What to do with all the waste?

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I'm rather new here, so if this topic has been discussed before, just point me to the thread and I'll pipe down. My question is, what are people's plans for waste disposal? I have a back yard and fireplace, so that can take care of easily composted or burned stuff. What I'm wondering about are all of those full plastic bags that will stack up when/if the toilets stop working! In a pinch, I'll dig a hole in my backyard, but I'll probably have to clean it up once city services are restored (in 3 days, 3 months, or 3 years, take your pick). I don't want to take that stuff to a landfill, either, if there is a better alternative.

On a related topic, I read somewhere about some sort of balloon that can stop up the toilet drains and prevent back flow from the city main sewer. I live about a half mile from a treatment plant, so I've been wondering about it lately. However I don't want to do something so drastic that I would need to hire a plumber to fix my mistakes once the sewer plant is back on line!

Any ideas / plans out there?

-- Margaret Janssen (janssm@aol.com), February 14, 1999


In my opinion, you won't have very much trash to get rid of. Items that you once considered to be trash will sudddenly take on value.

Fifty years ago, people in this neck of the woods had areas on their farm where they buried tin cans, broken glass, etc. That was the only way to get rid of those things. Such will be the case in the future.

Everyone had a burn barrel and compost heap.

Odds are that you will reuse mosy of what you now consider to be trash.

-- Ed (trashman32@aol.com), February 14, 1999.

Our village of TEOTWAWKI had NO waste but one kind. And it was plowed under with horse and plow.

-- Not again! (seenit@ww2.com), February 14, 1999.

Lived in Montara, CA for several years without garbage guys coming around. Fed greens etc. to chickens, reused or recycled bottles and cans. Garbage Co. didn't like it and wanted to bill me anyway, but I didn't need them and refused to pay them. Never had a sanitary problem.

Human waste? If it comes to that a good deep hole in the backyard will do. However if you have a well, which I do, you must keep your human waste away from any runoff to the well. I have several acres here so no problem. Maybe you need some study at the good ol' library. Learn lots of good stuff there.

-- Mark freeman Hillyard (foster@inreach.com), February 14, 1999.

Order the Humanure Handbook by J.C. Jenkins from Amazon.com. It will tell you how to *safely* compost your toilet waste without poisoning your groundwater.

-- Brooks (brooksbie@hotmail.com), February 14, 1999.

I agree that most of what is now considered garbage will be prime fodder for reuse. Human waste will pose a problem if an outhouse can't be used as the solution.

In situation where burying or outhouses aren't possible as a disposal solution, the military used "burn barrel" outhouses. Once a week the half of a fifty gallon drum used as a catch for the wastes was dragged out of the outhouse, a gallon or so of fuel was added and the wastes were burned.

If you have no other options, plan to store fuel for this method and prepare a fifty gallon drum by cutting the upper half off and adding some handles to the bottom half. For a pretty good example of how it's done, get a copy to the video of American Graffitti part 2.

Here's hoping it doesn't get that bad for you.


-- Wildweasel (vtmldm@epix.net), February 14, 1999.

If you have the money, you might want to invest in a composting toilet. Not cheap ($700+ range I think) but a safe alternative to an outhouse if you don't have enough land to place it far enough away from your well. Waste in your water is definitely uncool.

-- rick (little_engine_th@_could.com), February 14, 1999.

For short term outages, just about anything will do. For longer term however, I second the recommendation for
The Humanure Handbook

This book will show you how to handle humanure safely and cheaply. We plan to test drive the information contained therein this spring.

I is a great book and well written.

-- Arnie Rimmer (Arnie_Rimmer@usa.net), February 14, 1999.

Thanks, all, for the helpful posts! I will check out the book and also the local library. Ta.

-- Margaret Janssen (janssm@aol.com), February 14, 1999.

Here's a source for composting toilets:


We bought our solar set-up from Roy and are very pleased. We plan to order bulk food from his new line of Y2K supplies.

-- Old Git (anon@spamproblems.com), February 15, 1999.

On the issue of sewage back-up, you can buy a plumber's test plug (we bought one at our local home-improvement store). It's like a heavy rubber balloon which is placed down in the clean-out pipe of your main sewer line (we don't have a clean-out, so are installing one this summer...simple project but alot of digging). After installing the plug, use a bicycle pump to pump it up to 20psi and then it is sealed. (Incidentally, in our local paper, the sewer plant made announcement of arrangements to rent 6 generators at the cost of $35,200 for the first month of Jan. 2000--stating that the local power plant can't give any guarantees and they don't want to take any chances!!) Good luck to you!

-- Brenda Parker (BParker201@aol.com), February 15, 1999.

Human waste:Intown or out of town dig hole,save dirt, use bucket,dump in hole,sprinkle on lime,change location of hole every week.Lime speeds up composting,also more sanitary

-- H.Huges (Daddyo56@hotmail.com), August 15, 1999.

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