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

  • 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?

Since compost toilets nor UDDT's can not USUALLLY produce a significant amount of "compost" or material with significant agricultural value, seems our definition should focus on the facts that it is usually just merely:

1) becomes a fill material (or is just discarded in a safe manner)

2) becomes a low grade agricultural amendment

3) Protects water supplies by adequately treating excrement, preventing its introduction to water supplies

That's why I came up with names of :

ecofill, or biofill

Those names don't really sound that good to me, but they do emphasize my point

Yardfill would be another one, but neither do I like it either. Just brainstorming.

Maybe someone has a better word playing off those concepts.
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  • Carol McCreary
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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 am so glad to see this discussion underway. The terms "composting toilet" and "compost toilets" are used so broadly and variously they become meaningless.

Toilets don’t compost. Organisms compost different types of matter under the right conditions. Toilets may or may not contain the composting process. And many variables determine when is the process complete - quality of original material, organisms in original materials, quality of added material, organisms added or which develop, temperature, climate, humidity, and the various guidelines, tests, and codes that determine is the composting process is complete.

For example, this excerpt from Washington State's (otherwise quite inflexible) publication Water Conserving On-Site Wastewater Treatment Systems highlights the fact that groups of composting organisms are designated by the temperature ranges (apologies for Fahrenheit) in which they function. www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/Pubs/337-016.pdf

The Influence of Temperature on the Composting Process

Four temperature ranges should be recognized when considering the composting process:
Below 42F – little to no active microbial processing takes place. Within this temperature range,the system will only serve as a storage vessel for excrement, toilet paper, and additives.
From 42F to 67F – psychrophilic microorganisms dominate (e.g., actinomycetes and fungi))
which results in a moldering processing. Moldering toilets are designed to operate within this temperature range. Because the composting process is so much slower in this range, larger composter vessel sizes may be needed to compensate for the slow volume reduction of the composting mass.
From 68F to 112F – mesophilic bacteria dominate. This is the typical temperature range for most composting toilets.
From 113F to 160F – thermophilic bacteria dominate (atypical of most compost systems unless assisted by an external heating system)


Before looking at sanitation systems, we should try to nail down the noun and verb "compost" (which are embraced by some people for their inscrutable, nearly mystical connotations). It's been helpful to me to learn that the term « anaerobic composting » is replaced by « digestion / digestive » in Europe. As for aerobic composting, I hope the discussion of can cover vermicomposting, use of black soldier flies and larvae, biochar and bokashi, and mycoremediation, which shows promise of fungi in decomposing industrial toxics and petroleum as well as organic matter. (I've just started Paul Stammet's Mycelium Running, which he summarizes in this TED talk. www.ted.com/talks/paul_stamets_on_6_ways...he_world?language=en )

Thanks,everybody,

Carol

Carol McCreary
Public Hygiene Lets Us Stay Human (PHLUSH)
1240 W. Sims Way #59, Port Townsend, Washington 98368 USA

Toilet availability is a human right and well-designed sanitation systems restore health to our cities, our waters and our soils.
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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 think composting should only be used for aerobic microbial breakdown - obviously BSFL, vermiculture and anaerobic digestion are important technologies, but they are not composting.

Another factor in a toilet is whether the conditions are controlled enough to ensure all material reaches the temperatures expected. In any windrow, heap or latrine, the edges will always be worse than the middle, which is why turning is important.

Also, proponents of composting toilets frequently seem to think that conditions experienced in one location can be simply applied elsewhere - but varying things like climate and feedstock will make a big difference to the effectiveness of the process.
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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?

Since ecosan

is a term used by SuSanA for the ecological approach to sanitation per this Wikipedi page:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecological_sanitation

How about the following term for the solids from ecosan technologies in general, or just the UDDT, or just lime-treated UDDT's

Ecosand

or

Eco-Sand


This emphasizes the end use as yard fill aspect
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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?

Again this is not as "sexy" as ecosoil or biosoil,

and it actually downplays the potential fertilizer value of the material....

this is using the opposite approach of marketing...

it lowers expectations for the potential user, than they won't be disappointed if the UDDT produces something "better than sand".
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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?

Last of all, on my proposed term: Eco-Sand or Ecosand

A drawback perhaps is when you put the 2 terms together (the technology and it's solids) they don't necessarily sound very well, and could cause confusion, because you would describe the toilet and it's discharge as:

Ecosan Ecosand

Ecosan's Ecosand

I have to admit that they don't link together well
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  • DavidAlan
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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 am really pleased we are having this discussion. I am not an academic, just a simple marketing person, and so the variants on a theme are a little over my head. What I do know is that we have ten of tonnes of compost in India that we either use ourselves on our research site, or sell to local farmers. My experience is that if you show farmers they can improve crop yields and it doesn't cost them too much money they will use it regardless of the name. The purchasing public however, are a different kettle of fish. It needs to be something that reflects the 'possible' organic nature and the fertiliser aspect, and some that isn't too scientific. I will try and give more time to the discussion and come up with other ideas.
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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?

For the UDDT, it would be

UDDT Eco-sand
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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?

DrBates, I don't understand your idea. Excreta, almost by definition, contains no sand.

Whichever system you use, the product from a sanitation system is going to be almost entirely made up of organic material, there is going to be very little 'sand' or other inorganic content unless users have deliberately added large amounts of soil, sand or gravel to their latrine.
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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?

I really was not using the term from a technical standpoint of the chemcial make up of the exrement...was thinking more from the additive used, since by volume, once the excrement dries, the additive is larger in volume & weight.

Also, just looking for a word that wouldn't "overplay" the nutrient value of UDDT solids. I have done lab analysis on the solids from the UDDT's for years that we supported, and mostly saw very poor fertilizer value in the them. Those in the discussion who want to emphasize that nutrient value of the UDDT solids either are working with UDDT's that are producing higher quality solids than ours, or are inflating the value of the solids. I don't know which.

I am trying to be honest about the little ag value of the solids that I have seen.
I have been in sales, and I would rather "Under promise and over deliver".

Some who are "promoting" UDDT's, do the opposite:

"Over promise, & under deliver",

setting up disappoint in the community when they encounter the reality of some UDDT's operation, not necessarily due to the fault of the technology, but either poor design, construction or operation and maintenance.

When this happens, it decreases the prestige of the UDDT, in that community and others. Bad news spreads fast, and reputations are hard to overcome

Where the users in the communities where we work don't have ash, we do encourage the use of large amounts of soil, which in the region I work is very sandy....so my comfort with that term is probably also geographically-based.

The ones that can afford it, we encourage them to be generous with the lime also, hence again the limiting ag value; our test have shown that the higher pH solids coming out of these UDDTs severely limits how much can be applied; I remember doing a calculation of one, and the application had to be limited to 3/16" of the solids, to prevent adversely impacting the soil pH.

Please call me David.
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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?

You must consider the large volume of the blanket of soil or sand placed on both

the bottom of the vault before use,

and after use stopped, over the top of the leveled excrement pile.

These 2 blankets and the additive, change the make up of the solids significantly, since once the solids are removed, the entire contents are mixed together.
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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?

Hi David, can you share some of the chemical analysis you have had of materials from UDDTs?
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