Your emergency toilet will become very important very quickly. There are a few basic items that you will need for your makeshift emergency toilet.

Some Emergency Toilet Options:

  1. Dig a long drop

The long drop should be at least 1 metre deep and 30cm – 40cm across.

After use, add a layer of sawdust, dry leaf matter, or other organic matter. This will help to reduce the smell.

When the long drop is nearly full, cover the top 30cm with soil. And dig a new long drop.

2. Buy a chemical toilet

3. The two bucket system

One bucket is for pee and the other bucket is for poo. Buy buckets with lids that fit.

At the end of each day the buckets need to be emptied into the long drop, or into a dedicated ‘toilet’ wheelie bin. Every night the buckets must be cleaned thoroughly to reduce the chances of household members becoming unwell.

Plastic garden chair

Cut a hole in the seat of an old garden chair and place the chair over the bucket (optional step).

Re-used water bottles

Some of your daily water ration will be used to clean the buckets and dilute the pee.

Bucket lid display - list of examples of carbon-rich materials
Buckets of sawdust and leaf litter

You will need a supply of carbon-rich material to add to your long drop, and to your poo bucket after each use. Fine material like untreated sawdust is ideal. Sawdust can be used in combination with other carbon-rich material like leaf-litter, soil, untreated wood chippings and shredded paper.

The carbon-rich layer will help to dry out the humanure, reduce the production of bacteria, and make your bucket less smelly.

Example of labelling the pee bucket
Instructions for the pee bucket

Label the buckets. If there are non-readers in your household, add a picture to each bucket.

The pee bucket is straightforward to look after. Add a decent amount of water to the clean bucket. This will reduce the smell and allow the diluted pee to be tipped directly onto the garden at the end of the day. Clean the bucket.

Example of labelling the poo bucket
Instructions for the poo bucket

Add a layer of sawdust or other carbon-rich material to the bottom of the clean poo bucket. After each use, cover the poo with a layer of carbon-rich material. The aim is to keep the contents of the bucket dry to reduce bacteria and to reduce the smell.

Toilet paper is added to the poo bucket, not to the pee bucket.

At the end of the day, the contents of the poo bucket can be dumped into the long drop, or you will need to have a wheelie bin dedicated to ‘humanure’. Add a layer of sawdust to the long drop or wheelie bin. Clean the bucket and add a layer of carbon-rich material ready for the next day.

You can find a lot of material on the internet, this is one method. Think about what will work for your household. And, of course, hand washing is very important, too.