Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Book Review: The Humanure Handbook

Book Review:  The Humanure Handbook: A Guide to Composting Human Manure
Author: Joseph C. Jenkins
Published Date: Sep 6, 2005

  "The world is divided into two categories of  people: those who shit in their drinking water supplies and those who who don't.  We in the western world are in the former class. We defecate into water, usually purified drinking water. After polluting the water with our excrement, we flush the polluted water "away," meaning we probably don't know where it goes. nor do we care."

  So how does it feel to part of a society with the worst waste management skills since pre-history's nomadic tribes?  It feels expensive.  Americans spend a huge amount of resources piping clean water into porcelain portals in almost every residence polluting gallons of water per person, per day, and then trying to purify that water again (or discharging it into the sea).  Even nomadic tribes could ostensibly be given marks above us since dropping trow wherever you happen to be standing is at least cheap.

  If you are open to considering the alternatives to our current waste disposal system, the Humanure Handbook will make a very strong argument for going the composting route.  There is a bit of technical science for the lay reader but it's couched in humor and pictures that should help anyone with interest understand how thermophilic composting works.

  If you are considering alternative toilets but are scared of handling or smelling feces, then please read this book.  The author has been composting humanure for over 20 years and gives you a lot of confidence and quite a bit of ammo to defend the composting toilet against detractors and your own self-doubts. 

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