Category Archives: composters

Composting Difficult Things

Cornell’s Waste Management Institute has a great guide for composting dead cows and diseased animals. For some reason I find myself recommending this guide quite often as a response to questions after we talk. It has some hilarious, but very practical diagrams to follow. Natural Rendering

The Emergency Sanitation Handbook

Our students in the Sanitation, Hygiene, and Integrated Technology lab at PNCA have released the first draft of a hands on guide to managing your own sanitation after an emergency. It’s a fun, fresh, illustrated 16 pager that’s bound to save your ass in an emergency. We’ll be doing some final touches on it with [...]

Portable Composting Toilets for Multi Day Events

The Cloacina Project with design and implementation from PNCA’s graduate students in Collaborative Design created an open source hardware platform for toilets, urinals, hand sinks and privacy screens for portable low cost dry toilets. Recognizing that hardware is only half the problem the PNCA students addressed the user interface by creating a training protocol, help [...]

Compost-heated Greenhouse c.1750

Ním Wunnan points us towards the Lost Gardens of Heligan, where they have restored to operation a “pineapple pit,” a compost-heated greenhouse in fashion in the mid-18th century for growing pineapples in Britain.  It is, as far as is known, the world’s only operational pineapple pit.

Tuning the Aeration of our Pile

We’ve built a compost pile that is designed to be minimally turned and composted in a vessel, so we’re using a blower to get air in, and we need to tune the aeration rate. Our first problem running aeration tests is to measure the effective aeration of our system. As detailed below, the New Alchemy [...]

Diagram of Types of Composting Toilets

Ah, at last I found the simplest illustration of types of composting toilets. It’s from a review of household dry sanitation practices around the globe put out by Toilettes du Monde in France. The full article hasn’t been translated into english yet, but the summary has.

Earle Barnhart & Hilde Maingay on Sanitation Alternatives

We received a lovely e-mail from Earle & Hilde, who have been busy illustrating alternative urban sanitation systems that can solve Cape Cod, Massachusetts’ ongoing aquifer poisoning.  Great flow diagrams for nitrogen within different systems, these would be a great complement to any presentation on contemporary sanitation practices and the future of sanitation.

Pail Collection and Composting in Skaneateles!

This is the longest-running pail collection system I’ve seen in the Western World.  Run from 1908-1998 around summer cottages in upstate New York, 5-gallon buckets were picked up from public outhouses and private summer cottages.  Sewage was banned to protect the watershed. PDF article here. Continuous interaction with cottage owners has been essential to the [...]

Now you can Buy

Our posters are now up on, along with a buy button.

Illustrating Waste Management Techniques & Options

I’m working on completing a full illustration of Portland’s waste treatment plant and how it works for a series of posters I’m making about the past, present and the very hopeful future for waste management. If you’re interested in non-cartesian representations of physical processes drop me a line, I need all the advice I can [...]

Emergency Sanitation Workshop This Saturday

We'll be doing a 45 minute workshop on Saturday June 2nd @ 2pm at King Elementary School as part of Resilience
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