We use coconut coir because it’s more sustainable than peat moss and it comes in these compact dehydrated blocks. You can see all of our composting toilet info and videos here: Composting Toilets
Bill Farmer – May 7, 2019
Hello Lisa, I recommend hydrating (moist constancy) the dry coir with cool, clean H2O. Once the dry coir is dampened, place in 5 gallon bucket, boil enough water to cover the moist coir then carefully poor it in the boiling water. These dry coir blocks will have dormant eggs that are accumulated along the way in processing once they meet moisture and temperature and supply of nutrients they hatch, mature & fly. Once the water has cooled dewater the coir and use. The eggs will be unable to further evolve and we all know, if you live 3 miles or more out from shore the only critters you’ll have onboard are the ones you brought with you from the shore and/or traveling near shore. Look at it this way, most of us have experienced weevils in our grain, flours etc while storing in our cabinets. Weevils are imported into our homes where we then open sealed containers and provide the necessary environment for these little pest to evolve into moving life forms. Now we can stop the process by either exposing our dry goods to boiling water, not logical or intelligent approach for dry grain, so the next best method is to place the dry goods on a oven safe sheet, heat oven to 160 degrees, allow time for the grain to sufficiently meet the 160 degrees for a time then to cool and repackage in an air tight container. My point, these irritating bugs are most likely imported in the larvae form in the compacted medium packing, just make sure the air circulation screen is in good order to prevent critters from invading your toilet from the outside in. I sure hope this helps. All the best.
I’ll try to help out here; 1. Jody (Prop 65). Coco Coir is a “completely natural” fiber derived from a “completely” natural fruit, the coconut. Quote, “The retting process used in coir fiber production generates significant water pollution. Among the major organic pollutants are pectin, pectosan, fat, tannin, toxic polyphenols, and several types of bacteria including salmonella. Scientists are experimenting with treatment options, and at least one coir manufacturing company claims to be treating its effluent water.” Source: http://www.madehow.com/Volume-6/Coir.html#ixzz5nFQhc8EP
2. Jody: Prop 65: I’m betting all manufacturers which ship to Cali apply the the Prop 65 warning label to cover themselves legally. I feel equally sure that the fact, as stated above referring to “significant water pollution” has a whole lot to do with them requiring that labeling. Also feel confident that the treating byproduct / process as listed will b found somewhere in the listed chemicals in prop 65 white paper. Pretty sure, boaters releasing their minute volume of not completely – composted (decomposed) excrement doesn’t compare to the mass volume to water pollution generated by the processing the tons and tons of this “Completely Natural” Coconut fiber to simply generate a financial gain from otherwise a useless wasted byproduct of coconut production.
“Proposition 65 (formally titled The Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986) is a California law passed by direct voter initiative in 1986 by a 63%–37% vote. Its goals are to protect drinking water sources from toxic substances that cause cancer and birth defects and to reduce or eliminate exposures to those chemicals generally, for example in consumer products, by requiring warnings in advance of those exposures.” Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1986_California_Proposition_65
3. Jody: Quoting your statement, ” We are looking forward to our first composting toilet and thought we might as well be as green as possible. ” Do you, in the least, understand the methods, temperatures to be maintained to kill the bad bacteria and save the good bacteria, the time required to fully decompose and test for full decomposition before the composted waste can be used as a food fertilizer? There is a process, yes and information can be found on the internet, Source: https://grandpappy.org/gcompost.htm
Jessica: well, probably depends of how many people, how much they consume per day, consistency of fibrous diet consumed (these don’t deal well with days of diarrhea) and and how long it take before they must deal with the smell. The process requires no pee combined with solids and that can prove quite difficult for one of the genders I would guess. My point is, you will know when the time is required to change, you WILL know.
Now, my point here. Before the modern and approved methods of processing human waste, sailors simply dumped it overboard and that continues to this day as long as we are 3 miles or more offshore from the nearest land mass as per US maritime law is concerned, as for other country maritime laws for raw sewage dumping, well IDK. This was passed to prevent everyone from dumping raw sewage in area where humans pay and source food from. With that being said, the current human east processing (sewage) plants separate, collect, compress moisture from the solids, load and haul to facilities to incinerate the mass of solids, the remaining fluids are chemically enhanced to remove nitrates and toxins then dumped into our water streams to eventual be transferred to our ocean waters. Now, would any of us actually drink the water being released? Answer, not a chance so, dilution is the solution. When flooding occurs, these sewage plants overflow their containment and the excrement and effluent waters are dispersed all over our land hence the boil water directives, hence, one of the many reasons why humans should not play in flood waters. I worked offshore at the mouth of the Mississippi river post Katrina flood repairing, recovering and all the damaged facilities offshore. During this time I observed, much to the dismay & disgust of my dive crews, mass volumes of human waste float by for weeks upon weeks post flood. That was never spoken about in the news, wonder why? It was real and happens every time it floods in cities and personal septic ranks throughout or land.
Now, my point, the compost toilets are in no way deliver fully de-composed human waste to the point of a food fertilizer which requires 6 to 12 months or more with proper composting biological conditions. Disposing in excrement & coco coir in PLASTIC bags and covertly dumping in a trash receptacle in the night, far from your vessel while in port is, IMO a SHTY way of dealing with the mess. With that being said, it is legal, I guess, acceptable? Hummmm, IDK. I ass-u-me the real reason here for the composting toilets is more of a personal gain mentality and lack of service expense motivation. If anyone has experienced a failure of a vessels sewage processing equipment then having to correct the problem then you know to which I refer. Either way, that works for me, the composting toilets are a real cheap way of avoiding the cost of maintaining sewage equipment and the disposal & emptying of the tanks at a certified receiver of raw sewage from these vessels. You no longer pay to empty your vessels black tanks when now you are allowed to simply dump it in the trash can to be hauled away to a landfill to decompose in a plastic bag (which will never occur in a closed plastic bag) or travel legally travel 3 miles out (which is nothing because 3 miles out is nothing) or more and dump the very non-decomposed Coco Coir and excrement overboard, either way, neither of these methods are delivering to the environment a complete non-toxic product for her to consume. Like I said, I worked offshore for the past 30 plus years, living for months at a time, structures that house 100 +/- humans, vessels that stay offshore for long durations of time and they all dump thru the “Y” when 3 miles out or more. Those vessels operating within the 3 miles of shore simply travel out to the 3 mile line and open the “Y”. empty then return to work within the 3 mile range where dumping is NOT allowed. The rub for me is the perception that these alternative methods of dealing with a vey nasty by-product of humans is “green”, “safe” just rubs me the wrong way. We deal with the mess by best possible means to protect our environment and operate within the law and the fact that it, this “composting” toilet proves more simple and provides cost savings to the boat or camper owner is understood but please don’t give me that “green” speak. Kind of like organic foods, please, all organic food is contaminated with unacceptable chemicals and processes in one way or the other, it’s simply a way to market the same product at a higher price due to the fact that a producer is working a bit harder than a mass producer to keep their product as naturally organic as possible, produce less, work more, charge more, call it organically grown (whatever that means) and who monitors and insures that the entire growth and processing is truly organic, hummmm, all about the money IMO.
Wishing all calm seas, beautiful sunrises, sunsets & safe travels. I have enjoyed your videos and appreciate the efforts you invest in living the life.
Nikki Wynn – May 7, 2019
Bill, thanks so much for chiming in! I feel like we should add you to the authors list after all that. Thanks for taking the time to be an active part of our little world. Much appreciated!
Jody – August 11, 2017
We are getting ready to purchase our coconut coir and see that the Nature’s Footprint blocks that are shown on your website have this California Proposition 65 warning on Walmart’s site. “Warnings:California Proposition 65 Warning: WARNING: This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm.” We assumed this product was completely natural. Do you recommend any other brands that do not have this warning? We are looking forward to our first composting toilet and thought we might as well be as green as possible. Thanks for your great videos!!
Nikki Wynn – August 12, 2017
This is text directly from the company website: “Nature’s coconut coir is a 100-percent natural by-product of harvesting coconut. Coir consists of the coarse fibers extracted from the husk on the outer shell of a coconut.” I don’t think there is anything added but they may be required to put that label on because of the country of origin or about a million other reasons. California has insane labeling laws (good, but can be a little vague). The only way to truly know is to contact the company directly for more info. This is the coir we use and have purchased from local hydroponic stores as well but find that Amazon is usually the best pricing and we prefer the dehydrated bricks for storage.
Jessica – August 9, 2017
How long does one 5kg block normally last for you?
Curious Minion – August 9, 2017
About 5 months. This might help: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/compost-toilet-big-questions
Lisa Cantrell – October 15, 2015
When we first got the toilet we bought this coco coir and loved it except I had never really read (let’s be honest I hadn’t done it at all!) the directions and was trying to hack off chunks of dry coir each time we mixed it up. So, when it was nearing time to order more I happened upon some other brand that came in small blocks. I thought that would be the answer since I could use 3 or 4 and get the right amount. So far, so good. Until about 3 days after and I noticed tiny black bugs all over in the exhaust pipe, and when I opened it to lift out the urine jug they were all over and came out onto the walls. Gross!!! But, we were far from everything and I just dealt with it. I was determined to get some of this again and now have. However, to be fair to the other place-I was about to reorder cat litter that had been recommended by a friend and which we had started using, which is wheat based. When I went on Amazon I saw terrible reviews talking abut little black bugs…Since I started using them around the same time it IS possible that it wasn’t the coco coir. But I am not taking any chances. I am sticking with Coco Coir because I love my composting toilet so much I’ll wait to get back to the camper rather than use a public toilet.
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Composting Toilet, Off The Grid, Sailing
Composting Toilet, RV Gear
Composting Toilet, RV Gear, Water Solutions, Wild Camping