see the detailed article at compostingtoiletscanada.ca 


How to prevent flies in composting toilet

A question that comes up from time to time is “I have flies (or gnats or whatever) in my composting toilet. How do I get rid of them?” In my experience, about one person in 20-30 eventually has this problem, so you are not alone. The good news is, you can easily get rid of flies and dramatically reduce the chance of getting them again.

The first step is to eliminate potential sources of flies in the home. The toilet does not produce flies, and there should not be flies or fly eggs in human waste. That means the flies came in from somewhere else. Fruit bowls are a big culprit. Once in the home, flies will be attracted to the toilet, where they lay eggs and multiply. Before leaving your cottage, eliminate all possible sources of flies, including garbage (not even an apple core should be left behind) or compost.

Natures Head fan housing is easily removable

Natures Head fan housing is easily removable

The second thing you do is make the toilet unattractive or unavailable to the flies. Clean the toilet very well inside, in every nook and cranny, with something that will kill fly eggs like a mild bleach solution. Water and vinegar will not work. Don’t get the fan wet. With the Nature’s Head you can remove the fan housing and hose it all down outside, after using the bleach. However, the Separett fan housing is a bit of work to remove, so it’s best to clean the toilet with the fan housing in place.

diatomaceous earth for composting toilet

diatomaceous earth for composting toilet

Add about 5 cups of diatomaceous earth to the new coconut coir in the Nature’s Head, or with the Separett add a cup per week to the removable bucket. You may have to experiment a bit for the optimal quantity.  Diatomaceous earth is a naturally occurring, soft, siliceous sedimentary rock that is easily crumbled into a fine white to off-white powder. It is a very good natural insecticide. This will solve the fly problem 99% of the time. It is not expensive and commonly available.

Be sure the fan screens are clean, unobstructed, and pumping air. You should be able to feel air being blown out at the exhaust vent.

moth cake for composting toilet

moth cake for composting toilet

As a very last resort, you can put a small “mothball cake” in the lower part of the toilet. The fan should exhaust the odor, and you should not smell mothballs in your home. This will definitely stop all flies. However, mothballs contain a chemical insecticide, and therefore must be used cautiously.

Once you do these things, I am quite sure you will have no more fly problems. Cleanliness and removing the source of flies is by far the most important step.


Nature’s Head Review 2

The Nature’s Head has worked great! I have a 30′ Pearson sailboat. The holding tank was way too small and took up room in what would have been a wet locker. It always smelled. It is illegal to pump over board and the pump out stations were not functioning most of the time . With four people on a 3 day weekend the holding tank would soon be overflowing. I looked at replacing the holding tank for a larger size but that reduced space further. I then started looking at composting toilets. The short answer is the first season in Maine the toilet worked like a charm. It doesn’t smell. It was simple to install and I was able to use the composting portion for the whole season with about every weekend use and a week family vacation with at one weekend 7 people on board! Urine disposal is quick and easy. It fits great in a cloth grocery bag and you simply dump it at the marina toilet. The only addition I am going to make is add an extra urine tank as we moor at islands that do not have marinas. The product works like a charm and I don’t have to worry about what my kids are swimming in.