So, you've purchased a composting toilet and have been happily using it. Eventually, the time comes to remove your first lot of humanure... You might be asking yourself - how do I safely handle the compost?
The end goal of composting is a matured material which becomes soil-like in its smell and appearance. The goal of composting toilets, however, is to convert materials into humus - a rotted but not matured material, which is free of harmful pathogens and safe to handle.
A compost pile's ability to convert excreta into humus is dependent on time and heat. Although composting toilets are designed to do this with ease, the process can be stalled by a number of reasons: cold climate, the pile being too wet or too dry, addition of foreign materials, etc. This is why it's always best to err on the side of caution when handling compost from a composting toilet.
Below are a few guidelines for the safe handling of humanure.
Make sure to cover up when handling humanure - you don't want to risk getting any nasties into a cut or lesion on your skin. You also want to protect your lungs and airways from any dust particles that may rise from the pile.
When handling compost from a composting toilet, always wear:
- Rubber/latex gloves
- A long-sleeved shirt
- Long pants
- Closed in shoes/gumboots
- A dust mask
Once you've finished dealing with humanure, you want to wash off any compost particles that may have made their way to your skin/clothing.
After handling compost from a composting toilet, always:
- Wash your hands thoroughly
- Scrub underneath your fingernails
- Wash your clothing
Always dispose of your compost in the appropriate manner. Humanure can be transferred to a Secondary Treatment System for further maturation but, should always be buried in the end. This prevents surface run-offs, immediate exposure to occupants of the land, and the spread of pathogens by animals and insects. To learn about how to dispose of your compost properly, read What to do with Humanure.
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