Toilets That Make Gardens From Humanure: An Eco-Friendly Future Can Come From Your Toilet

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With environmental consciousness gradually permeating the human society, efforts to conserve water and greenery are gaining the much-needed momentum. Unknown to many, the curse of the water crisis is looming over villages, cities, countries and continents, posing a serious subsistence risk. No matter how much we curtail water usage in our daily lives to combat the situation, most of us still continue to ignore the truth that our day starts with inevitably wasting no less than 6-7 litres of water, with every flush of the toilet.

Irrespective of the fact that very few opt for the smaller flush button on the toilet which ensures effective cleaning with much less water wastage, hardly anyone knows that the simple bodily function of defecation can be turned into a highly productive eco-friendly investment.

Why is that needed, one might ask, given the prevailing taboo and disgust about anything remotely related to the bowel.

A single flush creates an alarming level of pollution

Let us state the big picture here. Where does this water end up every time we flush our toilets? Truth is, the contaminated water is treated with persistent chemicals in sewage treatment plants and eventually released into lakes, rivers and oceans, where it ends up threatening the aquatic lives and polluting the groundwater, surface water and freshwater. In developing countries, the scenario is even worse as often the toilet water finds its way into water bodies, completely untreated. Hence, a simple flush can amplify to an exponential level of pollution.



Yes, there is a solution – Humanure

Remember how scientist Mark Watney grew potatoes in the sterile soil of Mars in the movie The Martian, making use of his own excreta? In reality, the science fiction movie might have shown the most credible solution, as proved by Joseph Jenkins from Pennsylvania, USA, better recognised as the author of The Humanure Handbook.


Humanure handbook

Humanure, as the name suggests, is the green manure obtained from human faeces, after a proper method of composting which kills all the harmful pathogens. Humanure can be extremely nutritious for the plants and ensures zero water wastage and contamination through toilets. In fact, the idea behind compost toilets in each home, as propagated by Jenkins, insists that every house should be self-sustainable with the toilet discard being recycled into all-natural fertiliser.

Jenkins and The Humanure Handbook

The Humanure Handbook, published in July 1996, explains the A to Z of compost toilets, an idea which met with a lot of resistance at the outset. However, it did not take long for environmentalists all around the world to realise its importance. Soon, Jenkins’ book sold thousands of copies, turning him into a full-time consultant. He has travelled to many Asian, African and European countries offering guidance about compost toilets, which he and his family commercially labelled as “Loveable Loos”.

From toilet to lush gardens

A box-shaped wooden toilet where, instead of a cistern for flushing, one will find a bucket beneath. After each usage, sawdust is added as a biofilter to the excrement collected in the bucket, to initiate the decomposition process. On a regular basis (mostly once a week), the toilet material from the bucket is dumped into a compost pile and later other organic materials like household garbage (biodegradable), garden waste etc are mixed with it.

Humanure toilet demo in Kolkata, India. Image Credits : www.givelove.org

Over a considerable period of time, it turns into superior quality “Humanure”, following other steps of treatment as detailed in the book. This can then nurture lush gardens of flowers, fruits and vegetables. In fact, the chemical-free vegetables and grains farmed with Humanure can be easily turned into palatable dishes, thereby bringing the process to a full circle.

Making of Humanure toilet

Jenkins has designed a foolproof mechanism for processing Humanure which negates all concerns about an obnoxious odour or bacterial diseases.

Humanure is not limited to its pioneer Joseph Jenkins, rather it has launched a worldwide initiative towards eco-friendly toilets, as adopted through different programmes by governments across the world, as well as individual households.


Also Read: To Stop Open Defecation, This American Lady Crowdfunded Rs. 4.8 Lakh From 432 Donors & Built Eco-Friendly Toilets

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‘Happy Fridge’: The Key To Bridge Food Wastage And Hunger Problem In India

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Rahul Khera and Gautam Jindal, volunteers (aka hunger heroes) at Feeding India, were among the many Delhi NCR residents accustomed to seeing hungry children pick up half-eaten burgers or stale sandwiches from the dustbin and savour those with the brightest smiles. Like many others, they also had the will to promote equitable food distribution but was perplexed about the approach, until they learnt about the community fridge initiative which has gained unprecedented success in Saudi Arabia and few other European countries. Meanwhile, community fridges were already being installed outside restaurants or in public places in a handful of cities like Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Coimbatore and Kochi.

Say Goodbye To Throwing Away Excess Food Because Now You Can Donate The Food To The Needy – Happy Fridge

Thank you for overwhelming response for the Happy Fridge concept. We need more funds from you to install more fridges like this across India. With the limited funds avaialble Feeding India was able to install three fridges only. Kindly donate here http://bit.ly/happyfridge

Posted by The Logical Indian on Saturday, October 27, 2018

Needless to mention, with a shocking 103rd rank in the Global Hunger Index and a food wastage estimate of around Rs 58,000 crore – India was perhaps the best country to implement such an initiative. With Gautam’s help, an enthusiastic Rahul invested his own savings to install a ‘Happy Fridge’ outside his residence at Sun City, Sector 54 in Gurgaon. Set up in 2017 by these Feeding India volunteers, the fridge in Gurgaon has inspired the NGO to scale up the project across India.

No one has ever become poor by giving
– Anne Frank

‘Happy Fridge’ fostered many smiles

It didn’t take long for the local residents to learn about this laudable endeavour. They welcomed it, as wastage of excess food was a recurring problem in almost every household. “Intimating the localities was no mammoth task, thanks to social media. However, it was difficult to spread the word among those who actually needed the food,” shares Rahul, who went from auto stands to slums, inviting rickshaw pullers, ragpickers or roadside vendors to avail the community fridge any time they feel hungry. “The security guards of our residential complex played a huge role in explaining how the fridge works to the beneficiaries,” he adds.

The operational and maintenance costs of the ‘ happy fridge ‘ are being maintained diligently by the community members.

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Making memories, sprouting awareness

“I remember one young man who had arrived from a village looking for some menial day job. Somehow he had run out of his paltry savings and had no money to buy one decent meal a day. For about a month, our happy fridge was his solace, till he earned his first salary from a housekeeping job,” shares a jubilant Rahul.

In another incident, a truck driver returning in the wee hours of midnight was starving after a whole day’s hard work. He had run out of cooking fuel at his home, so our fridge was at his rescue.

“The residents keep all sorts of palatable dishes in the happy fridge, ranging from dry snacks, fruits to cooked meals. Sometimes, they even keep raw vegetables, to ensure not a single bit of good food ends up in their trash while other people go hungry to bed,” reveals Rahul.

On an average, each happy fridge supplies around 10-15 meals in a day. The gratitude and pure smiles of the hungry souls after a fulfilling meal are more than enough to continue to motivate Rahul and his neighbours. In fact, inspired by him, many other communities in the Delhi-NCR region set up community fridges in their areas.

Feeding India will set up 500 Happy Fridges

Since the past few years, Feeding India has been a prominent organisation working in the forefront to solve the hunger problem in India. Primarily, they were involved in redistributing leftover food from weddings and parties among the underprivileged people in different cities of India. Their volunteers, better known as “Hunger Heroes of India”, worked actively to bridge the gap between food wastage and food crisis.

“We used to get a lot of calls from individual households to collect their excess food. However, unfortunately, we lacked the manpower and planning to launch our programme on a door to door basis. We were desperately looking for an alternative when we learnt about the community fridges,” shares Srishti Jain, co-founder of Feeding India.

After interacting with Rahul Khera and other campaigners of community fridges, Feeding India decided to amplify this extraordinary project throughout the length and breadth of India. Presently, they have launched the #FightFoodWaste campaign to install 500 community fridges – nicknamed ‘ Happy Fridge ’. So any passer-by – be it a kid going to school without a lunchbox, or a labourer returning home late at night with no promise of a dinner – can now grab a pack of biscuits or a bowl of ‘dal-chawal’ (rice & lentil soup) to satiate their hunger. Click here to contribute for ‘ Happy Fridge ‘ and ensure India never sleeps hungry again.

Feeding India also urges everyone to make a promise to stop wasting food and instead consider donating it to those in need.

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