Friday, November 12, 2010

Taking the "waste" out of human waste movement

In the innovative world of sustainability- it is typical to analyze and transform waste into energy. Water conservation and composting are rapidly growing issues we are looking into currently. What better way to increase this realm than to look at the waste we, ourselves produce.

Starting off with some facts that were given in a Chicago Tribune article "Taking the 'waste' out of human waste", it states that the US used 410 billion gallons of water a day in 2005- 30% was used to flush our toilets. It also costs hundred of dollars per million gallons of water to treat it and even more for the energy used to transport the waste. "Though the plant offsets some of its costs by using methane gas generated by sewage sludge to heat its buildings, receiving less water would make the job easier."

That brings in Little Village's " bio-instigator," Nance Klehm. In the Spring of 2008, Nance started a human waste composting project named the "Humble Pile." Klehm recruited a handful of people to join her and use the composting toilets. The 5-gallon bucket "composting toilets" were filled with sawdust to surprisingly successfully avoid the smell that many expected. Klehm then takes the waste in a 32 gallon bucket to her composting site.

When using the compost, people actually used it when growing vegetables along with their landscaping plants. People commented that there was no difference in taste and no trace of sickness cause by the compost.

There are no laws against this in Chicago; there are only regulations on general composting procedures. There have been two larger scale cases of human waste energy conversion. San Antonio creates methane gas from their sewage and California implemented a system that creates hydrogen gas from human waste.

A quote from the article describes a composter's view of the new program:
"Bring someone who composted already ... (I knew) composting isn't always pretty; even if it's just plant matter," Vicker's said. "Also, I would consider myself in the category of people who view humanure as a resource, rather than a waste, so I think I had that outlook already. It was more to see how the value would actually play out in modern life if acted upon."

Everything Comes Into This World Hungry: Soil Making and Building

November 18, 6pm - FREE
5th floor, Cultural Center
78 East Washington

Where by Nance Klehm will be talking and jumping around about extreme
composting, nutrient looping, creating regenerative economies as well as healing
and nurturing soils from this.

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