Disposing of Human Waste (Guest Post by Brent MacAloney)

This is a guest post by Brent MacAloney. You can visit his blog here: Brents Travels. He has traveled in a Prius for extended periods but is currently in a truck camper, and is very good with wiring and electrical stuff (something I can’t help you with). I thought this post was rather eye opening and educational, with a touch of humor thrown in for good measure, and asked if I could share it with you.

The subject of vandwelling and human waste disposal has been covered in many places, many times, and I have posted on the subject before on my blog Brents Travels.

What is different this time is that I have updates (new to me information) that I wish to pass on to you.

In the first picture above many will recognize the pit toilet house that the Federal Government uses at many of its campgrounds and trailheads.  Nothing new here.

The sign above that is embedded in the wall and explaining that you shouldn’t throw objects in the toilet, has been in every one of the pit toilets I’ve ever been in for years.

What is new is the added signage in the picture above on the left.

Yes, that is an instruction sheet on how to use the toilet.  I can only guess that this was necessary because of the many foreign cultures that now visit our Nation’s Treasures.

I forgot to capture one sign that read; Do Not Dump Chemical Toilet Waste in This Toilet. (Or something to that effect). The sign went on to explain how the chemicals in the port-a-potty destroys the pit toilet chemical process.  It also stated that enzymes are added to break down the waste and the chemicals in port-a-potties stops that process.

Another sign I’ve seen in these pit toilets is Close The Lid When Done as this helps the process of breaking down the waste and also reduces the smell.

There is a whole education in these pit toilets, but not all have the extra signage.

I would guess that most vandwellers prefer flush toilets.  The month I spent in Utah this year, I was happy to use the flush toilets at visitor centers and ranger stations.  I was also fine with using the government maintained pit toilets in the first picture above, although cold to use that time of year, they don’t smell if they are maintained.

Many times I’m dispersed camping and miles from a toilet so I bag or dig a cat hole for my solid waste.  Oh, there has been controversy about such things as bagging.  Below we finally have acceptance of sorts.


I’m not going to take you through the Leave No Trace Principles as I have written about this before on my blog Brents Travels.  Here I focus on solid human waste disposal as a vandweller.

I got this brochure in the rack at a national site.

I carry a collapsible stainless steel trowel in my biker backpack to dig cat holes.  It’s acceptable practice for hikers and campers away from toilets.

Enter the bagged human waste disposal receptacle!

Yes, fellow vandwellers we that bag our human waste have formal acceptance of our practice.  This here human waste disposal receptacle was at the trailhead in the Needles section of Canyonlands National Park.

I can only assume that they want you to bag your human waste or you have a choice of cat hole or bag.

Finally, our government has weighed in on bagging of human waste and have made a receptacle for us.

Well, our society bags dog poo and puts it in the trash. Diapers, baby, and adult go in the trash too. It’s an acceptable practice, but obviously not preferred.

This trailhead requires only small vehicles to get there and there is no way to get a composting toilet there and maintain it.  This is a logical solution also as there is little to no dirt on this trail to dig your 6-8” hole, people have to go when nature calls so there needs to be a solution.

Bagging human waste requires some common sense too.  The bagged human waste systems that are meant to accumulate waste over a period of days are cumbersome.  The bags are big! I use small bags sized for a single use.  I twist twice and roll the bag and place in a 1 quart Ziploc bag.  I can put a few in the 1-quart bag.

Then I dispose of the Ziploc bag.

Why this method you ask?  Recycling!

Some places have employees separate trash to recycle. Homeless rummage through trash for cans and bottles to recycle for money. Many trash companies have households combine recycle and trash and separate later.  In fact, there are centers where trash is dumped and humans assist conveyors to separate trash from recycling.  Think about this.  You don’t need your Human waste bag opening up.  If it’s sealed in a quality Ziploc bag there is very little chance of it opening.  This is my logic.

Back to the pit toilet signage.  Apparently, it’s necessary as I still see cans and other items tossed in with the mix.

Therefore, there must be people that stand on the seat to go too.

Brent

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3 responses to “Disposing of Human Waste (Guest Post by Brent MacAloney)

  1. Pingback: Horseshoe Bend is Changing, & Tourism Overload in Our National Parks | A Nomad for Nature·

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