Humanure is a term coined by Joseph Jenkins to discuss the composting of human feces. His The Humanure Handbook (1994) advocates the use of this organic soil amendment, provided certain safety precautions are followed.
A summary of the method is as follows:
- Use sawdust to bury manure. Sawdust provides carbon and this balances the nitrogen in the feces. A good carbon-nitrogen balance is needed for composting. The Sawdust also keeps bad smells in and keeps flies away.
- Do not separate urine and feces, as the urine provides moisture the microorganisms need.
- As well as adding the buckets from the toilet to the compost heap, throw on chunky materials like straw. This traps air pockets in the compost heap.
- Optionally, skewer the compost heap with sticks or pipes to provide more aeration.
- Let it sit for a year before using on plants
Humanure is not traditional sewage that has been processed by sewage treatment facilities, which may include waste from industrial and other sources; rather, it is the combination of feces and urine with paper and additional carbon material. Humanure is also different from night soil, which is raw human refuse spread on crops.