Image credit: Root Simple
I've mused before about one composting no-no—whether or not you can compost dirty diapers. And over at Planet Green, Colleen once listed 75 things you can compost but thought you couldn't. But there is one thing that is almost always considered a banned substance when it comes to compost—and that's cat poop. But that's not stopping one homesteading couple from letting their worms tackle their cat poop, and they've even built a portal to do it. Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen run Root Simple, a blog dedicated to "homegrown vegetables, chickens, herbs, hooch, bicycles, cultural alchemy, and common sense." They're also the authors of Making It: Radical Home Ec for a Post Consumer World. So, if anyone is likely to start experimenting with cat poop compost, it would be them.
They've actually been mulling the idea of cat poop compost for some time. And now, despite all the dire warnings of pestilence and plague that usually accompany discussion of the subject, they have decided to dive right in and get rotting, as they describe in Litter Box Composting: Installment One. How will they do it? Pretty much the same way they compost everything else—just with a few extra safety measures:
Erik and I have decided on the method we're going to try. We're just going to do straight up, classic composting, Humanure Handbook style. The only difference between this style and ordinary composting is that we'll let this compost rest for two years before we spread it, to be sure the bad beasties die off. And in case they aren't gone, we won't spread the finished compost around edible plants.
It's early days yet, so there is little to report on how the system is actually running. But they do share a neat solution to space and access issues—cutting a hole in a fence that allows them to dump compost straight into the composting barrel from outside their kitchen window, rather than trapsing around the back of the house to get to it. Much like my own experiences of designing a recycling storage system, this is just one more reminder that making the greener option the easy, default option is one of the most important things you can do in ensuring long-term sustainability.
More on Composting Pet and Human Waste
Can You Compost Dirty Diapers?
75 Things You Can Compost but Thought You Couldn't
Promoting Humanure Composting in Haiti: Why It Matters