Humanure at Dancing Rabbit

by Brian Liloia

The “Sitter’s Side” of the DR Outhouse

In Nickelodeon’s recent A Kid Off The Grid TV program, Dancing Rabbit’s humanure system was explained. It quickly turned into a joke on The Daily Show soon after the Nick show aired. However, you might be wondering more about what humanure is, and how this human waste composting system works. Let’s look at it in more detail.

Pooping is a natural process, and doing it in a bowl of drinking water (read: a flush toilet) is a horrific waste, and terribly polluting, too. That’s where the humanure system comes in.

The term “humanure” refers to human waste which is recycled by methods of composting, and which can later be used for gardening or agricultural purposes. Before you think: “I don’t want dookie on my daisies!”, remember that everything (everything natural, that is) breaks down in due time. So let’s talk about humanure, and how human waste can be more effectively recycled and reused, instead of letting it continue to pollute ever-precious drinking water supplies.

At Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage, we use the humanure system to deal with our poop. Instead of having flush toilets, we use simple five gallon buckets, sawdust, and compost bins to safely collect and store our waste.

The term “humanure” has been popularized by Joseph Jenkins in The Humanure Handbook, a down and dirty guidebook to recycling human waste for use as a soil amendment. How does one create their own humanure system for purposes of recycling human poo?

Well, instead of using a toilet, you might choose to use the bucket system, which is essentially a five gallon bucket. After doing one’s business, sawdust or straw is sprinkled on the bucket’s contents to prevent odor, add carbon, and absorb liquids.

Humanure can then be dumped into compost bins, where it decomposes and cures after one to two years. After this time, you are left with nothing but purely organic matter, something quite like dirt. As long as the humanure is given enough time to decompose and reaches the right temperatures, there should be no fear about the spread of pathogens, and this material can be used as a soil amendment in gardening or agriculture. It’s that simple! It’s nature at its finest.

For the full details on humanure and making your own humanure system, we highly recommend The Humanure Handbook, which is actually available for free online (in multiple languages, no less!) Human waste is someting to be embraced (well, ok, not literally), and recycled, not flushed away to continue polluting sensitive water tables.

Full text of The Humanure Handbook

Nickelodeon’s Nick News: A Kid Off The Grid
The Daily Show Back in Black: Kids’ Earth Day