Picaloo is now open for your “business.”

Ah, nothing like spending a bracing, blustery morning at a composting toilet opening!  Pictures of the exterior, and a bit of info, here. Also in attendance were several key members of the 10-year-long effort to get the thing, cameras from KOMO and KING, and one Ciscoe Morris.

And, yes, there was a toilet paper tearing ceremony.

All the hoopla aside, here’s what you really want to know: HOW TO USE THE THING.

  • The toilet will be unlocked at all hours, at all times of the year (though, once inside, the door is lockable, of course). A motion-detecting security light will pop on at night, and nearly University Prep will be leaving some of their outdoor lights on as well.
  • If you only need the station for urination, use the toilet as you normally would (80% post-consumer content TP is provided), note your contribution to the tally sheet, hit the hand sanitizer, and you’re on your way.
  • If a number two is what you’re there to do, there’s another step: a scoop of wood chips atop your dooty, once you’ve done your duty. The system is designed to break down waste aerobically (in the presence of oxygen); the wood chips provide some space in the waste for the bacteria to do their thing. Again, note your contribution on the tally sheet, sanitize, and go on your way.
  • Should you leave a “personal mess” in the facilities, or track in dirt or such, environmentally-friendly cleaning products and a broom are located inside the facility as well.
  • As for odors from the toilet, there is a solar-powered fan which keeps the people section under negative pressure and vents the poo section out the roof.

Here is a diagram of the toilet at the manufacturer’s website.

Now, before you go driving across town with a stomach full of bran muffins, the Picaloo (we voted on the name today, too) is not openly looking for “donations.” But, should you happen to be in the neighborhood, or checking out the Picardo P-Patch, and your chili dog lunch has met its untimely end, then, well, by all means…you know.

Should you, dear reader, want to know more about the entire endeavor, whether from a usage standpoint or from a How Can I Get One For My Own P-Patch/Backyard/Year-Round Outdoor Preschool, here are two contact points for you:

  • Gwen Hestercamp, Chair of the Composting Toilet Committee: gwenhestercamp (at) hotmail.com
  • Trent Elwing, resident composting toilet know-it-all: trelwing (at) gmail.com


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  2. […] the Picaloo, Seattle’s first composting toilet (read about its grand opening back on Saturday, April 3rd here). This fundraiser dinner is designed to help retire the last of the composting toilet debt, as well […]

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