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C&RT say don't empty your compost toilet in our bins.


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C&RT Boaters Update 12/2/21

 

Choose your loo

As a boater you’ll have come across others on the water who dispose of their waste differently. There’ll be those using cassette toilets (Elsans), some with pump out systems and some with the relatively new incinerating toilets. Increasingly common though are composting toilets.  It’s the last of these that this article concentrates on.

 

What and how

The big difference with boat borne composting systems is what goes in to the mix – human waste. Most models, if not all, have two openings. One for solids and the other for liquid.

Once you’ve made your deposit in the ‘solids’ compost bank, microorganisms get to work helping it decompose. Some designs recommend the addition of a carbon additive. This can be in the form of sawdust (pet bedding), peat moss or coconut coir to name a few.

There are a few reasons for this; the air pockets it creates helps with aerobic decomposition, it improves the carbon to nitrogen ratio (which is important if you plan to put your compost to work) and, perhaps most importantly if you’ve a sensitive nose, it reduces odour.

On that subject, and possibly the most asked question, is whether there’s a stink. Anyone who’s been to a festival that’s used composting toilets would be forgiven for thinking that the smell would drive you off the boat. That’s not the case with one you’d install on your boat though. Due to a tiny fan (like the one in a computer) air is always being drawn out of the ‘solids’ bank and vented outside the boat.

Depending on your, erm, frequency of use it’s difficult to say just how often you’ll have to empty the ‘solids’ bank. It is, however, highly likely that your waste won’t be garden-ready. What you’ll need to do is move it to a second location (such as your boat roof or warm engine bay – mesophiles, the teeny tiny organisms that do the composting, are a bit like Goldilocks – they like it warm but not too cold or hot) and regularly aerate it until it reaches its ideal humus state.

 

Do remember though, if you can’t keep it stored until it’s ready to use, it will still need to be disposed of in an appropriate way – for example a suitable composting site away from the canal. It should not be put in our bins – and absolutely must not be disposed of on or near the towpaths. Liquid waste can be emptied down an Elsan point.

 

For completeness here are a few simple dos and don’ts for everyone using onboard toilet facilities. To avoid blockages and problems, no matter what type of toilet system you use, you need to remember just a couple of simple rules.

  • If you haven’t eaten it or drunk it, it doesn’t go into the toilet. 
  • Only use a small quantity of toilet paper, not half a rainforest! 
  • Only use smallest amount of chemical recommended, and try and use a 'green' chemical if you can (in pump out/cassette toilets).
  • The longer the better! Solid waste can take up to 12 months to compost. If you can’t store it for long enough, bin it at a suitable composting site away from the canal.
  • Never pour urine into the canal nor at other random locations along the canal – it may contain undigested medicines such as antibiotics!
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14 minutes ago, Loddon said:

Oh dear !

 

 

It looks as if they have finally been told by Biffa the same as the Marinas have been told. "The emptying of Composting Toilet Waste into bins contravenes the 'Transfer of Waste' legislation". 

Don't accept it in your bins.

 

I have to list what goes into our Biffa bin and if they find anything that they have not agreed to there are big fines.

 

 

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Makes no odds to me I will continue putting it on the compost heap. 

Does go to show that CRT do read the forums though so why don't they take notice of load of boaters complaining about the system falling to pieces?

Edited by peterboat
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27 minutes ago, peterboat said:

Makes no odds to me I will continue putting it on the compost heap. 

Does go to show that CRT do read the forums though so why don't they take notice of load of boaters complaining about the system falling to pieces?

 

Indeed, no one questions that you are doing it 'right', but not many have your land-based facilities.

 

Who was it, just a couple of days ago, who said they'd put the liquid in the hedge bottom and the part-composted solids in the bin ?

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I wonder where these suitable composting sites as mentioned by the scientific editor (aka Damien)  are to be found, not seen any round here, and as for incubating my own sh*t on the roof of my boat, ffs!

Mesophiles will be dormant in winter, and they won't be happy at the height of summer, that's strictly for the thermophiles. 

You're going to be in trouble if you use biodegradable bags, those thin green things from Tesco may be OK for taking a few veg trimmings to the compost heap, but imagine the scenario when you lift your biodegradable black bag off the roof to transfer your compost to the sanitation. 

"please don't dump waste in the canal or on towpath...." 

No please about it, it should be an instruction not a request. 

I think this London Mooring strategy could be piloting the new waste disposal facilities right now, what are they waiting for, or have they made the announcement before working out how it will actually work.I mean will it be Red Bins filled to the brim with black bin liners and poo? That will be worse to handle than the big Biffa Bins with mixed waste including some black bin liners. 

 

Edited by LadyG
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Almost everyone who says anything about disposal of solids mentions double bagging and binning. Apart of course from the few who have a facility to do the composting on their own land. 

In their defence the disposal of nappies will be referred to but I don't think there are that many nappy using babies on boats.

 

Haggis

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50 minutes ago, haggis said:

Almost everyone who says anything about disposal of solids mentions double bagging and binning.

 

That was CRT's official advice until this evening in this newsletter!

 

 

Here's the page on the wayback machine:

 

http://web.archive.org/web/20190825114449/https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/enjoy-the-waterways/boating/boating-blogs-and-features/boating-team/game-of-thrones-boat-toilet-waste-disposal

It ain’t what you poo it’s the way that you dispose of it

As the waste from a composting toilet may not have enough time to decompose sufficiently on board the boat before it needs emptying, this waste will still need to be disposed at an Elsan/sanitary station. With the increasing popularity of composting toilets, we are hoping to pilot a facility for solid waste from composting loos as part of the London Mooring Strategy but in the meantime liquids go into the Elsan unit and solids should be bagged in a nappy bag and placed in the domestic waste bins. Please don’t dump liquid and solid waste on the towpath or into the water, knowing that it hasn’t composted properly. 

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4 minutes ago, TheBiscuits said:

That was CRT's official advice until this evening in this newsletter!

 

 

Yes, its taken them a long time to actually implement what they have no doubt be told many many times, maybe being a big monolith like a supertanker means they can only turn slowly, whilst an individual, or a small company is like a speedboat and can react and change direction instantly.

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Yes, I spotted that as well in the newsletter, but I wonder if that is the actual official word on the matter or the ill-informed verbiage of Damien from marketing? (half-brother to Sharon from Facebook) The usual filter I use is to count the number of exclamation marks and treat over-use in the same way I'd respond to someone saying 'You'll like this one, it's really funny' when they have previous for poor story-telling skills.

 

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4 minutes ago, The Happy Nomad said:

Given it will be virtually impossible to enforce I wonder how many poo composters will adhere anyway?

 

I would wager not many.

I suspect you are right.  However if Alan De E further back in the thread (oh how I miss post numbers) is correct and CRT are fined heavily, boaters can't in all honesty then complain about money being wasted by CRT.

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59 minutes ago, Jerra said:

I suspect you are right.  However if Alan De E further back in the thread (oh how I miss post numbers) is correct and CRT are fined heavily, boaters can't in all honesty then complain about money being wasted by CRT.

No, but they could complain about the lack of notice. Imagine if all the elsan points were permanently closed at 7:15pm this evening without any warning.

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1 hour ago, Jerra said:

I suspect you are right.  However if Alan De E further back in the thread (oh how I miss post numbers) is correct and CRT are fined heavily, boaters can't in all honesty then complain about money being wasted by CRT.

 

Each year I have to renew my declaration about the 'bin contents'

There are various generic groups, the one I use is 'domestic waste' and then there are sub-sections detailing what domestic waste is allowed to contain.

 

I once had some plasterboard (small amount) that I had put into the bin, the driver saw it and suggested I remove it from the bin before he tipped it (I look after him at Christmas !) as once it was in the lorry, he;d have to report it, I'd be fined and would have to pay for the lorry to be tipped and the load sorted.

 

Human or animal feces cannot be put in the same bin as non-hazardous waste :

 

Human and animal feces/urine are bio-hazardous waste, and sanitizing a home or business that has been exposed to these materials requires expert help. ... If not treated professionally, human and animal feces/urine—and other body fluids like blood and vomit can cause diseases and spread viruses.

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Could CRT introduce compost facilities? I'm not up on these but presume they would be just a compost 'heap' ?  CRT haven't got to grips with recycling at most sites yet so this might be asking a bit too much...

 

Also, assume Dog waste can be put into the bins (I can't believe owners don't do this)- are they not similar in their environmental impact?

Edited by robtheplod
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While we are locked away on the other side of the world we have watched  lots of vlogs on this subject and were contemplating going down this path ourselves. One of the vloggers stated that CRT had even given them instructions  how to package their poo to dispose of correctly. Obviously there is conflicting information out there having read the CRT posting this morning.

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1 hour ago, doratheexplorer said:

So what are the Foxes Afloat going to do now?  As continuous cruisers, they can't compost properly, and they have made a big play of going over to a composting toilet.  Are they gonna rip it out and put in a Thetford?

No, dont mention them again, they will get ideas for their next 3 logs, sorry, Vlogs,, and try to shut the forum again.

 

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I think CRT were being reasonable in their suggestion to double bag and use the bins, but it seems Biffa et al have got wind of how this doesn't fit with their waste regulations.

As for most people the composting toilets are just an expensive form of buckit-and-chuckit then the only viable alternative is to use the Elsan points to tip your shit, after removing it from the plastic bags of course and not using much, if any, sawdust.

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1 hour ago, doratheexplorer said:

So what are the Foxes Afloat going to do now?  As continuous cruisers, they can't compost properly, and they have made a big play of going over to a composting toilet.  Are they gonna rip it out and put in a Thetford?

Start a new thread. What to do with fox poo.?

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Catsan kitty litter will de-hydrate very successfully if my cat is following protocols, unfortunately there is no means of separating wee from poop, so it all needs to get chucked out every week or so. I have explained about hedge backs, but to no avail.

I assume the Elsan will cope with the granules, which are smaller than sweetcorn and may well end up in the gravel at sewage farms.

I assume all composters without gardens will have to tip it in the Elsan and add water, hmmmm, is that an established practice or a new idea?

PS I am still trying to work out what viable system the CRT could use for the London Boaters (Alternative Poop Disposal Strategy 2022). I suspect they would be grateful for viable suggestions, legal disposal methods only.  I can't think of one, and of course with marinas now refusing to take the stuff, there eill be extra demand from these marina based Pseudo-Compoopsters.

 

Edited by LadyG
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8 hours ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

Each year I have to renew my declaration about the 'bin contents'

There are various generic groups, the one I use is 'domestic waste' and then there are sub-sections detailing what domestic waste is allowed to contain.

 

I once had some plasterboard (small amount) that I had put into the bin, the driver saw it and suggested I remove it from the bin before he tipped it (I look after him at Christmas !) as once it was in the lorry, he;d have to report it, I'd be fined and would have to pay for the lorry to be tipped and the load sorted.

 

Human or animal feces cannot be put in the same bin as non-hazardous waste :

 

Human and animal feces/urine are bio-hazardous waste, and sanitizing a home or business that has been exposed to these materials requires expert help. ... If not treated professionally, human and animal feces/urine—and other body fluids like blood and vomit can cause diseases and spread viruses.

Are the above quotes from an American document?  

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