Can Human Waste Be Used As Compost?

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Quick Answer: Can Human Waste Be Used As Compost?

Yes, human waste may be used as compost but requires a dedicated compost system because it may harbor harmful pathogens and diseases. A standard home composter may not heat up well to kill the harmful pathogens. Also, homemade humanure systems are rarely approved by the local sanitation authorities. Avoid using human waste compost as fertilizer for edible plants and fruits.

This guide focuses on how human waste can be used as compost.

Let us learn more about human waste composting!

Can Human Waste Be Used As Compost?

Yes, human waste can be used as compost but with special care and safety guidelines because of the harmful bacteria and pathogens. Also, it requires extremely high temperatures for extended lengths of time to kill these pathogens. The homemade humanure systems are not easily approved by the sanitation department.

A standard home compost bin may not be sufficient. It requires a dedicated composter that must have adequate ventilation, high temperatures, and the waste must not leach out from the bottom or sides. A composting toilet may also be used.

You may use 3% lime to total waste volume to fasten the decomposition process. Do not put composted human waste on edible plants as there may be a chance of dangerous bacteria.

Use human waste compost only on non-edile plants.

Alternatively, you may use commercial composting facilities that have the heat to process the human waste at high temperatures for a long period.

How To Compost Human Waste With Ease?

Human waste can be composted in an isolated compost bin as it poses a threat to public health due to the presence of pathogens. They need a high temperature to kill harmful pathogens.

The different steps in composting human waste are

  • Prepare the compost bin– Fill the bottom of the compost bin with organic materials, including grass, leaves, weeds, hay, straw, or animal manures to create a thick layer between humanure and the soil.
  • Transfer the human fecal matter– Collect the human fecal material using composting toilets or homemade toilets. Deposit them in the center of the bin and sprinkled with cover materials, including weeds, sawdust, leaves, grasses, hay, straw, scrap woolen, or cotton materials. 
  • Maintain the compost bin– The compost should always have the moisture consistency of the wrung-out sponge. Cover the bin to prevent the odor. Rotate the composters occasionally to provide the required conditions.

How Long Does It Take For Human Waste To Compost?

The time taken for human waste to compost may vary between 20 days to months depending on the type of composting and the nature of the compost pile. Hot composting will decompose human waste faster.

The cold composting will be slow and will take months to decompose completely. One disadvantage of the process is that it will not destroy the pathogens in the fecal matter.

Hot composting may take about 20 days to compost the human waste. It will kill the pathogens and eggs in fecal matter.

Also, urine should not get into worm compost as the ammonia in the urine may kill the worms.

Is It Safe To Use Human Waste Compost?

Human waste compost is considered unsafe for use around vegetables, berries, fruit trees, and other edible plants. It may be used around ornamental and non-edible plants. But, if they are composted under appropriate heat killing all the pathogens, they are safe for agricultural purposes.

It is rich in plant-healthy nutrients, including phosphorus, potassium, and micronutrients.

It also contains viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens that may not be effectively removed by standard home composting processes.

What Is Composting Toilet?

A composting toilet is a type of dry toilet that is used for composting human waste. It helps in turning human waste into humus-like material. They may sometimes have urine diversion systems to collect the urine and control excess moisture.

It consists of two elements, including a place to sit and a composting unit.

The composting unit consists of a storage chamber, a ventilation unit, an urine diversion system, and an access door for extracting the compost.

The end product from human waste has a higher nutrient availability but also carries the risk of pathogens. They may also contain prescription pharmaceuticals.


Can you use worms to decompose human waste? 

Yes, you may use worms to decompose human waste. But, it shouldn’t have urine as the ammonia in the urine will kill the worms. Also, the pH has to be neutral to aid in faster decomposition. Ensure to drain excess moisture produced.

Is human feces a hazardous waste?

Yes, human feces can be hazardous if it contains harmful diseases and pathogens. It includes cholera, rotavirus, E.coli, pinworms, norovirus, hepatitis, and dysentery. These conditions can be fatal and require proper disinfection.

Bottom Line

I hope this guide has provided you with certain tips on composting human waste.

Please do share your experiences in composting human waste.