I stumbled across a book called The Humanure Handbook: Shit in a Nutshell and of course, I had to buy a copy. I’ve long thought that if we’re aiming towards a closed system within our gardens then our own waste needs to be factored into the equation so I was intrigued to find out what the book’s author Joseph C Jenkins had to say on the matter. What I didn’t expect was the book to be one of those that slaps you in the face with facts and makes you question the whole way you’ve lived your life, in this case in relation to loos and their contents. Not only does Joe comprehensively explain how you can take the contents of your loo and compost it along with your garden waste so that you have a clean and useful product that can be used on everything from vegetables to houseplants, he will make you wonder why you ever thought the alternative of flushing it away was a sensible, viable option. There is so much I wanted to cover with Joe and we only scratched the surface of the subject in this interview. I urge you to get the book and think about the issue of how we deal with waste, it’s a vitally important environmental issue.
Dr Ian Bedford’s Bug of the Week: Eating insects
What we cover
The background to Joe’s work on composting toilet waste and his book, The Humanure Handbook
In order to put back what we take out of the soil, we need to be reusing our waste as well as all household and garden waste – how can this work in practice?
Is a flushing toilet the holy grail of comfort and civilised living for all?
Composting and pathogens
Composting and drug residues
Compost toilets vs dry composting systems
Humanure Handbook can be downloaded here
Humanure research papers: