The Earthsong Eco Neighbourhood in Ranui, Auckland (New Zealand), is a place which perfectly encapsulates the ideals of sustainable living, and puts its principles into practice. The homes are beautifully constructed from natural, non-toxic materials, the water is solar heated, and the main road through the neighbourhood is a lovely walk-way lined with gardens as all cars are kept to the outskirts of the village.
Of course, no sustainable village would be complete without incorporating the principles of human waste composting, and so at the heart of the village, next to the community building is a Clivus Multrum composting toilet.
The Clivus Multrum has been installed in its own unique shelter, in an elevated position to allow room for the collection chamber to be positioned below the pedestal. Inside, the room is truly lovely and filled with natural wood. Sawdust is used as cover material for this composting toilet, and the whole bathroom is filled with the gentle, almost citrusy smell from the wood shavings.
The Clivus Multrum pedestal looks very at home in this natural toilet building, and when inside this room, you are not aware of all the micro-organisms hard at work in the chamber below, working hard to create the compost.
Of course, because the shoot is black, it absorbs light, preventing you from being able to see into the chamber below so you can’t actually see what’s going on down there at all (unless you use the viewing port in the chamber itself, or shine a torch down the toilet).
On the wall of the building, residents of Earthsong are gently reminded of the principle rules of using the composting toilet, and how to make sure it continues to work effectively for the community.
The ventilation flue and vent ensure that negative pressure is always moving through the system, and that air is constantly being sucked into the system through the pedestal, which means that even if there were any odours in the chamber, they cannot be smelt in the bathroom.
The Earthsong Neighbourhood have cleverly installed their Clivus Multrum chamber behind a window to maximise the solar gains, and create a warm environment to help accelerate the composting process. Just like you, the micro-organisms at work in the compost like to be warm!
When the cycle is complete and the compost is ready to be emptied from the system, it is perfectly broken down. The end result is completely pathogen free compost, which smells like rich soil and is safe to use in the garden.
As a principle, the Earthsong Neighbourhood have chosen not to use their humanure on the community vegetable gardens because of the social stigma, but it is available for the residents to use on their own private gardens, and anything left over is placed on the orchards.
It’s so important for us to see examples of composting toilets in action in communities like this. So many people have negative misconceptions about composting toilets and what they are like to use. Earthsong provides a wonderful working example of the power of humanity composting in their community, and shows that it is possible to safely, effectively and, well, beautifully turn our waste back into a valuable resource, filling that missing loop in the human nutrient cycle.
To find out more about installing a Clivus Multrum today in your home or your community, contact WCTNZ today.