by Natrieifia Miller
Considering the Batch-Bin Composting System for A.T. Overnight Sites
There are a variety of ways to deal with human fecal waste in the backcountry: users carrying out their own waste, burying waste in a cathole, pit privies, batch-bin and moldering (composting) privies, dehydration and incineration toilets, and the costly prospect of removal of waste via helicopters. When it comes to high elevation, high use sites with thin soil, regular pit toilets just won’t do.
One solution is the batch-bin composting system. This system handles high volumes of waste material, ensuring that the deposited waste finish composting around the same time, without contamination from new materials. In this 10-minute video, ATC’s New England Regional Director Hawk Metheny explains the batch-bin composting method of a privy at the MATC’s Horns Pond Lean-To in Maine. In addition to covering the basics of privy operations, he highlights some innovations that A.T. managers and maintainers have come up with to make the process more efficient.
Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s Backcountry Sanitation Manual has additional information on the batch bin method as well as other approaches to human waste management.