I have long been bemused by our fecal phobia and seeing this gives me hope, that we in the civilised and industrialised West, might get with the programme and do as many others in the world do, and find creative (yes and safe and sanitary) ways to close the nutrient cycle and stop polutting our waters with nutrients that don't belong there.

"A biodegradable and self-sterilizing bag for people of the toilet-disenfranchised world (40% of humankind) to dispose of their bodily waste and turn it into safe fertilizer has been created by a Swedish entrepreneur. It's a dead simple and brilliant solution to a vexing problem. From the article: 'Once used, the bag can be knotted and buried, and a layer of urea crystals breaks down the waste into fertilizer, killing off disease-producing pathogens found in feces. The bag, called the Peepoo, is the brainchild of Anders Wilhelmson, an architect and professor in Stockholm. “Not only is it sanitary,” said Mr. Wilhelmson, who has patented the bag, “they can reuse this to grow crops.”'"http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/02/science/02bag.html

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Comment by Stephen Coote on July 6, 2010 at 10:02am
Bother. Forgot to post the photo mentioned in the post below, then found I couldn't edit it. Here is the picture of the camp toilet:

Comment by Stephen Coote on July 6, 2010 at 9:59am
This is good news James. I hope that local authorities would welcome this idea with open arms.

The fecal phobia (nice term thanks) is something that lurks a bit in my mind, although it has a lot less power nowadays. Raising kids helped me become accustomed to the stuff. On some occasions we had it everywhere and nobody died. Nowadays I dutifully carry a plastic bag when I'm walking the dog and I can pick up a big, heavy steamer without blinking. Some folks act like sh!t never happens.... but actually it does. It happens everywhere throughout the cycles of nature. It seems crazy that all those goodies should get flushed, unnaturally, into our oceans.

There seems to be a prevailing thought that anything that gets extruded from a human bowel can be a threat to our health. I'm not convinced that is true. Why should I fear something that has been inside me for a considerable time... and while it was in there it caused no significant harm?

But other people's 'business' might bother me a bit. Would I buy veggies from a stall if I knew the growers pooped in the potatoes? Possibly not.... even though my fears might be irrational. Advertising such a fertilizer source might not be the cleverest thing we did for marketing our Ooooby Stall. For a lot of folks this could put a real 'ooo' into Ooooby.

Yet we extol the virtues of chicken crap and other barnyard manure. Hedgehogs, cats and rodents are probably using our yards constantly as a latrine. It would be nice to have a totally balanced and unbiased report on what the potential problems with human waste actually are and how we might counteract them. Frankly I can't see why a healthy family should ever have a problem with recycling their own waste into their own garden on their own property provided that it was done in a sensible manner.

Composting toilets are wonderful, and I'm pleased that the local authorities allow them. Even a simple bucket toilet where waste is covered with sawdust, earth, ashes or peat moss is a good idea for some circumstances. Here is a picture of a makeshift toilet that was made for a camp site some years ago. A fish case had a hole cut through it, and was reinforced underneath with timber. A toilet seat was fitted to it, and the case was placed over a hole. Occasionally ash, bush loam or earth was layered over the waste. It worked well, and I'm sure the nearby plants appreciated it.

Some of the best fertilizer may indeed come from Out Of Our Own Bottoms (Yay! or Yuk! depending on ones viewpoint).

Best wishes from Nelson.... Coote.
Comment by steve on March 11, 2010 at 9:09am
OH Yea go the peepoo! good on ya james for sniffing this one out x
Comment by Ariane Craig Smith on March 10, 2010 at 1:18pm
Comment by Denise on March 9, 2010 at 11:03pm
excellent! If they are cheaper than a composting toilet I need some for my garden studio :)

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