Humanure

Many growers will have made their own compost. Some will also have added horse manure to their soil. However, there is a manure that is plentiful but, more often than not, goes to waste. Human manure, or humanure as it is often called, is simply a manure made from human waste.

The use of humanure is an emotive subject as many will be turned off by the mere thought of putting human waste to such good use. Many buy vegetables grown in horse, cow and pig manure so what is the problem with composting your own waste?

On my compost heaps I have always added my own urine. Not only does it enrich the compost but it saves on flushing toilets. Think of using a toilet like this. You fill a bowl with fresh drinking water, add your own poisonous waste, and then throw the water away. Madness? Of course it is.

Using urine in your garden is very simple. You can either pour it over your compost heap and let nature take its course or you can dilute it 10 to 1 and use it as a liquid fertiliser on the soil. If you are going to use it as a liquid fertiliser then it is best added to the soil and not sprayed directly onto a plant. Also, never use urine form a person on medication that may taint food with drugs.

Human waste solids are a slightly different prospect. They need about two years to break down before they can be added to the soil. To that end I recommend the building of a composting toilet.

For more information on Humanure I recommend The Humanure Handbook, which is available online. It can be viewed at http://www.weblife.org/humanure/.

If you want to buy the original book then it can purchased at Amazon.com in the US or Amazon.co.uk in the UK.

12 comments:

melissa said...

Hmm, maybe if there was absolutely no other kind of manure around, I might give this a try. Until then, I think I will stick with good old cow manure.

Jacqueline said...

The first time I heard of this was when I was watching a PBS Special about a "Green" vacation spot. I still don't know what I think about it...I haven't reached your level yet. :-)

James said...

Most cultures have superior waste disposal techniques than we in the west.

It is very wasteful to flush human waste away with clean drinking water.

The US is suffering a drought in many southern regions and throwing water away will not be a luxury in the future.

Putting your urine on your compost heap or just simply pouring onto your soil will make a big cut in the number of flushes.

Using rainwater to flush your toilet the rest of the time will finally remove drinking water from your toilet system.

AvidReader said...

Hmmm, what happened to the old out house. My grandpa used to move his every once in awhile and plant a tree in the "hole". Not flushing waste was good enough for our grandparents... That being said, we definitely waste a whole bunch of good clean fresh water flushing waste. We need to rethink our "hygiene" and make sense of it all.

James said...

My father's house had a hole too when he was young.

So-called "progress" always uses more energy or resources.

The faster you use things up or destroy, the more "modern" you are.

Adier Barrin said...

My grandmother used to do that, she's using her urine adding some water onto it and spray to the plants.

James said...

She's a sensible grandmother. All mine goes into the garden too.

rebecca said...

Great blog, I sent you an award, go get it at my blog!!!

design chick said...

I think the idea takes some getting use to, but it is a good concept and one that I think may start to take off as people find ways to save money.

philip said...

Thanks for the realistic look at this often over looked fertilizer source. No reason not to use it as long as it is free of toxins and dangerous biological agents. The fact that people are scared to use human waste as fertilizer shows that we've become detached from nature and the cycle of life. It's sadly Baudrillardian.

Great blog! Keep up the good work!

Dave said...

Interesting article on human manure. I have been using a product here in Florida that is produced in Milwaukee, Wisconsin call Milorganite (Milwaukee Organic Nitrogen) that is produced primarily from human waste. The best use of this in Florida is on the grass because it is slow release, high in nitrogen and will NOT burn tender grass, even if left on for several days without watering. Keep up the good articles.
Dave

sowing the seeds said...

Great post, thankyou. We have a rota-loo, which is a composting toilet. All waste is composted down and then added to the garden, works a treat!