Today in this tweenisode Ryan talks about how he deals with the various waste streams in his tiny house.  Everything from garbage, recycles, compostables and gray water.


Show Notes:

  • Ryan Mitchell
  • 5 Types of waste
    • Trash
    • Recycles
    • Compostables
    • Gray water
    • Compost toilet waste
  • Stonyfield Yougurt CEO talking about waste:  http://youtu.be/_OEZMVB2n4o
  • Podcast question line  704.559.9577 (leave us a voicemail!)
  1. thanks for waste pod cast. – two questions – with separating out the pee, what do you suggest doing with it? – woods? And when get rid of your weekly bag of other (#2 – poo ) waste -you said – you used “proper channels” what are those? what do you do with it? – throw it in the weekly pick-up bin for garbage guys?

    Also, fyi, one can not do vermi-culture if living in the north and it freezes, worms will freeze, would be nice if someone came up with a solution for that.


  2. Finally, some realistic information!

    We are live-aboard sailors in the warm months and deal with all the same issues. The difference it that our boat has a waste holding tank, and we need to find a pump-out location at least once a week. In our case, the marina slip lease includes free pump-outs which otherwise can be a bit costly. When anchoring out, we need to plan early enough to get this done. Our grey water does directly into the great lakes. Not a great solution, but we are careful not to put coffee grounds, etc., into our sink and have it wash into the lake, and use Dawn which is supposed to be green. Having two large fresh water tanks on board makes it very convenient and encourages greater cleanliness. I use far less disposable dinnerware when I have a larger water capacity to wash permanent ware.

    Tiny house travellers with pickups could add both waste and fresh water tanks in the truck back. When traveling with a tiny home, I’m always surprised that holding tanks aren’t added to the house. I know they take space, but are efficient and a less smelly solution.

    When parking on a property permanently, I’m surprised that a village sophisticated enough to have trash containers doesn’t require the house to be plumbed for village sewerage, water and grey water disposal.

    Please keep this chat going. When attending a tiny house seminar, no one addresses this satisfactorily.

  3. To Jan: I’ve read an online how-to on an interior vermiculture system. Unfortunately, I can’t find the post I had read but here’s the gist: She said she keeps in in the corner of her kitchen and dumps food scraps and paper [there’s a ratio you’re supposed to use to keep it from creating an odor and she said hers had no smell whatsoever.]
    There’s a spigot at the base of the container that allows you to drain off the liquids generated by the worms [compostea]to feed house plants or just distribute outside in your garden or on your lawn. It may be high in ammonia so you should probably pour it on a test area at first to check effects or just dilute it before putting on plants that matter to you.
    The bin is a layered system so you can periodically remove the upper layers and trowel out the dirt that falls through the sieves to the bottom and spread it on your garden/lawn use as potting soil, whatever. In this enclosed system, too, there’s no concern about your worms escaping downward. You might want to use Red Wigglers anyway as they’re more likely to be content in the system than vertical diggers who might all end up at the bottom of the system and not do as good a job at composting the top layers where they’re the most needed.

    Here’s a website where the bin can be bought. I’m sure you can find other [possibly less expensive] ones if you wish.

  4. I do have one bone of contention with the author:
    He says he perceives recycling as a form of failure. I disagree.

    Paper, for instance, which he prefers to break down via vermiculture, is absolutely necessary to recycle if we are to create a sustainable planet.

    Manufacturers ARE going to continue making paper and paper-making is extremely polluting: Cut down trees; break the wood fiber into pulp using thousands, even millions, of gallons of water to do so; make dioxin and other pollutants in the process. OR – use paper as the raw ingredient rather than trees; the pulp is already present; use much less water and create far less in the way of pollutants.
    Turning paper into soil is well and good if you’re going to plant thousands of trees in that soil. Are you? I doubt you could plant enough trees to satisfy the paper industry. And is that the best use of this valuable resource when we have the ingredients to make the paper without cutting trees in the first place?

    Very much the same can be said of glass, aluminum and steel. Those of us who live in cities ARE going to use cans. Avoiding doing so in today’s world is almost impossible. Shall we continue mining bauxite and iron at the rates we did before recycling took off? Or should we return the used cans to the manufacturers to reuse?

    Plastic is another matter, of course. It is not possible to recycle food containers into new food containers due to health reasons. But park benches and even roads/bridges are now being made from those recycled containers.
    Again, people ARE going to make those other products. They can make park benches from steel and wood OR they can make them from plastic. If that plastic is recycled it is, to my mind, the better alternative. And bridges made from plastic are, believe it or not, stronger than concrete and don’t break down over time. Finally, finally, the permanence of plastic can be used to our advantage.

    So, far from being a failure, recycling may be our savior. Let’s please not sell it short.

  5. You didn’t define what “proper channels” are. How do you dispose of your blue bio bag?

  6. The audio is coming through only the left channel, which makes headphone listening feel funny. I think you had a similar issue with the Toilets episode, too.

    Also, while we’re on a technical note, can you please adapt a standard, consistent way of naming your files and the MP3 titles? When I try to sort the files both in their folder on my computer and on my phone, they come out in what seems like a random fashion since you don’t have a stadnard. This will make listening to your program (which I love) a more pleasant experience.


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