Managing human waste: Using the natural world

Compost toilets use no water, instead dehydrating waste using sawdust, ash, grass, straw or peat. Organisms such as worms and aerobic bacteria break waste down into liquid and solid organic fertilizers. The heat and bacteria also destroy pathogens and viruses, making the compost safe to use.

The Living Machine is a patented wastewater treatment system modelled on the principles of wetland ecology. The system, which can be installed in individual buildings as well as in larger complexes and communities, uses a series of basins filled with gravel that promotes micro-ecosystems that include aquatic and wetland plants, algae, freshwater clams, snails, plankton and beneficial bacteria. Water is moved through the basins and then drains away, clean and reusable.

(R) heidigoseek CC BY NC SA 2.0

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