Friday, May 28, 2010

Cool Technology of the Week

Every Memorial Day, I plant my summer vegetable garden with those species that do not tolerate cold - eggplant, cucumbers, corn, and peppers. I clear out the spring planting beds that were filled with numerous kinds of lettuce, turn my compost pile, and use fresh compost to amend the soil before planting.

In the Spring, I start making compost by using greens (cut grass, weeds, trimmings) and a few browns (leaves, twigs, kitchen trimmings). I add a bit of baking soda to reduce the acid content of the mix, add compost starter and moisten the mixture to the consistency of a wet sponge - not too wet, not too dry. Everything goes into my rotating compost bin.

Thus, as Memorial Day approaches I have compost on my mind, which leads to the Cool Technology of the Week - Composting Toilets.

I'm a big fan of green technologies and living off grid, which I hope to do someday. Here's how composting toilets work.

Composting is a natural process through which organic material is decomposed and used to produce a valuable soil conditioner. In a composting toilet, water is not used at all, and human waste and other organic materials are deposited into a chamber where aerobic bacteria decompose solid portions. The liquid portion (the water content of urine, feces and added organic matter) is left to evaporate through a specially designed ventilation system.

The digestion chambers fill up over time. Once full, the chamber is left to compost over a period of weeks. During this time a second chamber is used. Finished compost is rendered sterile by the heat of the composting process and can be safely removed.

Here's detailed overview from the EPA.

Waterless, green, natural composting toilets - that's cool.

1 comment:

plgirdler said...

As you are a fan of Japanese culture I'm wondering if you have considered the bokashi composting process - I find it highly effective and proponents tell me it is greener than traditional composting in that it produces less greenhouse gasses.