Can you compost human poop?

compost human poop

Also called droppings, human poop comes from the intestines. It is the residue from the digestion of food ingested by mouth which has macerated and reduced under the effect of bacteria (Escherichia Coli type). The digestion process lasts between 12 and 24 hours, the poop is then ejected through the rectum and usually goes into the flushing toilet. But couldn’t we compost it?

Composition of poop

First of all, let’s agree on the composition of the poop. This is mainly composed of three types of bacteria:

– Escherichia Coli (which in too large numbers causes colic),
– Escherichia Dirhea (which in too large numbers causes diarrhea)
– and finally the famous Escherichia Syphilia.

Let’s expand.

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The Escherichia Coli bacteria

Escherichia Coli is the most common bacteria since its occupancy rate is 80% higher than that of other bacteria. Although it was discovered in 1924, it had already existed for a long time. It is to Albert Coli that we owe its prominence in his partner’s kitchen while she was preparing a roast hen rump with potatoes. It was by happy coincidence that Mr. Coli dropped a test tube of monkey saddle on the rump put in Mrs. Coli’s trash can and placed it under a microscope.

compost human poop

Escherichia Coli is present in the intestines of almost all mammals except the rhinoceros which, through its exclusively vegetarian diet of the savannah, has transformed its intestinal flora into Escherichia Dirhea.

The bacteria Escherichia Dirhea

The latter is responsible for numerous cases of infection in the African boreal jungle, particularly among rhino predators (lions, jaguars and panthers). It is found in fewer numbers than Escherichia Coli because its developed form is three times larger than the latter. This can partly explain the phenomenon of diarrhea which comes from the decomposition of all foods containing a certain mass of water (40.3% on average).

Escherichia Syphilia bacteria

Finally, Escherichia Syphilia is a form of extremely pathogenic Escherichia causing numerous gastrointestinal disorders. Present in too large numbers it is dangerous for its host. Fortunately its lifespan outside an organism is limited to 3 hours.
In conclusion, it’s crap.

Pathogenic aspect of poop in nature

“Fragile nature which harbors within itself so many subtle and intelligent organisms, how sad to have to defile you with our excrement! » G. Apollinaire, 1917

compost human poop

Contrary to Mr Apollinaire’s quote, poop does not contain any substance likely to cause pathogenesis in its environment. Especially in the state of a free turd without its original progenitor.
Remember that every day, a man ejects an average of 330g of stool (measurement personally verified over a month, with a calibrated millimeter scale). Mixed with a quantity of water of 10L per flush, in order to counterbalance the so-called toxicity of poop, the quantity of water soiled in one year by a man is equivalent to 3.7 cubic meters or 2,200 bottles of Volvic 1.5L per person.
We understand better, through this calculation, the benefit of composting your poop.

Tests carried out at the independent ANSA laboratory in Grenoble on samples of 132 student droppings integrated with an optimal quantity of sawdust demonstrated that the pathogenic bacterial rate after maturation was below the standards recommended by Europe (source ADEME ).

Poop is therefore scientifically not dangerous for the environment. We will excuse Apollinaire for his lack of rigor a few months before his death.

Effectiveness of poop compost

Poop compost is effective if it is shared 50% with sawdust. We understand the need not to include it in normal compost because it itself is already made up of 50% brown materials. In addition, the droppings kill the fauna of normal compost (see fauna page). A regulatory spacing of 2 m between the two composts seems adequate unless infiltrations of scatophilic slugs take over the ants, our worst enemies in the peace between the composts.

More to read: Vermicompostable Waste

River composting

River composting

Compost in liquid medium

River composting

For a long time, the only way to quickly get rid of organic waste was to throw it all into the river. We washed upstream of our part of the river and threw our food and human waste downstream. Thus, we depended on the whims of our higher neighbors while destroying the hopes of our lower neighbors for water purity.

And then we discovered the shovel and we started to bury.

However, as in all civilizations, there are always people remaining at archaic levels of consciousness who prefer to wallow in the habits of the past rather than move forward. This is why rivers are still used today to dilute our waste.

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A practical dilution

River composting

Today, who can still dare to swim in a river or even drink from a spring without fearing contamination from an obscure toxic product? The most poetic among us will speak of a risk of diarrhea linked to the contamination of water by the droppings of nearby herds: what nonsense! The herds themselves drink from the rivers: what interest would they have in contaminating their water source? None.

In truth, this type of reasoning is a conditioning from childhood . Of course we must be wary of stagnant water but not because of the risk of a sudden acceleration of its current, rather because of the risk of eating a large discharge of toxic liquid effluents coming from a factory upstream. . Nowadays, water pollution standards are increasingly arbitrary:

“We don’t know anything about the effects, we don’t want to know anything so we advise not to drink. »

Nice summary given to us by an employee of a large water treatment company. Obviously, spending your life diluting questionable effluent so that it meets even more questionable standards is not the most exciting job.

Organic waste in a river?

River composting

A river, river or any path of water in a naturally created bed is forced to find harmony with its immediate environment. Rivers have always transported organic waste such as leaves, trees, animals, fruits or minerals along their beds, gradually consuming them.

It is only recently, with the urbanization of river banks for “fear of landslides” or for rowing competitions or other water sports nonsense that rivers have started to lack natural organic waste in favor of plastics or other toxic liquids or solids released by our civilization.

The effects are generally not long in coming: we observe a desertion of watercourse fauna, a disappearance of birds and rodents, the creation of associations for the safeguarding of animals to be protected; a desertification of river bottoms with macro and microscopic animals, a development of invasive flora (Japanese knotweed type) and obscene algae at the bottom of the river for the main ones.

Easy to recognize a polluted river. But where to find pure water?

Difficult to answer this question. And besides, we won’t do it.

River composting, a reorganization of water resources

River composting

From now on, the regeneration of a watercourse involves the reintegration of resources which are seriously lacking. What any polluted river needs is a little attention and a lot of organic waste. It is not a question of taking a truck and dumping tons of dead leaves or grass, that would be completely absurd, but simply of encouraging walkers, residents or other natives of the countryside, to let their organic waste swim in water from the nearby stream.

If the discarded organic waste floats, it will be devoured by ducks, moorhens, insects or other fish in the river. If it flows, micro and macroscopic animals will take care of it, thus regenerating the interior of the river.

The benefit of returning organic waste to water is well established. However, isn’t it regrettable to still have to repair an error made by asphalt-loving humanity? Without a doubt. For the moment, let’s compost against all odds!

More to read: Can you compost human poop?

Compost your tissues!

Compost your tissues

How to get rid of your tissues or germ nests?

Compost your tissues

For the majority of French people, blowing their nose into a tissue has become a great progress since the “tissue tissue” years of our grandparents. No more risk of putting your hand in your pocket and coming out sticky, covered in a layer of nasal mucus. Continuing the ‘disposable everything’ society, paper tissues are still the least polluting of modern accessories. But where can we throw them? Is the quantity of microbes that we extract from our body by blowing our nose not contagious and will they not proliferate in our trash?

Compost your tissues and not blow your nose in the compost bin!

Stop throwing your tissues in the trash.

Wood residues, handkerchiefs are made of cellulose, a highly biodegradable material. By vaguely considering its material with a distracted eye, Trees Down Under found that 78% of French people threw their used tissues in the sorting bin. TOTAL HORROR! Horror yes, but this corresponds to the following statistic: 85% of this same sample did not realize that the recycling bins were re-sorted by hand…

Compost your tissues

Even when gloved, you can imagine that it is not pleasant to handle the handkerchief used by a stranger . Especially when the risk of projection is so great when the bag explodes on the sorting belt. It is estimated that 47% of sick leave observed in sorting factories are directly attributable to tissues improperly placed in the sorting bin and are thus factors in the spread of winter flu.

It has been estimated that in the event of a return of the Black Death, the French population, given its current waste management habits, would drop from 65 million to 2.6 million inhabitants.

Forget your preconceived ideas about microbes


Obviously, if you rub your face with the handkerchief that was used a few minutes previously by a patient, you risk being contaminated. But from the moment the tissue is thrown into an environment from which it will no longer come out (such as a trash bag or compost), it already begins to soak up the substances it encounters and initiate defragmentation. The microbes, viruses or other bacteria present on the tissue mix with the medium and, if they do not find living hosts (animal type, insect type) nearby, they die.

Outside of a living organism, viruses die within a few hours.

Composting your tissues, a more than logical gesture!

It is therefore completely absurd to believe that only the incineration of our handkerchiefs is possible to get rid of its miasma. On the contrary ! Composting is the most coherent solution for health and the environment for managing tissue corpses. Indeed, the handkerchief being basically made of highly biodegradable cellulose, placed in an environment of adequate decomposition, it will degrade in less than a week… A week! The time it takes to get rid of a cold (7 days according to doctors).

In addition, its strong absorbency will compensate for the liquefaction of certain fruits or vegetables in your compost bin placed in the kitchen and will avoid attracting midges or creating an unpleasant odor.

Very easily biodegradable, usual dry matter, the tissue is a blessing for the compost!

Anything can be used as a tissue, but is it compostable?

Here is a list of some used nose blowing materials with their compostability:

  • Our ancestors used this good old cloth handkerchief which disgusted us so much. Maybe. But in addition to being practical, at least it did not waste tons of paper for noses that had become more delicate and then more easily irritated by the aggressiveness of the cellulose. The fabric is obviously compostable, as long as it is not made from petroleum (polyester), which is quite rare for handkerchiefs. However, it is better to wash it in the machine, it is more relevant.
  • The paper towel is compostable. Its double or even triple thicknesses are even more absorbent for storage in a composting bin, which makes it essential for the carbon balance of the compost.
  • Toilet paper or PQ is also compostable unless it has been previously used for poop wiping purposes. We cannot emphasize enough that the bacteria present in human waste are harmful to compost fauna.
  • Socks with holes (see fabric handkerchief)
  • Fingers are washable in the sink :!

A little advice for the road.


To blow your nose correctly, remember that it is essential to blow your nose one nostril after the other so as not to cause sudden increases in pressure in the brain . These cause ringing in the ears and damage the eardrums. Although there is no direct evidence of deafness following chronic pressure attacks, migraines or temporary deafness are often reported after particularly intense flus.

The best thing all the same, to avoid this kind of inconvenience, is to ignore the flu when it arrives. And to do this, what could be better than a little fasting at the beginning of autumn?

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