Urban Residential Compost Loos

Posted on June 17, 2010


Earlier this year whilst staying at a wonderful urban wwoofing property in Melbourne I helped out with a re-design of a compost loo and helped flesh it out into complete composting system. I had recently re-read the poo-bible: The Humanure Handbook which – more recently – has been made wonderfully and freely available by its author Joseph Jenkins. I’ve retrieved my hard drive which had these photos from a friend so I thought I’d take the opportunity to get this up.

harrison st house - erecting the hand-crafted pergola

The property is worthy of a whole post just in itself but I will just briefly mention that it is an urban property which has a few ‘frozen-in-time’ features which would be more common in a country town. There is a mix of rent-payers, the owner Matthew and a few resident urban wwoofers. This mix usually means that there are lots of projects plodding along as well as the consistently productive large vegie gardens. A few of the wwoofers, Luka and Matieu, had built a compost loo before my stay but the capacity was reached when the three 40L bins on hand all filled up.

The project had become dormant and I had brought some fresh energy into the space to get the project back into action. The first version of the loo was pretty bare bones so I put some effort into smoothing rough edges and adding niceties. There was a particular interest in making it a pleasant experience for first-time compost loo users, and a time pressure of a big party planned for that weekend. I’ve always found in these kind of places time pressures particularly relating to events are good for getting the crew together to do lots of good work on the space.

My contributions were along the lines of:* belt sanding the “toilet seat” area, which was uneven pine slats *

harrison st folks

sanding a curved edge *adding a lid  *installing some toilet roll holders *establishing a sawdust container for inside the loo *adding a little platform giving a bit more space, adding cladding, *pictorial signage *a little magazine rack and enviro mags * hanging a brush for cleaning * making a washing station. Later we added the compost bays which is the next step of the process.

Which all resulted in something like this:

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