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Small Cabin Forum / Off-Grid Living / Bokashi compost toilet experiment
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creeky
Member
# Posted: 13 Apr 2015 09:30
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I have now successfully created Bokashi compost toilet mix.

(Note: this is a variant of the "sawdust bucket composting toilet" technique).

The idea behind bokashi is to pickle your poo with bacteria. To make the lactobassillyuckus (sp?) you

a) save your rinse water from making rice. I make basmati rice quite often. I usually soak it for 15 minutes. I used a cup of water from this rice soaking as my starter.

let the rinse water sit in a jar in a cool corner of the kitchen for a week. or ten days if you forget it's there.

b) after ten days take a half gallon of milk. put it in a disposable container. add the aged rice water. let it sit in a dark corner lightly covered (fermentation will occur) for two weeks.

this time set an alarm on your calender.

c) after two weeks you'll have murky water below (your culture) and milk curds. I used a flour sifter to screen out the curds and poured the murky water into a bucket. I then added water and sugar (to feed the culture).

d) after resting the cultured water for a few days because I had other stuff to do: pour the cultured water over your compost toilet material. i use wood chip bedding for horses as it is real cheap.

e) use the now slightly damp material as you would normally.

Notes:

Smells good. Boy was that easy. It works.

After two days of use:

i "unearth" some "material." It has changed texture and resembles chocolate pudding. There is no odour other than a faint sweet smell.

Experiment #2 is a success so far. More notes to follow.

FishHog
Member
# Posted: 13 Apr 2015 10:07
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I no longer want my normal chocolate pudding for desert.

Thanks for the info, very interesting. I look forward to following your experiment.

groingo
Member
# Posted: 13 Apr 2015 10:19
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I knew there was a reason I never liked rice pudding.
Videotape the process then post it on Youtube and watch it go viral....literally!

Pookie129
Member
# Posted: 14 Apr 2015 01:27
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Quoting: FishHog
I no longer want my normal chocolate pudding for desert.

Thinking exactly the same...lol..lol.

thetick
Member
# Posted: 14 Apr 2015 20:58
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Sounds like your making poop into hooch.

POOCH...lol

You have too much time on your hands if you're playing with poop creeky!

creeky
Member
# Posted: 15 Apr 2015 09:45
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sorry if I ruined any desserts ...
and, luckily, yes i do have too much time.

Poo digestion: phase 2
Problem:
I have an envirolet toilet (muldering toilet in a plastic box) and just before christmas the now frozen material had formed a mountain and plugged the, er, exit.
Hence my adoption of the sawdust composting toilet for the remainder of the winter.
This spring after examining the tower of power, as it were, I saw that it was completely covered in TP. I think others have mentioned they have trouble with TP in composting systems.

Solution: (noted: as the tower thawed it had sagged a few inches but was still white with TP.)
I put about a liter / quart of the bokashi solution into the toilet bowl and flush.

I then left it alone for five days.
Yesterday i had a look to see what, if anything, was going on.

Result:
The tower is brown.
There is no sign of TP. Any where. Completely digested.
The mass when pushed with a hoe falls over.
The material is various browns and has the texture of rich compost. Or chocolate pudding with some rice pudding mixed in (I suppose I should come up with another dessert to ruin).
There is no smell. None.

The entire mass has shrunk considerably. I was able to spread it all out (inside the box) and then cover with a layer of the horse bedding bokashi mash.

Ready for another season of use.

I would definitely recommend this recipe to anyone looking to shrink down an outhouse etc for continued use. I would also be interested to see if it keeps smells/insect populations down come the hot summer season.

As i mentioned. No smell. Absolutely none. Wet rich earth like texture.

will post back with final bucket results.

groingo
Member
# Posted: 15 Apr 2015 11:50
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So, when someone says Creeky has a POTTY MOUTH, there is no longer any doubt.....noooo Shi-!

thetick
Member
# Posted: 15 Apr 2015 12:13 - Edited by: thetick
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I'm so glad I don't like rice pudding...but chocolate pudding! That's just mean creeky.

But, as a fan of compost/sawdust toilet, I am intrigued and may have to try this.

pizzadude
Member
# Posted: 15 Apr 2015 12:39
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Creeky, are you ever tempted to make sand castles?
Poo castles? Ha
Yeah it's not a very appealing topic, talking crap.
We all poop. It's gotta go somewhere.
Waste management is a dirty job, but it must be dealt with for sanitary reasons.
I will talk informally.
As far as my own turds, hadn't put a whole lot of thought into it. I can piss anywhere. That's one great thing about being male.
Can't poop anywhere though.
For the first year, I had planned on using a plastic bag and 5gal bucket. Or lay it on the ground and perform clean up duties once every couple weeks or so. Scoop them up and haul them away to a far off land.

When I finally get around to getting serious about my toilet, I'm sure I'll turn to a composting type and I'll be trying your technique. Thx 🍕

creeky
Member
# Posted: 29 Apr 2015 20:29
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well. this will be my final update to this topic.

first: i am surprised how well the bokashi experiment has worked.

second: anyone using the bucket toilet or a composting toilet design this bokashi technique is worth doing. it really eliminates smells. and the "material" digests remarkably fast.

I used the "sawdust" bucket toilet for three months this winter and using the bokashi inoculated material to cover was a definite benefit.

i attach a "material" picture. this material has sat covered in the bokashi mixture for 10 days. You can see I have unearthed a bit. You will also note that it does not look anything like "bowel excavations" it looks like ... compost.

if there's a smell it's slightly nutty. the texture is firm, the colour black. quite unlike what untreated material looks like.

please see my bokashi blog post for photos and the recipe i used for making the inoculant. It is really easy to make. And very easy to use.

if you have a situation where you need to manage human waste in a safe and simple fashion. this is well worth looking at.

note: i tested my recipe a second time. it seems to be working, but I would recommend ensuring you age your rice water for the full week to 10 days.

hope this helps.
thematerial.jpg
thematerial.jpg


Wilbour
Member
# Posted: 30 Apr 2015 12:01
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I will do some research on this. My first question is, do you separate urine from this? This is easier for the guys to do. But then, considering what this project entails, I may just let the ladies use my chemical portta potty.

creeky
Member
# Posted: 30 Apr 2015 13:18
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nope. no urine separation. in fact the moisture is said to help.

i should have put more pictures up. but, check my blog. it's the same as any "sawdust / bucket composting" toilet. except you add an inoculant to the sawdust/bran/horse bedding whatever that you are using already.

super easy to make. use.

and, unlike the chemical porta potty. no smell. no toxins. and very low cost. plus. no horrible emptying the porta potty. Yuck.

btw. I have camped/farmed/outdoored my entire life (mennonite farm boy who's biologist father was superintendent of a national park). I have used every single kind of toilet facility from the space between two rocks. to digging the 9" hole and leaning against a tree. to a variety of buckets and outhouses.

the bokashi inoculant is the first truly innovative idea I've seen in a long time and after testing. the nicest discovery.

i recommend using it and stocking it in camp washrooms everywhere. if only for odor control. the fact that it also kills e. coli etc. nice bonus. and that it speeds digestion of these wastes even better.

i had not expected it to work so well. nor to be so easy to make. sheesh. the stuff we still have to learn.

Wilbour
Member
# Posted: 30 Apr 2015 14:14
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Creeky,

I may just have to give your toilet at try. Are you available at exactly 8:35 am on any given day? My wife says she could set her clock by me

Honestly this may just be what I am looking for.

creeky
Member
# Posted: 30 Apr 2015 14:50
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ha ha ha. yes. as a matter of fact.

every morning. i'm an early bird perhaps. but twice a morn. one pre coffee and the next just post. we so lucky. so you'll drop right in between my own experimental data accumulation events.

maybe this could be a topic. are guys more regular than gals?

I found the bokashi thing years and years ago (a slight silver lining to the 2011 tsunami). and while I've seen quite a few "sawdust" toilet posts and brought it up again and again no one tested the technique.

so this year when i had to put the envirolet on temporary suspension it was the ideal time to do the experiment.

I had expected reasonable results based on previous research. so imagine my surprise when
a) the inoculant cost me 1/2 gallon of milk. everything else was free.
b) the process of turning the material my sawdust toilet was already using into "inoculated" sawdust took 3 weeks of ignoring stuff happening.
c) did what it said it would: turned a stinky process into one that wasn't stinky.

and i got the additional tested benefit of
d) reduced the envirolets "tower of tp power" into a pudding of puddles.

i really do hope that a lot of folks who use composting and pit toilets get a benefit from this.

like a lot of off grid change recently. solar. batteries. etc. it's a good thing.

bobrok
Member
# Posted: 30 Apr 2015 17:13
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Creeky, I have an outhouse with a 48" deep pit. I don't use sawdust, chips, bedding, or anything in it; just use it and leave. Would this mixture work by simply pouring it over the contents of the pit rather than adding additional compost material?
You seem to suggest this in your outhouse reference above.

LastOutlaw
Member
# Posted: 30 Apr 2015 21:33
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So Creeky,

This mixture you have created...do you know how long will it stay active after mixed with the sawdust? How long in the jug?

I'm curious if I would need to make a batch before a trip to the cabin or could it be premixed and stored in liquid form at the cabin then mixed with sawdust and used then.

creeky
Member
# Posted: 1 May 2015 10:17
Reply 


Yes to the pit use. I used it with my envirolet and that is mostly tp and material (occasionally I toss in some sawdust to give the material some carbon to work with). The bokashi completely digested the tp in days. which surprised the heck out of me.

As I've mentioned, the envirolet had "backed up" and wasn't in use. So to see biological activity so quickly, er, dispose of the problem.

Yes to storage: As i understand it: to keep the inoculant active you just mix in a tablespoon or two of molasses (recommended, I used maple syrup as it's what I had on hand. pretty sure sugar would work too). and store in the refrigerator. apparently lasts for months.

I would be really interested in anyone using a pit toilet on what happens. Does it eliminate odors. Does the "mass" shrink. I just want to see if I can get a (oh no) body of evidence. Every good experimental result must be repeatable.

sorry.

bobrok
Member
# Posted: 1 May 2015 12:37 - Edited by: bobrok
Reply 


Tnx, creeky.
I may put your idea to the test over the hot summer months.
My other option would be to use the ol' post hole digger to clean out the pit,
but, in all honesty, not an enjoyable proposition. Keep tuned, unless someone beats me to it (posting, that is, not volunteering to clean my pit!)

PS: I so appreciate a good sense of humor even if you spell it differently.

creeky
Member
# Posted: 5 Feb 2016 11:39
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Update: Year 1 on the envirolet and a straw bucket toilet added to the "chalet" aka the winter bedroom.

Envirolet

Well. i emptied the envirolet this fall. 4 years without emptying. The "fluids" outlet plugged necessitating a clean out. I've been adding "bokashi" blend for 9 months since the spring. No odour really to report. Appears to be working well.

The clean up was actually pretty fun. I wrapped a rope around the envirolet base and pulled it out from under the shizzer shack with the tractor. It popped right out (heh heh) and so I just went with it. I towed the base along the field to the forest where the straw containment area awaited. Luckily i was able to tip the toilet basin over into the straw with the forks on the fel. Perfect.

Result: the material, while excessively moist due to the fluid plug. Was completely digested and odourless. Nice. Poured into the straw and was captured. Days later double checking it had the consistency of forest floor and there didn't appear to be any fly or critter activity I could see. Score one for bokashi. No sign either of lumps or paper. All was a digested mass.

Straw bucket toilet

Due to the addition of a female family member I added a straw bucket toilet to the chalet for night time use. Using bokashi inoculate added to the wood chips to cover continued my use from last winter.

As in last winter there is no odour. This is particularly nice as the toilet is in a small partially enclosed nook of the chalet (10x14; the nook is 2.6x3.6). As this is a bedroom, note a significant rise in olfactory monitoring.

Additional fluid from the female use of the facility resulted in no additional odour.* However, it did occasion additional removals so I have two set ups. One for fluids and one for solids. I will be adding a urine diverter to the solids area to increase comfort.

*: I am continuing to make a nest of straw inside my buckets. And use the bokashi blend for coverage. this keeps the bucket clean when dumping. a quick snow rinse removes any fluid remnants. there is minor *odour at this point before rinsing (if you stick your head in the bucket and sniff you get that ammonia urine odour).

Not sure: but the additional fluids seem to have set the straw to percolating a bit. Hence the additional emptying (weekly). And the eventual decision to use urine diversion.

But this gives final proof to the odourless nature of using bokashi. Even with an upgraded sensitive analysis device in place the process continues to meet the "no odour" parameter.

Also note: this facility requires no electricity or plumbing. The use requires bokashi blend and straw.

Hope this helps. Creek.

Nate R
Member
# Posted: 5 Feb 2016 19:00
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Any knowledge or thoughts on temperature vs effectiveness? I'm wondering if I should use this in my soon to be dug outhouse, but also wondering about whether it would work in cooler soil temperatures, or if I should only add the Bokashi mix in summer, etc?

creeky
Member
# Posted: 5 Feb 2016 21:52
Reply 


Nate, it seems to do its business at all temps. From cool to hot. No bacterial process works all that well when frozen however.

Nate R
Member
# Posted: 6 Feb 2016 12:52
Reply 


Understood, Creeky. Great to know!
Thinking that for our part-time use place, an annual "feeding" of this mix down the outhouse hole sounds like a good plan to keep smells at bay, long term.

Thanks for documenting your process and the outcomes!

creeky
Member
# Posted: 6 Feb 2016 15:41
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. I found the bokashi reduced the size of the mass and controlled bugs too. Plus. You know. It's fun to go that extra step and try something new.

Tibby
Member
# Posted: 11 Jul 2018 17:22
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Hi there. How much additional water do you add and how much sugar? Or doesn't this matter so much?

Tibby
Member
# Posted: 11 Jul 2018 17:29
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Oh, and is semi skimmed milk ok?

creeky
Member
# Posted: 12 Jul 2018 16:34
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The amounts you add are pretty flexible. I added about a quart/liter of water and a tablespoon of sugar.

I don't know about the skim milk. but probably? try it and let us know.

Tibby
Member
# Posted: 12 Jul 2018 16:38
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I'll not chance it. I'll buy whole milk just to be sure. Rice water prepared yesterday so I'm just starting my journey. I have a compost loo on the boat I live on so speeding up the process will be invaluable. So pleased I stumbled across this thread

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