As things are, bugging in vs bugging out is a lifestyle choice. Considerations such as a stockpile, underground bunker, medical supplies and a self-contained garden and animal food system can make the choice easy to bug in for survival.
Other reasons to stay put on a homestead rather than bug out, can be having elderly, younger, disabled or injured family members or a big one: this is your family’s land and it has sentimental value and you are not going anywhere.
This choice may be taken away in a SHTF scenario and those that have prepared may be better equipped to bug in. Those that did not make any considerations with supplies or equipment will have a world of hurt thrown at their feet.
One thing is for sure, that within a few days that waste will start to build up. One person on average produces up to 3 pints of urine a day and one pound of poop. When you’re bugging in, here are some of our top tips and techniques for survival sanitation.
Disposing of Urine
For most people, water is the most common way of eliminating urine. In a TEOTWAWKI world, water can become invaluable and you do not want to wash it away by the gallons just for urine removal.
For those who want to dispose of it, in a few days the ammonia will develop and become very strong. That’s the time to remove it. If you choose to dump it, remember it will kill any vegetation it touches.
Dumpit away from the living grounds, under the cover of night if you need to avoid announcing your presence. Be sure it’s over some gravel or in a cat hole (pictured), or one of the methods below.
Are There Any Benefits for Keeping Urine Rather than Dumping It?
There are quite a few uses for urine, so I would recommend collecting it and keeping it separate from any solid waste. A bucket with a tightly fitted lid would suffice for this for both the ladies and gents.
- Fertilizer Nutrient rich in phosphorus, potassium and nitrogen, urine makes a great fertilizer. E4C:source
- Generating energy A urine powered generator uses electrolysis to convert urine to fuel.
- Dental care The Romans used urine as a cure for bleeding gums and gingivitis.
- Vet care for animals The romans also used urine to cure sheep with bile and lung issues and sick bees.edu:source
- Compost latrines Researchers are simplifying compost latrines and encouraging rural countries to use them as a fertilizer generator for viable food sources. Some plant species especially love the compost produced, such as watercress and mushrooms. E4C:source
- Cleansing multi-agent After a few days ammonia develops in urine, and it’s in almost every cleaning prominent product out there as it is a degreaser, kills mildew and mold and lifts dirt.
- Sets dyes Europeans used it as a clothes brightener, but I like the way urine can set clothes dye.The Smithsonian claims the booming textile industry used about 1000 people’s pee per year when it was at its height.source
- Tanning and curing leather Urea and enzymes softens leather, while ammonia will be a good soak for leather to slough off hair and debris.
- Gun powder Until it was more readily available in the 1900’s; the nitrogen in urine was the source for the boom in gunpowder.source
An astronaut did come up with a filtering method for turning pee and waste into water by osmosis (Salon: source), but its rather glitchy and has a lot of bulk waste with a need for high energy intakes, so it’s not on the list as a viable resource for preppers just yet, but here’s a video:
Disposing of Feces
In many resources I see the repeated options on the many ways to throw feces out and for the preppers and survivalists who do not want to leave evidence of passing through, or who are our hunting or scavenging, it may be ideal to bury any waste.
If you choose to dispose of the human feces, the best way is to bury it, such as with a cat hole or using a 5 gallon bucket lined with some heavy duty plastic bags. This is also something you do not want to waste precious water on.
To keep the smell down in the bucket especially during the hotter months sprinkle a bit of quicklime over each fresh addition, adding dry materials will help. Shredded newspapers, mosses, dry grass, or you can use wood ash or sawdust after each visit to the bucket.
A touch of bleach will kill active bacteria and microorganisms and their multiplication efforts, and make sure any dangerous overflow isn’t a super-amoeba carrying some nasty transmittable infection with it.
Trash with blood and other bodily fluids can be disposed of with the refuse, and buried far away from the homestead (this includes tampons, wound wrappings, etc) or used in special ways (see our Intruder Welcome Mat below).
In reality, on thinking of a working homestead where resources are scarce and you need to be able to utilize everything that is produced in that self-sufficient and self-contained “ecosystem,” the smarter thing to do is use the feces for what it is: a readily available, self-sourced material aka biosolid.
Are there any benefits for keeping feces rather than dumping them?
Actually, it is smarter not to dump…well, the dump. That is, if you have the means and schedule built in where there isn’t a seriously overwhelming build up.
While many may wrinkle their nose at its use, composting the waste can be a bio-boost to your garden, as with any animal manure. There are many new developments in its uses that show what this black gold can do.
Here are some interesting examples of uses for human excrement:
- Fertilizer or “humanure”
Human poop is a bio-diverse and phosphorus rich form of energy that plants can use to easily convert into food. Britain farms phosphate from feces and over 200 developing country farmers are using this method now as it’s a readily available resource in all countries, the global potential is amazing. Sciencedirect: source
- Fuel pellets and briquettes from human waste
The most useful application for recycling human feces is converting them into briquettes for fuel. I am not talking about compost or biogas, but actual burnable fuel as energy.
This is invaluable for bugging out and bugging in, and a Gates foundation grant is funding research into making a toilet that automatically does this, and available economically on a global scale. This could be a game changer in some counties!
- Biogas, SynGas, and hydrogen gas
It’s not quite affordable for the public yet, but machines using solar energy break down human excrement into usable gas energy.
Advanced humanure and urine in composting and crops from urine video:
Disposing of Animal Waste
This might seem like a no-brainer, but actually it can be dangerous to let too much manure from animals kept for food to accumulate.
E.coli, algae blooms, and salmonella can contaminate the groundwater from an overabundance of stockpiled animal manure. Manure also produces heat and can spontaneously ignite fouling the air over a large area.
In moderation, it’s life-giving and a necessity for any prepper or homesteader who is bugging in for a length of time to get a handle on its maintenance.
How much manure do animals produce?
- One cow that is lactating (in milk) can produce over 150 pounds per day
- One horse can poop every 2 hours, with an average of 3-5 pounds per poop
- One goat can poop up to 1 ton every year
- 20 chickens can produce over 4 pounds of guano a day
What Are the Benefits of Keeping Food Animal Waste?
The biggest reason to keep food animal waste is of course the beneficial nutrients as an additive to soil. You can use it straight from the source, or compost it to make a living and nutrient dense organic matter that enriches the soils fertility by adding essential elements and microorganisms that break down the plant matter for consumption.
The way to use food animal and all grazing animals poop is to not use it when its super fresh, but wait until its decomposed down and drier and can be broken into an even topping for more flavorful and bountiful vegetables. This method would also give your living compost pile a boost or be a plentiful source of nutrients for your worm composting bin.
The best animals for manure production are:
Birds that eats seeds may transfer weed seeds into the garden
Animal waste can be burned as fuel, and it has no smell when dry. When broken down it is a source of the biogas methane and can generate energy. SARE: source
Using dung as a fuel source is possible, but it involves extensive drying as manure is high in its moisture content. Cooking chips from cattle and grazing animals are used in lesser developed countries as fuel for the cooking fire due to their abundance and, but the heat of the flame is poor and low output.
Use Poultry Litter to Make Fire Starter Bricks
Making fire starter packs from chicken and turkey litter has shown to be a promising survival method using “renewable energy”. The litter is a mix of droppings high in nitrogen, feathers, straw, bedding material, sawdust, and food and burns well due to its dryness.
Bundling litter tightly in cloth or paper, and tying with twine can be a good way to store some fire starter bricks. Just ignite the outer wrap material and you will have the start to a nicely fueled fire.
The official method of using turkey and poultry litter as a renewable energy source is called “pyrolysis.” Turkey litter is a “green energy” and facilities in England and Minnesota rely on it to fuel their electricity.
A video on how cow dung is converted to fuel and cooking gas:
Disposing of Pet Waste
Please take note: Unlike the food animal’s place on the farm with its manure providing a multiuse resource, your pet’s poop should be disposed of for a variety of reasons. Your pet’s waste is considered an environmental pollutant by the EPA along the lines of pesticides, herbicides and acid drainage!
Digging a latrine far away from the house and any water supply is the best method for disposing of your pets’ waste.
TAKE NOTE: I have seen many videos and articles that claim you can use a pet’s waste the same as any other animals and you can traditionally compost it along with human waste. It is NOT the same and should not be used on any food bearing plants or around food bearing animals.
Certain sites claim that you can use pet waste if it’s heated properly at over 140 degrees, but “heating may not kill all worms.” Studies are still “ongoing” on whether heating the pets poop will kill all roundworms.
Are there any benefits for keeping a pet’s waste rather than dumping them?
No, your pet’s naughty nuggets actually can contain 23 million fecal coliform bacteria in one solid gram that can live in the soil for YEARS according to the CDC.
Dangerous things that live in dog feces include:
- Worms: hook, round, whip, tape (human can get these), and pin (humans again)
- Parvo (Doggie AIDSx 10, even if they live, their organs are severely compromised)
- Zoonoses (humans can contract even when the pets are gone for years) resulting in diarrhea, stomach cramps, vomiting, achy muscles and high fevers
It is not manure by far, dog waste is the anti-manure as it actually feeds the weeds that choke gardens and crop producing plants, and promotes the growth of waterway algae which chokes the fish by decreasing oxygen in the water.
Dog poop and its effects on the environment video:
Disposing of Trash
As each person on average generates an estimated 1,589 pounds of trash per year, with the daily amount akin to 4 pounds per day, the buildup of trash can be real problem with any bugging in situation.
It doesn’t have to be if you employ a few smart techniques to help conquer it before it becomes an overwhelmingly stinky health hazard and the local critter buffet.
The disposal of trash starts with breaking it down. You will want to sort useable from actual trash that has no future use at all, to anyone. No one’s treasure. There probably won’t be much left after you have sorted it properly.
Breaking down the trash
- Compost You will want to take out anything organic for the compost pile.
- Metals From fishing lures to a conductor in an electrically charged makeshift alarm, pull out any metal for future use.
- Glass Bottles and glassware can be sterilized so this is a reason to keep them. A touch of bleach water will disinfect the surfaces. Glass can be boiled and sanitized. When heated with a lamp work torch or other small intense heat source, glass can be melded into new objects including vessels for storage.
- Paper Any paper waste can be broken down into a pulp and recycled to recreate new paper, toilet paper, fire starters, or oil blotters.
- Plastics Plastics can be bleached and wont rot, so these can be handy for seedlings, feeders for the animals, or mold materials for candy, soap, or pressed butters, etc.
What is left is best buried. A smoking fire can alert looters or opportunists where you are located and in a true post-SHTF world, there is no use in advertising. If you have trash, that means you have resources.
One crucial thing that will come into play to keep everyone healthy and the homestead functioning at an optimum production level is the proper elimination of sanitation. For the unprepared, this will not be as important at first when SHTF.
For the prepared, survival sanitation when bugging in will be a daily drill in efficiency that the whole family will need to play an active part in for a clean environment and disease free self-containment.