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Modern toilets take two valuable resources, water and nitrogen rich human waste, and combine the two to create a problem: sewage.
You can buy plastic camping toilet seats that will clamp on to a five gallon bucket but they have, in my opinion, an unacceptable wobble when you sit on them. For these reasons, I designed a sturdy dry toilet making use of a scavenged milk crate
This milk crate toilet would be great for camping, emergencies or your remote cabin.
Putting this toilet together takes just a few minutes. First, find a milk or beer crate and a five gallon bucket. Make sure that the crate you use is large enough to accommodate the bucket.
To attach the seat to the milk crate simply position the plastic bolts and nuts that come with the lid in the center and on the short end of the bottom of the crate. Don’t over tighten.
Place the bucket so that it will be appropriately positioned under the seat. Mark the outline of the bucket on the crate with a knife and cut out a circle with a jigsaw or keyhole saw so that the bucket will fit through the former bottom of the crate.
Cut four pieces of scrap wood (we found some old table legs for a more finished look), and attach them to each corner of the crate so that the bucket projects about a 1/2-inch above the level of the crate. The legs will be approximately 13 1/2-inches. Make sure that the toilet seat will fit snugly against the top of the bucket. We attached the legs with cable ties, but you could also use screws or bolts.
The last step is to move the spacer on the bottom of the lid, so that it does not hit the top of the bucket. Pop it out with a knife or chisel, drill another hole, and reposition.
Your disaster time toilet is now done and ready for use. Simply lift the crate off the bucket when it comes time to empty the contents.
This toilet is simple to make, easy to clean, and is made of readily available materials. I think this particular design will be useful in emergencies and would prevent the dangerous raw sewage nightmares of the sort we saw in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina.
You can also use this toilet if you are using it in the dry or “humanure” method.
You cover your deposits with a layer of non-toxic sawdust. Once the toilet is full you dump the contents into your outdoor humanure pile and compost the waste at high temperatures for at least a year.
I have used a bucket with no bottom when camping in the woods. I hanged a hula hop from a strong tree branch with 2 sliding shower curtains attached to the hula hoops for privacy.
I will use this indoor disaster toilet if going outside is dangerous.
In a disaster, home invasions and looting happens …. I refuse to be caught with my pants down.
I would rather control where my human waste goes, not tracking it back into the house.