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The Humanure Handbook: A Guide to Composting Human Manure, 2nd edition Paperback – July, 1999


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 302 pages
  • Publisher: Jenkins Pub; 2nd Revised & enlarged edition (July 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0964425890
  • ISBN-13: 978-0964425897
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #975,993 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"...outrageous humor and brilliant, diligent research." "This is one book that could save the world!" -- Permaculture Drylands Journal

"Finally we have a comprehensive book on recycling human excrement without chemicals, high technology or pollution." "Well-written, practical...thoroughly researched." -- Whole Earth Review

"Jenkins provides a convincing case that human waste can and should be a safe composting material." -- Mother Earth News

"The Humanure Handbook clearly explains, in a breezy, amusing and well-illustrated format, everything-you-need-to-know-to-bring-the-out-house-in-house." -- Earth Island Journal

"almost certain to become a classic in its field." "This book should be required reading, and not only for homesteaders." -- Countryside Journal

From the Author

Why did I write this book, anyway? Probably because I have personally recycled all of my family's humanure since 1979 using very simple methods. The resulting compost has always been used in our food garden. We have never produced any sewage from our home. Instead, all of our organic residues are carefully recycled by composting and are then returned to the soil, humanure included, thereby maintaining the fertility of our food gardens and eliminating organic waste altogether.

More About the Author

Jenkins lives in the rural countryside of Pennsylvania, USA, with a few cats, some chickens and ducks, a dog and whatever friends and/or family members happen to be home at the time. His speaking schedule can be viewed at http://josephjenkins.com/speaking_engagements.htm.

He began self-publishing in 1994. His three titles include: The Humanure Handbook; The Slate Roof Bible; and Balance Point.

The Humanure Handbook has been recognized in the Benjamin Franklin Awards, Foreword Magazine Book of the Year Awards, Independent Publisher Awards (where it was deemed "Outstanding Book of the Year, Most Likely to Save the Planet"), and the Three Rivers Environmental Awards, and has twice been a category bestseller on Amazon.com. Jenkins has worked in Mongolia and Haiti teaching humanure composting. He also speaks on the topic worldwide. More information can be seen at humanurehandbook.com.

The Slate Roof Bible was awarded the prestigious Gold Circle Award by the National Roofing Contractors Association, as well as the Writer's Notes Book Award, and has been recognized in the Foreword Magazine Book of the Year Awards, the Independent Publisher Awards and the Writer's Digest International Self-Published Book Awards. It has also been an Amazon.com #1 category bestseller. Jenkins is Executive Director of the Slate Roofing Contractors Association of North America, Inc., a non-profit trade association. He also speaks on the topic of slate roofs world-wide. More information can be seen at slateexperts.com.

Balance Point, addresses the predicted worldwide global ecological collapse scientists say will occur in 20-40 years.

Please visit the author's web sites at josephjenkins.com, slateroofcentral.com, slateroofwarehouse.com, slateexperts.com, traditionalroofing.com, humanurestore.com and humanurehandbook.com.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Joe Jenkins offers an inspiring, humorous, well-researched and well-written book.
Beverley A. Sutton
I can't wait to build my own sawdust toilet and finally add my own poop to nature's cycle, the way I've wanted to since I was 6 years old!
Elayne Hoover
I have seldom read a book with this much researched material that wasn't dry and boring.
Bruce M Foster

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

177 of 182 people found the following review helpful By Beverley A. Sutton on August 6, 2005
Format: Paperback
To anyone who believes that once flushed the contents of the toilet are "safe" and "away", I recommend reading this book. To those more informed who are looking at an expensive commercial composting toilet ... I recommend reading this book before you make your decision. K.I.S.S. - Keep It Simple Stupid!

Joe Jenkins offers an inspiring, humorous, well-researched and well-written book. He makes what should be a very obvious point ... flushed "away" or thrown "away" doesn't mean gone ... it merely means "someplace else", and worse ... someone else's problem.

We live in rural AZ where, as far as I am concerned, deliberate water wastage should be considered a crime. Defecating and urinating into our rapidly diminishing, precious water supply is the true definition of madness! It is time for the world to wake up and remember what Nature has always taught ... the function of all organic matter is to enrich and replenish the soil.

For those worried about contamination and their health ... I offer these words (coincidentally from another composting toilet book that, other than this quote, isn't worth the paper it's printed on!):

"Healthy humans excrete healthy E. coli (only some strains of this bacteria can make you ill) and other healthy bacteria. If you are healthy, and you compost your excrement, then you use this on food crops, you will not infect yourself with any diseases that you did not have before"

Regardless, a properly designed and maintained thermophilic compost pile, as per Jenkins' instructions, will reach temperatures in excess of 160 F (71 C) and this is proven to kill all known pathogens (disease causing organisms) in 24 hours. He recommends that the capped (i.e.
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60 of 61 people found the following review helpful By katlupe on March 11, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book improved our lives as soon as I finished it! Thank you Joe Jenkins! After living for four years with a well known brand of composting toilet, the sawdust toilet in this book has finally given us simple living. I read this book cover to cover the day I got it. My husband built it in one hour and we started using it. Simplicity at it's best! Everything in this book makes total sense. I only wish I'd bought this book four years ago when we first moved to our homestead. I highly recommend it-it should be required reading to live in this country!
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72 of 75 people found the following review helpful By Lieutenant Homunculus on March 29, 2005
Format: Paperback
Keep in mind that the author of this book composts his humanure with all of his other compost material. By properly placing the humanure material in the center of your larger compost pile you will eliminate any sort of pathogen disaster that A Microbiolgist warns of. Granted, his concerns are valid, but don't despair, composting humanure is easy and sawdust toilets are most excellent party favors.
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Scott Willing on March 11, 2001
Format: Paperback
One could be forgiven for thinking that this is just another "how-to" book, albeit a bit off the beaten path of woodworking manuals and the like. Not that "The Humanure Handbook" doesn't deliver practical information. On the contrary, the book empowers the reader to exploit a vital and overlooked resource, and to eliminate personal contribution to a chronic source of pollution, water and power waste in the bargain. (Trying doing *that* with a router.) The methods described are cheap and simple. And the author puts his money where his mouth is, espousing methods he has personally employed for over two decades, and backing this practical experience with impressive in-depth research.
This much easily justifies the purchase price, but there's much more here than "A Guide to Composting Human Manure".
The Humanure Handbook dispels some fallacies of commonly accepted and widely repeated composting techniques. Even if you're already an avid composter (and I was) chances are Jenkins has some surprises for you (and he did).
As social commentary, I can think of no other "how-to" book that tells such a compelling, frightening tale of blind assumption and culturally ingrained self-destructiveness. We see with startling clarity how the "civilized" world has combined ignorance, chemistry and technology to convert a needed resource into a nightmarish and wholly unnecessary problem. We are forced to confront the false assumptions each of us has unconsciously absorbed. And, by extension, we are forced to question how many other fundamentally bad ideas have become invisibly institutionalized in modern society.
Unlike many preachy indictments of modern life, however, The Humanure Handbook provides answers rather than merely posing questions.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By allison on October 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
Joe Jenkins is a great guy with a great message to spread. He wakes up his readers to the possibilities of a greatly overlooked resource. Many people, like myself, probably have thought about the use of humane manure for garden fertilizer, but it seemed too crazy. Jenkins EMPOWERS us to take advantage of our byproducts, and shows us that there's nothing to fear! Humanmanure composting makes SO much sense. It provides needed fertilizer, reduces pollution, and reduces the need for huge, dirty sewage infrastructure. It's a shame that so many toilets continue to flush every day.
I am currently doing grass-roots development work in rural Bolivia, and am hoping to implement humanure composting in the way Jenkins teaches it. This low-tech technology has SUCH tremendous potential in the developing world, where farmers ALWAYS need more fertilizer, and where there are often not even latrines, let alone sewage systems. Excrement usually just lies about, eaten by pigs and dogs, or leaking into water sources, thus continuing the viscous cycle of parasite diseases.
Joe Jenkins has empowered me to do what makes sense by nature and recycle precious organic nutrients. Everyone should read this book and wake up to these fecal realities. I read his book over a year ago, and am still so excited that I'm considering doing humanure research for my PhD! Read away...
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