Warning: this blogpost will be a shit story!
It was seven years ago, when I first saw an eco-toilet. On Ibiza. This toilet didn’t use any water to flush the poop away to a place unknown. Instead, it stayed there, in a deep hole and we used sawdust to “flush”. The poop, toilet-paper and sawdust stayed there for around 3 months. Once full, the toilet seat was shifted to the next seat, again with a deep hole below it.
We left our donations, as we called it, for 3 months and after these months we shovelled it into a wheelbarrow and there was nothing left, but compost. Perfect power to grow plants in the garden. At that time Dorus and I stayed in Casita Verde, an ecological centre and community on Ibiza, where eco-toilets were business as usual.
Pile of shit
The first times I despised eco-toilets. I hated the fact I couldn’t use water to flush my poop away, far away, so I didn’t have to deal with it all. I found it gross to have this pile of shit below me. Especially as we shared the toilets, there were two, with around eight people at that time, depending how many people where living in Casita Verde. Sometimes it could be over 10 people.
The constructions though, were beautifully done, out of mud bricks, beer cans, and decorated with mosaic tiles. A hippyish, joyful atmosphere. After a while I got accustomed to using the eco-toilet, but I found it a complete different story if only the two of us could use the toilet and not that many people.
My reluctant mind started to shift when I saw “the product” that came out of the shit hole: beautiful and smell-free earth. I never thought about this before. Of course, living in a city for years, makes you somehow disconnected from these interesting eco processes. In that sense I was rather clueless. I just never thought about poop this way.
However, after some months living in Casita Verde, I was kind of done with it. We got the opportunity to rent a studio with a magical sea-view and we were sold. I was thrilled by the fact to have my own bathroom again — and to make myself a coffee in the morning without having to talk with other people, but that will be another story 😉 It felt such a luxury and I couldn’t be happier. A new kind of appreciation was born!
But our “new”, conventional toilet appeared to be a drama. After I went to the toilet the first morning, it got blocked, and the toilet almost overflowed. It happened quite some times and it was sooo annoying. According to Dorus, the toilet tubes of our apartment weren’t installed the proper way. One time my sister visited us during her holiday and everyday the toilet got blocked and it was a lot of work each morning to flush it clean. After a while we knew exactly what to do when it got messy again and we became true loo experts.
Five years later, in Casita Verde, we moved into the eco wagon, a tiny pallet home on wheels, including bathroom, constructed by Dorus. To have our own compost toilet was a big difference and right from the start it felt natural and normal. The only downside was the size of the wooden box. It was too big and not so easy to remove in order to let the closed box sit and rest in the garden.
Cycling with shit buckets
On Mallorca I experienced again another type of toilet: chemical, like in a camper. Luckily it was only for a short time, until Dorus made an outside bathroom from pallet wood on the land where we lived last year. This time we used a plastic bucket of around 60 litres to store the poop. It worked quite well. With more than sufficient “flush” — we used small dried leaves from the garden — odours hardly did have a chance. But what to do with these full buckets?
Well, just take them on the bike!
Every time Dorus took a full bucket on the bicycle in a carriage — and heavy that is! — eight kilometres away, to make our own hot compost on our small finca.
The first time I burst into laughter and thought we were completely nuts to cycle with our own shit — the bakery in the village was on the way. Dorus was happy to cycle with a full bucket each time.
It’s over now, no more cycling with shit buckets, as we recently moved to our small finca and empty the bucket into the hot compost, bring it into our own garden, into the natural cycle. See below for a little video!
What was once “only” shit from the food I ate, has become the nourishment for the land where we will grow our food; closing the loop.
Wanna know more? Our upcoming “hot compost” and “compost toilet” workshops are held near Algaida, in Mallorca, on the 20th and 27th of February. All information you find here: www.greengorillas.eco
Published previously as blogpost on www.greengorillas.eco.