Capriolo is a young damanhurian citizen who with his love for the environment and natural building has created his own compost toilet. Now he shares what he gained from it and how you can build your own!

First encounter

I discovered what i call “the miracle of a compost toilet” during my 3 year education as a Eco Village Designer in Tamera, Portugal. Robert, an Austrian farmer who managed two compartments of four toilets each, introduced me into the art of tending to the compost toilets, so that after a few months you would have a successful transformation of the human excrement into fertile soil. He showed me on the other side this black, fertile soil with a smell like the dark soil you can find in a wood. I could not believe it, this was the product of our excrements? All this is possible thanks to our army of micro-organisms, worms and wood lice, especially if they have the right temperature and humidity to feel at home.

But…That’s disgusting!!

I noticed we have a cultural fear of looking at our feces. We easily react with: “yieeek, that`s disgusting!” Lets have a look at it: we try to get healthy, tasty food to eat. Then we transform it in our stomachs with the help of micro-organisms, bacteria, enzyme etc. and we expel whatever we did not absorb into our body. The smell tells our nose that its not good to eat, which gives us the impulse to hide it or burry it where we leave it, as most animals naturally do. Where is the motive for the disgust? If you overcome the initial impulse, you might transform your fear of the feces into curiosity, and maybe you will recognize the value of it, since it still has many nutrients, which worms and other small insects are happy to eat and transform into their own feces. Of course we are to respect the insights of intelligent hygiene..

Global impact

It would be almost funny if it wasn’t tragic, but the idea to flush our toilets with fine drinking water, is not a very intelligent one. How many rivers and lakes are polluted like this from our excrements, which are not properly processed and separated from the water? Our oceans have a huge problem of overproduction of algae in coastal regions, thanks to the excess of fertilizer that we flush into them, among them human waste. So I was admiring the simplicity of the compost toilet, producing in a short time fertile soil, without creating any of the trouble involved once you flush your feces down the toilet. Have you ever tried to clean water once there was excrement mixed in?
The win-win-win: Use everything that your feces contains, also the energy!

There is a brilliant solution for your excrement, if you have a little more time and money, you combine your compost toilet with a biogas plant, harvesting all the methane that’s in your feces, using it for cooking or hot showers, and the liquid outflow as fertilizer for your plants (after processing it with effective microorganisms to stabilize PH and smell).

This for me is the premium solution, and I hope to find an investor soon to build one like this here in Damanhur, for now we have the simple compost toilet solutions.

This combined Biogas-Compost-Toilet solution provides you with great fertilizer for your trees or bushes, methane-gas for cooking or showering and leaves rivers, lakes and oceans free from our waste! Win-win-win!!!

Useful links if you would like to learn how to build a compost toilet:

What is a Composting Toilet and How Does It Work

by Allen Michael

What is a biogas digester and how to build it?

by Tamera

What Is a Compost Toilet and How to Build One?

by Tamera