It's gross, isn't it? Over the last 150 years or so humanity has advanced in the realm of how we handle poo. Instead of allowing...moreLet's talk about poo.
It's gross, isn't it? Over the last 150 years or so humanity has advanced in the realm of how we handle poo. Instead of allowing it to flow through the streets, we sit on a ceramic bowl filled with water from the same source as the water we drink. We then flush it away into a city sewer (or septic tank), it gets treated with a bunch of chemicals, and the treated water is then put back into our water supply. Yum, chlorine!
With a dwindling fresh water supply for a growing population and entire regions in record-breaking drought, Joe Jenkins' book makes so much sense. I can honestly say I had never really thought about it this way before, because let's face it, we flush and forget about it. But, Jenkins says, poo is such a great resource! Collect it, compost it, put it on your garden, eat the food, poop it out, etc. and the cycle just repeats itself.
Why does that gross some people out?
FECOPHOBIA. It's ingrained in our culture. Carry a bucket of poo out to a compost bin once a week? And put that on a garden? With food in it???Yes, and yes.
But you could get parasites from that, people say.
If it's only your poo (and your family's poo) and none of you have intestinal parasites, tapeworms, etc. then how could you possibly get them?
This book is truly paradigm-shifting, and forces the reader to take a look at what is holding them back from doing it. (It's for the future of our planet, y'all.) There are many compostable toilets out there, to make the process easier. But as Jenkins explains, in a way that wouldn't scare off even the most science-challenged person, the best way to kill every single pathogen in the poo is thermophilic composting. It's hot - like 131 degrees. Those $2K composting toilets can't do that.
So, the easiest way?
Build a wooden box. (You can stencil it up real nice to make it homey.) Screw a toilet seat to it. Put a 5-gallon bucket under it. Sit and do your thing. Cover the poo with leaves, grass clippings, peat moss, sawdust, dirt, whatever's handy. Pee in it, too. The moisture and nitrogen only helps the composting. Empty it once a week in the center of the compost pile. Cover it good with straw, weeds, whatever's handy. Make sure it ages 2 years before putting on the garden. The next harvest will be PHENOMENAL.
Does it still gross you out? No way in hell, you say?
For anyone who has the land for a compost pile, and lives in an area where water is scarce and rates keep going up up up, this is worth a shot. I know I'm giving it one this summer.
You can read and download the book for free here.(less)