Human manure composts just as well as animal manure. It is a valuable commodity, not something to be flushed away with clean water.

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Many people find the thought of saving human waste repulsive, unsanitary, or crazy. However, it is a natural and beneficial commodity that can be composted to make a rich soil for your garden and trees, or used by decomposers such as Black Soldier Flies and earthworms. The REALLY crazy method of humanure disposal is using valuable drinking water to flush it away to be someone else’s problem. Composting humanure is the only sanitary disposal method aside from burning it, which requires a little more infrastructure.

Humanure makes excellent compost and is a great water saver. Flushing that toilet wastes an enormous amount of good drinking water (over 50 gallons per person per day in the USA).

The pile method is great for almost all of your other organic waste, and especially all of the organic matter from the garden, but we do not recommend it for composting humanure. For that, it is best to use a separate bin, and let it sit longer, just to make sure it gets broken down and also to give the bacteria ample time to eat any bad stuff that might be in there like worm eggs, parasites, or harmful little guys.

For more information about constructing a humanure toilet and bin, see our related howto.

Humanure is a subject we feel very strongly about (much to our family’s dismay – I guess they don’t feel it makes for pleasant dinner conversation). If you would like to know more, one of the best books there is on the subject is The Humanure Handbook by Joseph Jenkins.