Composting Head on a Budget

This post stinks. Seriously, it’s crap.

In the beginning, there was a smell. Faint at first, almost undetectable. Then on a dark and humid night, it appeared with a suffocating foulness. The smell, Ooo that smelly smell, was dubbed ‘Lynyrd.’ For months, Lynyrd lurked in storage lockers, joined us in the cockpit during sails and loyally met us every time we opened the companionway.

I tried to get Lynyrd to move out, offering up my neighbors boat as suitable housing.  Because that’s the type of boat neighbor I am, considerate and helpful. I consulted the internet’s eternal wisdom, searching ‘poop smell,’ ‘smelly toilet,’ ‘seriously stinky boat,’ and in utter desperation ‘help my boat smells.’

Finally, in a moment of madness, I took hammer and saw to all of Lynyrd’s favorite places. In 1975, the Sabre 28 came with a flexible holding tank that was located under the port settee. This took up a lot of space that I wanted back. I removed the tank, the marine head and all the plywood supporting the wet head.

After removing Lynyrd, a number of other questions were postulated. Now what? Another wet head? A composting head? What will actually fit in this small space? After consulting my boat neighbor, who so rudely refused Lynyrd an overnight accommodation, I decided that a custom composting toilet was in my future and my budget.

What separates this composting head from other buckets, is that it has a urine separator.

Example of urine separator
This is key to controlling smell and allowing your compost to decompose properly. Believe it or not, composting manure doesn’t smell if covered adequately. Imagine, no more time spent on pump outs or winterizing toilets. Just unload your 64 oz orange juice container discretely in the bathroom. For the day sailor, a plastic bag should suffice if you are not interested in composting. In the picture below, you can see how the urine separator lifts off and you have access to the 5 gallon bucket for inserting a plastic liner.



Things you will need for the Bare Necessities Model:

  1. Two 5 gallon buckets ~3 each
  2. Two A 5/8 Female Garden Hose Metal Mender ~3.50 each
  3. 3/4 Clear plastic hose ~8.50 for 10 feet
  4. Loctite Clear Epoxy ~4.50
  5. 64 oz orange juice container with solid orange plastic color ~4
  6. 1/2 inch plywood, 2 feet by 4 feet ~25
  7. Rope or bungee ~5
  8. Small nuts and bolts, preferably stainless steel ~5
  9. Reuse your old marine toilet seat ~0

Total: ~65.00 plus tax

The Bare Necessities Model

In the picture above, you will notice that the bucket hits the curved hull of the boat. I fiber-glassed a wedge onto the hull to balance the bucket.

The deluxe model is still in development/ I haven’t finished yet. I intend to add:

  1. A storage drawer for composting medium
  2. A front cover
  3. Primer and paint
  4. A latch to secure the seat cover in the down position

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