The MCPOOP Revolution
The toilet is one of the most common structures in any house, work or store but also the least environmentally friendly object in your, house work or store. It uses gallons of fresh, drinking water to wash away another precious resource – solid nitrogen, more commonly known as poop. Research has linked use of the humble toilet to increased chance of colon cancer, hemorrhoids and bacterial colon infestations. So what is it about the toilet that we are so enamored with that we throw all earth friendly senses away and continue to worship the flush of the handle?
We have convinced our psyche that the only way we can be clean and stop the smell of nature is to use a porcelain contraption that automatically washes everything out of sight. This is so far from the truth that it could be viewed as a modern OCD fairytale where ‘good’ always overcomes ‘evil’. The biggest collection of harmful bacteria in your home is in your toilet. It has all the moisture and space it needs to breed happily away until the next good cleaning. For most people, a ‘good cleaning’ means strong chemicals that flow directly into the water table harm the environment.
The quickest, easiest and most natural, earth friendly way to process this solid nitrogen waste is to turn it into humanure – quite simply, human manure. The Marin Composting Portable Odorless Outhouse Project in California, also known as MCPOOP, is successfully gaining momentum and has influenced the local environmental establishment and Marin County supervisor Steve Kinsey to approve humanure toilets in the public square. “The whole thing is like a good acid flashback,” says Kinsey. “We approved several experimental permits like this in the ’70s.” MCPOOP are on to something – and succeeding.
Composting toilets have been around for centuries, but as ‘progress’ has been made everyone switched to Thomas Crappers fine invention that took something very simple, and made it extremely convoluted and long winded. Toilets take two of the most necessary elements, mixes them together – then renders them useless. From toilet bowl to completely neutral and useable, the wastewater system takes a year to break down the effluent, several square hundred feet of processing plant and sometimes chemicals that the earth does not need. So what else do you do with poop?
Look at it this way – a system that uses hundreds of gallons of precious water, miles of concrete tubes and pipes, safe havens for deadly bacteria, expensive, energy guzzling plants AND a year of time, or… poop in a bucket, throw in a handful of sawdust and then plopping it all on the compost pile. Yes, it really is that simple. Humanure breaks down within a few months and samples taken by human composting advocates to check for any trace of fecal material or harmful bacteria have all come back at zero. The resulting manure is rich in nitrogen and an excellent fertilizer for all your gardening needs.
At this point, I think I can read your mind. What about the smell? The key is … the sawdust. The handful of sawdust you spread over the fresh matter absorbs the smell and helps in the breakdown of the material for compost. This system has worked for centuries and continues to work if we would let it. Not one molecule is wasted, and everything is broken down to a zero carbon footprint.
There are designs for composting toilets are more palatable for the modern Thomas Crapper devotee and a favorite of MCPOOP, but a bucket and a shovel will do. Sometimes the ‘progress’ we have encountered over the years has not all been forward.
Take the plunge! Try it out! Screw that toilet seat to a bucket and give it a go! It costs virtually nothing to try – and next year’s roses will thank you for it.