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Paul Kean 's Profile
Paul Kean
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Buckland, Tasmania, Australia
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Cool Temperate
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Recycling Urine

Posted by Paul Kean over 12 years ago

Implementing a urine trough.

For so long I have wanted to recycle what I could but sharing homes with people made it not so easy as they didn't understand and always equated it only to house rubbish.Not to say this is bad but I have always looked at recycling on a much bigger scale and not having my own place before made it difficult as I had to conform to someone else's rules.Now I have my own place and plenty of space and the freedom to do what I want I can try to do my bit.


A few years ago when I stayed at Djanbung Gardens on my journey searching for inspiration,I was introduced to compost toilets and urine troughs.Humanure was collected in wheelie bins and when full placed stored for 3-4 months till it decomposed then emptied.So simple.I intend to do something similar here in the near future.The other collection was urine.Basicly a rubbish bin was filled with saw dust and set into a private enclosure within the gardens and gents visitied it and the urine soaked into the saw dust.As I hadn't ever used the female system I was not sure of its design.A lid was placed over the top to stop rain water getting in.When the saw dust was fully soaked it was used straight away in a compost.At times the when the lid was lifted of the bin to make a deposit,amonia gases would be strong and this was the extra source being harvested for composting.


The carbon (saw dust) and nitrogen (urine) produced amonia which would activate the compost and put heat in.This is handy if you have limited green material as nitrogen.


Fast track to the present and with the recent address at TEDx  seminar in Sydney by Nick Ritar of Milkwood Permaculture,Nick Ritar’s TEDx Canberra Talk: Two things you can do Every Day to save the world ,I was reinspired to do something I always wanted to but was restricted by someone else's rules.My idea was to place a container off my back landing and instead of urinating into the flush toilet I would just walk out the back door on the edge of the garden and collect it there.Would also save going out in the rain and peeing on a tree.


I had been to a local garage sale and purchased 2 x 200L plastic drums with the lids cut off for $5.A good resource for alot of things.I also went to the local landscape supplies and got 1m3 of saw dust.Cheap enough at $20 for 1m3 as I haven't found a local mill to get it for free.Two 90deg PVC fittings and 500mm of 25mm PVC pipe and an old 2l juice bottle cut into a funnel and some buct tape and I had what I had desired.200L of amonia breathing carbon for my future composts.No glueing or drilling,just one cut with a hacksaw.You might think it would be awakward to move but I am fortuate to have a 1ton hiab on my small truck that I can lift it and tip it straight into a compost pile.I have also put a 25L bucket with lid in the bathroom as a convenience and have saved litres of water by using these collection places.At present I am on the farm by myself so I don't have the privacy issue.As more people come here I will implement another system to collect straight urine as well as a saw dust bin.


Will update later to give feedback on the compost made from this resource.See pics below for a simple set up.




Dscn1605 Dscn1607 Dscn1608

Comments (1)

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Alana Bliss
Alana Bliss : Hi Paul,

Thanks for this insightful update. I have a bit of a question. We use composting toilets at our farm and they are essentially 55 gallon drums, like in your photos, with a frame and we fill them with sawdust. I have heard that it is not good to urinate in them, that it can hinder the breaking down process of the poo. We top the barrel and then let it sit 1 year, then use it on the bananas. I have a hard time not peeing in the bin, and we have thought about setting up a funnel system. Do you think that it is necessary?

Thanks for your post. Alana
Posted over 12 years ago

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Consultant Aid worker I'm male, single, and looking for a permaculture partner
My Permaculture Qualifications
Type: Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course
Teacher: Rene Van Raders
Location: Malanda Qld
Date: Jan 2000
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Teacher: Darren J. Doherty
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Date: Mar 2009

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