How should we call the excreta-derived product of a composting toilet or a UDDT? Do we need a new term?

  • joeturner
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Re: How should we call the excreta-derived product of a composting toilet or a UDDT? Do we need a new term?

Faeces even when composted is not soil.

It can be a useful growing medium, but it is not soil. I understand why the term might be important, but we should not run away with the idea that by magic faeces has suddenly become fully interchangeable with soil - it hasn't.
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  • joeturner
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Re: How should we call the excreta-derived product of a composting toilet or a UDDT? Do we need a new term?

UDDTs produce air dried faeces. Pathogens are not fully destroyed because some dessicated microbes can become reanimated with rewetting.

Composting is a process by which faeces, in the presence of sufficient oxygen and carbon stimulates the growth of aerobic microbes which, directly or indirectly destroy harmful pathogens, which are usually anaerobic.

In an absolute sense, dehydration is not composting by definition. However, the terms composting toilet and ecosan are commonly used interchangeably with UDDTs.

Soil is are produced by many complicated processes over hundreds or thousands of years to produce a chemically complex material consisting (usually) of both organic and mineral fractions with (usually) some kind of measurable structure.

Composts are produced over months or years, are almost entirely organic matter and are amorphous. They are not in any sense soil.
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Re: How should we call the excreta-derived product of a composting toilet or a UDDT? Do we need a new term?

Oh, OK, if you are looking for a purely "marketing term", then I guess anything goes, depending on the local preferences. I thought we were looking for a "real, serious" term.

Joe's post made me look up the definition of "soil" on Wikipedia. I don't know if this is a good definition of soil?

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soil

The first paragraph states:

Soil is the mixture of minerals, organic matter, gases, liquids, and myriad organisms that together support plant life. Two general classes are topsoil and subsoil. Soil is a natural body that exists as part of the pedosphere and which performs four important functions: it is a medium for plant growth; it is a means of water storage, supply and purification; it is a modifier of the atmosphere of Earth; and it is a habitat for organisms that take part in decomposition of organic matter and the creation of a habitat for new organisms.


The materials removed from the vault of a UDDT are definetely not soil. Materials coming out of a long-term composting toilet (or a Fossa Alterna or Arborloo) might be more similar to soil, as it would contain more organisms? Joe, you know more about soil than I do: what are the main aspects that differentiate excreta-derived compost from soil in your opinion?

But when it comes to "marketing names", then anything goes, doesn't it? Liquifert, Biofert, I have seen all sorts of names already... Let everyone come up with their own name, whatever makes sense in the local market.

When it comes to descriptions of process on Wikipedia or here on the forum, I would prefer to stick with the "scientific" terms, i.e. dried fecal matter (UDDT) and partially degraded excreta (composting toilet).

Edit: Joe, your last post must have been written in parallel to mine. :-) I guess it answers my question already.

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  • DaveBates
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Re: How should we call the excreta-derived product of a composting toilet or a UDDT? Do we need a new term?

Bio___ - Not sure

At first, I did not like the use of Bio (for UDDT) because for the ones that are highly alkaline from the use of lime, there is not much, if any "living" biological organisms in that waste; however you pointed out the "carbon" aspect, which has a bio component to it. Still I am not ready to accept bio yet..still seems largely misleading for UDDTs buy maybe ok for composting toilets like Clivus Multrum
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Re: How should we call the excreta-derived product of a composting toilet or a UDDT? Do we need a new term?

Well of course anyone can use any name they like, but nobody is going to get respect from a soil scientist or any agricultural professional if something is described as soil when it obviously is not soil.
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Re: How should we call the excreta-derived product of a composting toilet or a UDDT? Do we need a new term?

Consider the end states/uses of the UDDT end products, such as:

fill,


BioFill

Ecofill
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  • joeturner
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Re: How should we call the excreta-derived product of a composting toilet or a UDDT? Do we need a new term?

Personally, I have less problem with the "bio" part. Any animal derived material can be considered biological - in the sense that it can be used as plants for nutrients for growth. The problem here is whether dehydrated faeces is any more "bio" than Open Defecation. In terms of available nutrients, I doubt it.

If one is attempting to distinguish (treated) faeces from (conventionally treated) mixed industrial wastes and faeces, I would think the emphasis should be on the happy feelings people would feel in using it rather than unsupportable pseudoscientific sounding terms.

So - happymedium or something similar.

But generally I agree with Elisabeth that terms should not muddle up the different processes which produce material which may have quite different properties.

Of course... this is also a problem with the term biosolids, which can have no precise meaning and varies from point to point.
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  • JKMakowka
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Re: How should we call the excreta-derived product of a composting toilet or a UDDT? Do we need a new term?

Why invent a new term when "organic fertilizer" seems sufficiently generic and accurate?

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Re: How should we call the excreta-derived product of a composting toilet or a UDDT? Do we need a new term?

Terms like ecological and organic are potentially misleading as these are commonly used in organic farming, which usually does not permit the use of human faeces.

But of course, all uses of human faeces in agriculture is as a form of organic fertiliser.

The point, I think, is to find a term to use for treated faeces which does not have the negative sides of the term biosolids.
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Re: How should we call the excreta-derived product of a composting toilet or a UDDT? Do we need a new term?

I see, but isn't the ban on human feces in (certified) organic farming mainly to prevent the use of "biosolids", i.e. sewerage sludge?
Maybe we should rather advocate for a lift of this ban in regards to usually perfectly "organic" material from UDDTs or composting toilets?

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  • joeturner
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Re: How should we call the excreta-derived product of a composting toilet or a UDDT? Do we need a new term?

I think the ban in organic farming is nonsensical, but having heard much about it think that organic farming is more of an ideology (maybe even a religion) than something which can be explained by logic or science. I understand that the use of any human faeces in organic agriculture has been permanently taken off the table in the EU if not elsewhere.
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  • DaveBates
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Re: How should we call the excreta-derived product of a composting toilet or a UDDT? Do we need a new term?

Elizabeth:

These parts of the definition of soil (as well as #1 & # 2 below) that you found caught my attention:

3) it is a modifier of the atmosphere of Earth; and

4) it is a habitat for organisms that take part in decomposition of organic matter and the creation of a habitat for new organisms.

#3 & #4 really focus on the role of soil in the overall environment.

So often industrial processes, urban development and humam living activities degrade the soil, water and/or air; this definition of soil, highlights the potential of the UDDT and compost toilets to play a role (either proactive in enriching the soil, or preventative in protecting water) ...it got me thinking about these aspects of the UDDT's and compost toilets. I want to think on those aspects to see if a name can be derived to focus on those aspects of "soil creation & soil's benefits".

Note: the other 2 aspects of that definition of soil were:

1) a medium for plant growth;

2) it is a means of water storage, supply and purification;

Just some side observations that pushing me in a different direction in finding an appropriate name.

David
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