Trash and Human Waste disposal

(Survival manual/4. Shelter issues/Trash and human waste disposal)

Unsanitation is coming and it may be closer than you think.
If you don’t properly dispose of your trash, within a couple weeks after SHTF, what you see here will be what you, your neighborhood and city will be faced with.
(Picture at left: A beautiful spring day in May 2008, Naples, Italy, one spot in one neighborhood, after 5 months without city garbage pick up – the city landfill was filled to capacity and closed.)

A.  City drowning in rubbish: 10,000 TONS of waste pile up on streets of Marseilles in chilling echo of British ‘winter of discontent’
26th October 2010, By Peter Allen.
Pasted from:
“Nearly 10,000 tons of rubbish has piled up in the streets of Marseilles as French strikes and blockades continued. All of the country’s 12 oil refineries remained closed today after nearly two weeks of industrial action which is costing the country up to £350 million a day.
During the disruption French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s opinion poll ratings have collapsed and he is now the least popular leader in the history of the Fifth Republic.
Demonstrators restored their blockade at France’s biggest refinery of Fos-sur-Mer, Marseilles, following last week’s clearing of their demonstration by CRS riot police.  ‘The refinery is back in our hands – the police are standing off,’ said a local trade union spokesman.
Around 70 ships including oil tankers are currently waiting at anchor off the coast of Marseille because militants will not let them dock and unload.
Up to a quarter of 12,500 fuel stations have run dry, with rationing introduced in area which are particularly popular with visitors from the UK, including Brittany and Normandy.
A Transport ministry spokeswoman said: ‘In the west of the country and in Paris more than a third of filling stations have been shut down – the situation is extremely serious.’
Nicolas Sarkozy scored a victory on Friday by getting his bill to make people work two more years for their pensions through the Senate, but striking refinery workers are putting a strain on businesses and daily life and show no sign of backing down…

Photographs above: Left: Marseille, France has been crippled by strikers. A fleet of huge ships  cruises offshore, unable to dock, their lights reflecting against the still  waters of the port at night. From the air it looks like a giant game of  Battleships.
Right: In the city centre, streets are still piled high with rubbish after the  refuse collectors joined dock workers, train drivers, students and airport staff who have brought the city almost to a standstill.

Photographs above: Scenes of New York City trash build up during and following an early  January 2011 winter storm. Sanitation becomes a problem immediately following even  a common, brief weather shut down. Imagine a situation that closed down  garbage and waste  removal for weeks – or months.

Meanwhile a resident in Philadelphia writes:
“You’ll be thrilled to know that I made it into work in less than 50 minutes this morning, and I didn’t need to drive ‘the 30 Blocks of Squalor’. But, I still needed to maneuver through West Philly
around the Zoo. I’m not quite sure but I believe Monday is trash day in West Philly based on the size of the garbage bags piled high in front of the ‘tenements’ and hovels. I was just happy there was no snow on the streets from the snowstorm one week ago. It seems that the new Phila snow removal program is
working wonders. Wait until the temperature goes up to 50 and the snow melts.
What struck me was how much trash and garbage was generated in such tiny row homes by people with a median household incomes of $21,000. The median value of houses in this war zone is $30,000. I’m mentally picturing the inside of these houses.
The question I have is what did these people use to purchase enough crap to generate this amount of garbage? These are the poorest of the poor in our nation and they are generating twice as much garbage as my family. In a three block stretch, there were more newer model $30,000 cars than there are in my entire upper middle class neighborhood. My driveway has an 11-year-old minivan and a 9-year-old CRV in it. What gives? They are not buying shit with wages, because 50% of the people in this neighborhood don’t work. The only thing I can think is a combination of government handouts, illegal activities, and credit cards…”

  BTrash disposal in an emergency situation
For urban dwellers: If everything is seriously messed up after the SHTF and major state functions fail like water, garbage, power, etc, then you may  need to take cover when going about business outdoors. Night disposal runs are best in two man teams. Foot travel to alternate trash dumping locations a few blocks away in the moonlight will be safer than day traffic. Avoid driving, save your fuel for more important events.
Compost all organic material, recycle all plastic, glass, metal, and wood to the best of your ability. The remaining refuse should be discarded as soon as you can to prevent disease / illness, also reduces odors.

 Incinerate the burnable rubbish, along with the plastics.
Organics get composted.  Burnables, we burn.  That probably sounds like heresy if you live in a city, and I confess I had to get used to it myself.  Hadn’t seen a burning barrel in years.  But yeah, burn’em.  Glass jars get re-used; they’re valuable.
That leaves tin cans, beer bottles and non-flammable  construction or demolition trash.  Haven’t found a self-sufficient answer for that one, so I haul it to the landfill.  If ever the day came when that was no longer practical, and I was generating that much trash, I’d contract with a neighbor who has a backhoe and make my own landfill.  I’d really hate to do that, though.
[Steel drums last about a year each, depending on how wet they become inside from rain and snow. Set the drum on a couple of concrete blocks to get it off the ground which will make the can last longer. In order to get the best combustion and the least amount of residual ash, make several dime size ventilation holes around the can’s lower periphery and up the sides. Use a steel chisel, drill or a few bullets more powerful than 22LR. Put a steel lid  on the can between burnings, to keep rain  or snow out of the ash. Wet ash accelerates rusting on the inside of the can. When the can is about 1-2 to 2/3 full it’s time to empty. If your moving the contents to another spot (and hopefully you are), have a wheel barrow handy to tote the can and contents. Dump the can upside down and bang the bottom to dislodge compacted materials then return the can to its ‘home’.

Compost to get rid of your bio-degradable materials 
Select an area for your compost pile or bin. Look for a spot that gets a lot of sunlight and has nearby access to water. Make sure the location is close to the house for convenience, but not so close that decaying organics can be smelled inside. [I had one 100 feet away for 30 years and never
smelled it, even while standing outdoors beside the house.-Mr. Larry]
Efficient decomposition requires nitrogen (kitchen scraps), carbon (yard waste), oxygen (air), and water. Collect kitchen and household scraps for the compost pile. Useful items include:
•  Fruit and vegetable scraps
•  Coffee grounds and tea leaves
•  Eggshells (rinsed of whites and yolks)
•  Shredded newspaper (not magazines)
•  Fireplace ashes
•  Sawdust

Do not compost meat, bones, fat, grease, dairy products, or pet waste. [I composted all the preceding except pet waste . The compost pile and garden loved me for it, but the larger bones don’t break down]
TIP: For more efficient composting, cut large scraps into smaller pieces.
TIP: Use a carbon-charcoal filter container to collect household scraps. The filter eliminates odors
[For many years, we used a 4-5 quart, covered, plastic ice cream pail to store our miscellaneous daily
household scraps and dumped the pail when it was full.-Mr. Larry].

  1. When the collection container is nearly full, empty the scraps to the compost bin or pile.
  2. Add a layer of leaves, grass clippings, and/or weeds from your yard. If not available, add straw.
  3. Moisten and mix the compost pile every few weeks. Water the pile, then use a pitchfork or shovel to turn the compost so that oxygen reaches all ingredients to encourage decomposition.

TIP: To make sure there is sufficient moisture, examine a clump of the material.  It should be damp, but not soggy and drippy.

  1. Adjust the proportion of compost ingredients by odor. The compost should have a good earthy smell. If the compost has an ammonia odor, add more carbon materials such as leaves and
    newspaper. If the compost smells foul, it is probably too wet and needs more dry materials such as leaves or straw.
  2. Allow the compost materials to decompose before use. It should feel crumbly, look dark, and smell earthy.
    The process typically takes a few months, depending on ingredients. Do not use compost before it’s ready—the decomposing ingredients can attract pests.
  3. In a SHTF scenario: Never put any trash near your house to avoid letting people know you
    have food. All trash which can be burned will be for fuel. Cans which cannot be reused will be crushed and buried away from the house. If water was not an issue, would wash them out to use for other purposes. If water was short they get thrown out to avoid attracting pests and guests.

This pair of compost bins were  made from 8 pallets, one pallet down the middle, and stripped boards off the 8th pallet to hold it all together. Throw kitchen scraps, some grass clippings, manure, little screened loam, leaves and other misc. “brown” material like small  twigs, rotting wood, etc. Then I leave it. Turn the compost probably 3 times next year, once in the spring, mid-summer and again next fall. Then use it in  Garden the following year. Pallets are awesome. They’re free and can be used
for all sorts of things.
[I used pressure treated rough sawn 1” x 8” pressure treated planks, they definitely looked nicer, but n a pinch the pallets would work.- Mr. Larry]

Build or purchase compost bins. A small fenced area with no bottom allows worms, soil bacteria, beetles and other beneficial organisms to work and aerate the compost. L>R: Steel post & chicken wire; circular, made with common wire fence; divided square bins made from wood slats and chicken wire.
[My bins looked similar to the wooden slat bin at right, except it was about 3 times larger and made from rough sawn pressure treated planks.


B.   Human waste disposal
Sanitation is a dirty subject that no one really wants to talk about.  But it is an often overlooked aspect of emergency preparedness.  When a disaster creates a situation where the water sources are compromised, the lack of sanitation in the given disaster area will be a disaster in itself.  A 50 mile radius of individuals could be affected by illness and disease.  Prepare appropriately for this aspect of disasters in order to prevent the spread of communicable diseases.

 Add a Sanitation Kit to Disaster Supplies
Photo at right: A confined, rolling method of moving several dozen, sealed plastic trash  bags containing human waste to a remote site –  away from your shelter.

Having a sanitation kit that is ‘ready for use’ in times of disaster is essential to keeping your family and neighbors healthy.  These kits can fit comfortably into a bucket, are affordable, and will not take up much space.  Additionally, being educated on how to properly dispose of waste is a key factor in keeping everyone healthy during a disaster.

Some suggested sanitation supplies to add to any short or long-term emergency kits are:
•  Port-a-pottie, disposable 5-6 gallon paint bucket with lid, ‘luggable loo’ with seat
•  Toilet paper
•  Rubber gloves
•  Garbage bags with twist ties ( for liners of toilets or luggable loo)
•  Bathroom cleaner, Clorox, small bowl with water-disinfectant for washing hands where there
is no running water.
•  Cat Litter or absorbent material such as saw dust or dirt
•  Baby wipes, sanitary hand towels.
•  Baking soda can be used to help eliminate odors, lime
•  Vinegar
•  Shovel

Image at right is a Short term Family Toilet Sanitation Kit, containing: 1) Double Doodie toilet waste bags (or a medium-sized plastic bucket, 5-6 gallon, lined with a heavy-duty garbage bags); 2) toilet paper (for a family you’ll definitely want more than 4 rolls for anything longer than a few days business); 3) Basics Antibacterial bath wipes (or Handi-wipes, Wet Ones, etc); 4) small bottle Aqua Chem, port-a-pottie deodorant, or RV toilet deodorant; 5) toothbrush with paste. Determine quantities from your disaster preparedness scenario.

Additional ideas:
Have several buckets with lids to store stuff up while I wait to dump them. The lids are to help control smell. Human waste will be buried away from the house.
Keep a 80 lb bag of common industrial grade powdered lime on hand.

•  We evolved to live in small bands, and move on to a new location every week or so. The further you get from that lifestyle, you’re going to need fancier and fancier engineering. A trench latrine works for campers. Leave the TP roll on the shovel handle, and throw some dirt in the trench to cover your deposit, thanks.
•  Sharing a toilet seat means you get as sick as the sickest person that uses the same throne. It’s literally like dropping ‘trou’ and bumping butts with everyone else in your group, several times a day. Lysol is a must.
•  If you are in a suburb or city, first use the toilets you already have. You can take the lid off the water
closet and add more by hand. Use any water, like after a rain, or dishwater, whatever. Toilets don’t need electricity to flush, just water in the tank. Your public sewer lines might work for a week or two before they stop up. Use the time well!
•  After that, or where you don’t have the spare water, line a bucket with a heavy trash bag, and take the seat off of a toilet, and use that. Throw the full bag in a city trash can or dumpster. It will help with the smell, and if authority comes to clean up, that is where they will empty first. You can burn the dumpster or can if you get desperate.
•  If you compost with animal or human excrement, watch out for hookworm and ringworm, which can migrate and infect plants like tomato and corn via compost. This is also especially true of dysentery, the leading cause of death in Latin America. In Africa, blood flukes are a major health hazard from this, and from people working in irrigation ditches that are waste deep, then flowing onto fields.

Photos above: Left: Drain water from you home toilet and line bowl with plastic trash bags,  remove as
necessary. Center: 5-6 gallon portable toilet, used with trash bag liners. Right: Port-a-potti style toilet with minimal flush capability, deodorant in tank, empty every day or two.

Emergency Sanitation

The images above are common, modern camp gear – toilet/shower privacy enclosures. In a really bad situation, few things will provide your accustomed comfort as the personal privacy of an emergency bathroom’.

C.  Emergency Sanitation
27 July 2009,, by Kellene Bishop
 Sanitation is one of the ten critical components of emergency preparedness. It is usually one of the top two that are most overlooked. A lot of us take emergency sanitation for granted until our toilet breaks down or the sewer backs up. Keep in mind, if there is a quarantine, who’s going to maintain the proper working order of the sewage services? If there’s a financial collapse, how will we even have the wherewithal to send our waste somewhere else? If you don’t take emergency sanitation seriously, then the consequences can be extremely dire—even up to a 50 mile radius. Preventing waste from
contaminating the soil is just as important as preventing the spread of any other disease, as it contaminates crops, water, and air. Additionally, as water will be scarce in a time of emergency, ensuring that it does not get contaminated from improper sanitation habits is critical.

High amounts of hydrogen sulfide results from human waste. It not only smells horrible, but can also be very dangerous if a great deal of build-up occurs locally. Flies, rodents, and other unwelcome “guests” are attracted to the smell of fecal matter. Flies actually consume it.
Unfortunately, this also means that human waste is speedily spread to humans via flies and rodents to multiple locations and can subsequently effect an entire community with a sanitation disaster within 48 hours. Thus ensuring that your toilets are covered and you have the ability to break down the waste is critical in order to ensure the best health in a stressful circumstance.

Your first line of defense for emergency sanitation will still be the toilet in your own home—for a little while at least. You may only have enough time to build an alternative source, but you should at least have some time to implement these initial strategies. So long as you have water supply, flush conservatively.
When you aren’t able to flush any longer, plan on pouring water down the toilet to get rid of the waste. (Think how fast you’ll be using that water folks. Now do you start to see why I say a gallon per person, per day is the minimum amount you want to store? Although, keep in mind, you can use dish water, laundry water, or leftover cooking water for this purpose.) After you no longer have this option, plan on using the toilet as more of a “bucket.” Turn off all of the water to the toilet, and then plug it up with a tennis ball to ensure that no sewage comes through. Then line your toilet with a bio-degradable, compostable bag.
When you’ve exhausted the use of that bag, seal it, and then bury it so it will decompose properly.

In the eventual likelihood that you will have to move your “outhouse” outdoors, there are several additional considerations for emergency sanitation. Obviously, you want to keep it away from any food or water supply.
But you will want to be sure that you have chlorinated lime or bleach on hand to chemically and safely break down the waste matter. (Note: Powdered, chlorinated lime is available at building supply stores and it can be used dry. Be sure to get chlorinated lime and not quick lime, which is highly alkaline and corrosive.)

Every single time a person uses the toilet, some type of disinfectant should be sprinkled on top. It can be chlorinated lime, bleach, or even some other household disinfectants such as Pinesol, Lysol Cleaner, Arm & Hammer cleaners, plain baking soda, laundry detergent, etc.


D.  What To Do When the Sanitation Hits The Fan
22 December 2010,, by Tess Pennington
Excerpts pasted from:

Cathole considerations:
When choosing a site to bury waste:
•  Select a cathole site far from water sources, 200 feet (approximately 70 adult paces) is the recommended range.
•  Select an inconspicuous site untraveled by people.  Examples of cathole sites include thick undergrowth, near downed timber, or on gentle hillsides.
•  If camping with a group or if camping in the same place for more than one night, disperse the catholes over a wide area; don’t go to the same place twice.
•  Try to find a site with deep organic soil.  This organic material contains organisms which will help decompose the feces. (organic soil is usually dark and rich in color.)  Refer to the jars used to demonstrate decomposition.  The desert does not have as much organic soil as a forested area.
•  If possible, locate our cat hole where it will receive maximum sunlight.  The heat from
the sun will aid the decomposition.
•  Choose an elevated site where water would not normally runoff during rain storms.  The idea here is to keep the feces out of water. Overtime, the decomposing feces will percolate into the soil before
reaching water sources.

Disposal of Feminine Napkins
It is important to properly dispose of sanitary napkins, as they contain bodily fluid that could pose a health hazard to others. Methods of disposal may differ according to where you are and what you have available.  However, tampons and feminine napkins do not decompose quickly.  Therefore, the best way to dispose of used feminine napkins tampons is to burn them. The fire must be very hot in order to thoroughly destroy the used items.

Sanitation will require the same type of  supplies for a short-term as a long-term disaster, however, a more permanent structure needs to be in place for long-term use.

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