Sawdust Toilet - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-22-2015, 10:46 AM   #1
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Name: John
Trailer: Burro
New Mexico
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Sawdust Toilet

I bought a 13 foot Burro last year and since then I've been slowly restoring her. As many of you know, I had her painted to look like an African Elephant to raise awareness of the illegal ivory poaching trade. I took her to Yellowstone this past June and talked to a lot of people along the way! I pull her with a Subaru Forrester, I had her weighed and she weighs about 850 pounds (I removed the extremely heavy refrigerator) I find that a cooler works just as well for my needs and is much less weight.

At any rate, I am thinking of removing the two bunk beds on the hitch end and installing a saw dust toilet with a curtain. For those of you who don't know anything about sawdust toilets, you can google images of them. They look like regular toilet seats but underneath there is a lined 5 gallon bucket filled with sawdust. You do your business, use toilet paper as normal, then you reach in to a reservoir of clean sawdust (in a nearby container) and you scoop out a coffee can sized amount, and you simple sprinkle it on top of the waste, and close the lid. No odor. After a week or so you simply tie up the bag and dispose of it. As long as it is covered with sawdust it can be disposed in any garbage container and is less harmful on the environment than a baby's disposable diaper. I'll post pictures when I'm done. It's easy. Inexpensive, and effective and there is no odor! Trust me! I am going to fashion a sit down toilet on the door side of the trailer on the hitch end and hang a curtain for privacy. The only visible thing will be the toilet seat (on the bench) and underneath in the storage compartment I will cut a hole large enough to hold the 5 gallon waste bucket and build a door to conceal it.

This way, you don't need water to flush (you use hand sanitizer when finished) and you are not constrained to finding a restroom while camping in a crowded area. For any of you guys who travel with women, this is very much appreciated since they find it uncomfortable to go out in the woods.

I'll post pics when I'm done. Before and afters!
Here is a sample pic from the Google Images of Sawdust Toilets.
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Old 08-22-2015, 11:40 AM   #2
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Quote: "As long as it is covered with sawdust it can be disposed in any garbage container and is less harmful on the environment than a baby's disposable diaper."


I can't imagine who, other than someone with a sawdust pile they were looking for a use for, would come up with this idea. In more than 50 years of camping and RV'ing this is the first time I have ever heard of it. What is the source ?


Anyway, somehow I just don't think that it will stand up to many local, state and federal waste disposal regulations. You are tossing a bag of urine soaked sawdust, mixed with a weeks supply of human fecal material, into a public trashcan, where there is more than a fair chance that the bag will rupture and spill it's contents. Baby diapers are super absorbent, very strong, compact, and are specifically designed to hold the contents in a safe manner, not so with plastic trash begs.


If you have to dump it anyway, why not use a quality porta-potty, such as the Dometic Sea-Land, with a 5 gallon holding tank, that can be readily dumped into any Loo or even dry toilets in a remote campground.


The ladies I camp with are fine with porta-potties, but would be grossed out with the saw dust idea..... You might want to ask yours first/


BTW: Where will you get a supply of sawdust while camping, by cutting down more trees?????
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Old 08-22-2015, 11:51 AM   #3
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Good idea. I do a lot of camping, so I have used bucket toilets, but not installed in the trailer. I have also used dry peat moss, either commercially bought or collected in the bush. Very absorbent of moisture and odors.

Edit addition: My bucket toilet system usually uses a commercial, environmentally friendly (bio-degradable) double bag system (i.e.: Wag-Bag / Double Doodie). They have a bio-gel powder to absorb moisture and odor. The peat moss or sawdust is an addition to this, or if you run out of the store bought supplies.
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Old 08-22-2015, 11:54 AM   #4
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I've read of folks using clumping cat litter in their buckets as it encapsulates everything, is more available on the road, and I'm guessing since kitty urine/poo gets tossed out in the garbage can must not be a hazzard.
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Old 08-22-2015, 12:50 PM   #5
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Guess again. In our district, you are not allowed to put bio-degradable dog poo bags in the garbage.
And FYI "compostable" means that the material will reduce to soil in a few weeks. "Bio-degradable" means the bag may take up to 10 years to go away.
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Old 08-22-2015, 03:19 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Miller View Post
Quote: "As long as it is covered with sawdust it can be disposed in any garbage container and is less harmful on the environment than a baby's disposable diaper."


I can't imagine who, other than someone with a sawdust pile they were looking for a use for, would come up with this idea. In more than 50 years of camping and RV'ing this is the first time I have ever heard of it. What is the source ?


Anyway, somehow I just don't think that it will stand up to many local, state and federal waste disposal regulations. You are tossing a bag of urine soaked sawdust, mixed with a weeks supply of human fecal material, into a public trashcan, where there is more than a fair chance that the bag will rupture and spill it's contents. Baby diapers are super absorbent, very strong, compact, and are specifically designed to hold the contents in a safe manner, not so with plastic trash begs.


If you have to dump it anyway, why not use a quality porta-potty, such as the Dometic Sea-Land, with a 5 gallon holding tank, that can be readily dumped into any Loo or even dry toilets in a remote campground.


The ladies I camp with are fine with porta-potties, but would be grossed out with the saw dust idea..... You might want to ask yours first/


BTW: Where will you get a supply of sawdust while camping, by cutting down more trees?????
Bob You could always burn the used saw dust in the campfire. You just have to make sure no one is down wind of your fire.
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Old 08-22-2015, 04:10 PM   #7
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I don't know about burning, some of that stuff might still contain residual methane and be explosive. LOL
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Old 08-22-2015, 04:13 PM   #8
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Boy O Boy! I'm with Bob on this!

Few woman I know would want to view their mess... then dig around in a sawdust bucket, adding sawdust, all the time ensuring there was enough sawdust covering the mess!

And, there is no way that there wouldn't be odor! And where would a person find a source of sawdust?

Why not use a proven Porta-Potty? No viewing of the "mess". And a small bottle of chemical will take care of any odors for a week long camping trip.

Bill
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Old 08-22-2015, 04:41 PM   #9
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I'm just curious... if we're not supposed to dispose of doggie "bags" in public trash, where are they supposed to go?

My kitty's litter is scooped into a garbage bag, tied, and added to our trash.

Is this human waste/kitty litter procedure different/less environmentally sound?
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Old 08-22-2015, 06:17 PM   #10
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It's not that dramatic. In fact, it's perfectly legal and it's more biodegradable than a pamper diaper. There is absolutely NO ODOR. Sawdust is very light, you can buy a compressed bag at any lumber store for about $3. It lasts more than a year. No mess. No fuss. The urine desiccates and is absorbed by the sawdust. It's been used for decades as a toileting solution and it smells BETTER than a pamper diaper that you would toss in to a garbage can. It is not against any state or federal law. Just like throwing a baby's soiled diaper into a trash can is not against the law. It's biodegradable and does less harm to the environment than black water pumping.
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Old 08-22-2015, 06:29 PM   #11
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Sawdust Toilet!

All done! Did it in one day and one trip to Home Depot/Lowes. Bought a five gallon bucket. Bought some 1/4 ply, cut it to size, purchased a 5 pound bag of compressed sawdust for $1.89 (This will last for a year). Bought a standard toilet seat, hand sanitizer, and some toilet paper.

I still have to paint so excuse the scuff marks. Now I have an eco-friendly inside toilet that is completely odorless. Years ago I dated a woman who lived in a cabin the the remote foothills of New Mexico (in the Pecos). She had a sawdust toilet in her cabin. We used it for three years. It was in her home, in the master bathroom. There is absolutely no odor. You change the bag once a week or whenever you need to.

Here are the steps.
1. Use the restroom
2. Use toilet paper as you normally would
3. Reach in to the CLEAN sawdust bin next to the toilet and scoop up a coffee can full of clean, dry sawdust
4. Cover the waste.
5. Close the lid of the toilet
6. Wash your hands
7. Done. No water. Except for hand washing or you can use hand sanitizer instead.

Here are pictures. Remember, I still need to paint and tidy up but it's installed and ready for use! People in big cities use these inside their apartments and condos if they need an extra toilet for their family. Don't knock it till you try it.
Disposing of the waste is easy and legal. It's actually more eco friendly than a pamper's diaper that has a plastic liner. It saves hundreds of gallons of water that can be used for better purposes anyway!

The toilet seat is mounted on a piece of plywood that lifts off of the surface to the bucket underneath can be lifted straight up and out. Alternatively, you can build a door that opens under the base cabinet but then you'd have to cut in to the material. I just utilized a spot that was access for storage. It's still accessible and this toilet can EASILY be removed. Simply remove the bucket underneath and replace the toilet seat top with any other hard covering.
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Old 08-22-2015, 06:31 PM   #12
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Gee whiz (HAHA I MADE A PUN) not all women get the vapors from basic body functions.

Depending on context this does not seem unreasonable to me.
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Old 08-22-2015, 07:00 PM   #13
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So, when the park ranger gets on my case about dumping human waste into the trash dumpster I just tell him that John Colangelo said that it legal and OK? Again, real references are what are needed.


A baby's diaper is an engineered and approved method for disposal of small amounts of human waste in a sealed package, a trash bag full of poop and sawdust just doesn't meet that criteria.


And what reference is there for your claim: "People in big cities use these inside their apartments and condos if they need an extra toilet for their family."
I've lived in "Big Cities" for most of my life and have never heard of anyone doing this. A Porta-Potty? Yes, but not this system.


Do you have some real references for this method of human waste disposal, and how is it even equal to, much less better than, a conventional porta-potty such as the Dometic Sea-Land unit?


This might fly in the boonies of New Mexico, but I am sure it will be frowned upon in any of the local, state and National Parks.
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Old 08-22-2015, 07:30 PM   #14
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A simple google search asking " can I place human waste in the trash" comes up with a resounding NO in Minnesota! The exception is baby diapers but other that if it is not explicitly illegal in your district it is viewed as irresponsible. Sawdust covers fecal material does not seem to meet the criteria of "treated waste". Rainwater runoff is a huge concern. I don't doubt while the garbage bag is in your possession it will not get punctured or ripped but you have no control over what happens once you toss it in the campground garbage can.
Please don't kill the messenger, do your own search.
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