Ecological Sanitation - An Overview

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For most people sanitation means sitting on a toilet and flushing away the excreta to waste or simply sitting or squatting on a pit toilet and letting the waste matter build up in a pit. In both cases the excreta is disposed of and forgotten in the quickest and most convenient way. To be frank, this is an entirely logical view - there are far more important things to concern us all.

But in a world which is becoming increasingly polluted from excreta, and where many of the world뭩 population do not have access to a decent toilet at all, it does make sense to look at excreta in another way.

The fact is that excreta can easily be made safe and contains valuable nutrients which can be used for enhancing the growth of food. And the methods of achieving this are not complex or expensive. On the contrary, they can be undertaken very cheaply, with great benefit to those who try.

Ecological Sanitation (EcoSan) concerns the recycling of human excreta to form products which are useful in agriculture. Those who believe in ecosan see the human excreta, not as a waste but as a valuable resource. And a resource which is renewed every day! To put it simply Ecological Sanitation is a system that makes use of human excreta and turns it into something useful, where the available nutrients can be recycled in agriculture to enhance food production, with minimal risk of pollution of the environment and with minimal threat to human health.

In fact processed faeces can turn into excellent humus. This humus contains a well balanced mix of nutrients, such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, which are easily taken up by plants. Urine also contains a similar range of nutrients, being particularly rich in nitrogen, which makes it useful for feeding green vegetables and maize. Even a combination of urine and faeces, when allowed to compost together in a shallow pit, with soil, wood ash and leaves, can turn into a sweet smelling and fertile humus. This humus is quite unlike the original matter from which it was formed, and when mixed with poor soil can greatly enhance vegetable production. Such a conversion is nothing short of a miracle of Nature.

This section of the website is divided into: EcoSan Overview, The Arborloo, The Fossa Alterna, and The Skyloo.


Resources to Download


Toilets That Make Compost. Complete Book

(individual chapters unavailable)


EASA - An Ecological Approach to Sanitation in Africa. Complete book

EASA 01 - Cover

EASA 02 - Acknowledgements

EASA 03 - Preface

EASA 04 - Table of Contents

EASA 05 - Chapter 01 - Introduction

EASA 06 - Chapter 02 - The Answer Lies In The Soil

EASA 07 - Chapter 03 - The Arborloo - The Single Pit Compost Toilet

EASA 08 - Chapter 04 - The Fossa Alterna - The Double Pit Compost Toilet

EASA 09 - Chapter 05 - The Skyloo - The Urine Diversion Toilet

EASA 10 - Chapter 06 - The Importance of Nutrients in Plant Growth

EASA 11 - Chapter 07 - Improving Topsoil with Fossa Humus

EASA 12 - Chapter 08 - Using Fossa Humus in Vegetable Growing

EASA 13 - Chapter 09 - Plant Trials with Fossa Humus

EASA 14 - Chapter 10 - The Usefulness of Urine

EASA 15 - Chapter 11 - Plant Trials using Urine

EASA 16 - Chapter 12 - Combining the Toilet with the Vegetable Garden

EASA 17 - Chapter 13 - Gardening Techniques That Assist EcoSan Supported Vegetable Production

EASA 18 - Chapter 14 - Some Special Techniques

EASA 19 - Chapter 15 - EcoSan and Health

EASA 20 - Chapter 16 - Passing on the Message

EASA 21 - Summing Up

EASA 22 - Bibliography


TESS - Teaching Ecological Sanitation in Schools. Complete book

TESS 01 - Cover & table of contents

TESS 02 - Introduction for schools

TESS 03 - Schools Eco-Sanitation in a wider context

TESS 04 - Basic principles of ecological toilets

TESS 05 - Introductory lecture & flip chart

TESS 06 - Building an Arborloo with spiral grass superstructure

TESS 07 - Building an Arborloo with door and ring of trees

TESS 08 - Building a Fossa Alterna

TESS 09 - Building a brick VIP toilet with door

TESS 10 - Building a brick VIP toilet with door in the community

TESS 11 - Building a small spiral brick VIP toilet

TESS 12 - Building a brick spiral BVIP with internal vent pipe

TESS 13 - Building a brick spiral BVIP with external vent pipe

TESS 14 - Building a urine collection tank

TESS 15 - How to make simple hand washing devices

TESS 16 - Building a small communal hand washing tank

TESS 17 - Demonstrating effect of urine on vegetables and maize

TESS 18 - Garden trials with urine on vegetables

TESS 19 - Growing spinach from seed and fertilising with urine

TESS 20 - Increasing the yield of maize using urine

TESS 21 - Planting trees near toilet pits

TESS 22 - Planting and fertilising a woodlot of gum trees

TESS 23 - Recycling pit compost taken from school toilets

TESS 24 - Open day at the school

TESS 25 - Overall conclusions


ETB - Ecological Toilets Book. Complete book

ETB 01 - Cover

ETB 02 - Acknowledgements

ETB 03 - Table of Contents

ETB 04 - Chapter 01 - Introduction

ETB 05 - Chapter 02 - Basic Principles

ETB 06 - Chapter 03 - How to build an upgradeable Arborloo

ETB 07 - Chapter 04 - Upgrading the Arborloo to VIP toilet

ETB 08 - Chapter 05 - Alternating or rotating between pits

ETB 09 - Chapter 06 - Using urine diversion

ETB 10 - Chapter 07 - Using toilet compost and urine in the garden

ETB 11 - Chapter 08 - Summing up and conclusions

ETB 12 - Bibliography

Additional resources on main resource page here


2022 Dr Peter Morgan