Earthy shit – The humble practice of composting

Cute and functional . . . The long drop at the Patearoa Syndicate hut

Composting our poo & wee is largely about self-responsibility. Our choice to use composting systems for our build was simple. In terms of the environment our choice to compost alleviates dependency on an ever increasing demand for council infrastructure, which still use archaic systems of wastewater management. That rely on polluting waterways with anaerobic black waste water. Instead we shifted our mind-set to the pioneering practice of converting human waste into Humanure; using simple, engineered & consented aerobic composting systems. When well managed, (the less moving parts and the simpler a system; the easier to manage) becomes nutrient for our food forest.

In our commitment to compost we hope to become part of the solution. We hope to do it well and through our experience, open minds to the reality that the humbling practice of dealing with our shit unfolds towards an expanding awareness of life; affirming self responsible relationships with nature. In other words how we deal with our shit – reflects upon our commitment to how we respond to our external conditions in general. It came down to two simple options. Were we prepared to flush & forget? Or striving to find better ways to harmonise with the natural forces of nature!

Philosophy aside we as a family, still have plenty of conditioning and mind-sets to undo. A 12 year old is mostly concerned with what people will think when they visit, some adults are worried about smell and overcoming phobias of handling the waste and application of the final product as compost on gardens. All valid, yet like those before us, such as these folk whom advise; with proper management and implementation of the systems, phobias and concerns become a distant memory.

As we commit to composting, it will become the new normal as we raise a generation of children well educated & accustomed in the practice of composting Humanure.

We engaged Mike Copeland @ kiwipioneer.co.nz to help us with appropriate systems for our property for the consent process. Mike has so far designed and had consented 700 compost and grey water waste systems dotted about the South Island. Incouraging numbers, and shows that there are plenty of folk forging forward with their ideals for best practice.
Despite common belief Regional Council wastewater policy permits composting toilets and grey water management systems such as those that Mike designs as complying activities.

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