how to process human manure for worm food

by Allan Williams
(Central City Louisiana)

how should human manure be processed for worm food?

how much human waste should be given in the worm diet?

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Oct 28, 2019
Re: How to process human manure for worm food
by: Stephan

I would add the human waste a little at a time to worm trays. I place newspaper in a basin and poop on that, wrap it up like a parcel and put it in the worm tray. In larger quantities, for example a Joe Jenkins style bucket full of feces, urine and sawdust, the human waste composter must be larger and so that the worms can move away. It needs to be well aerated. You do not want anaerobic digestion taking place where you have worms. This would happen if the composter is airtight. Worms need to breathe oxygen, like any air breathing animal, which they do through their skins, which are like lungs. Their 'lungs' or skin is also burned in the presence of ammonia which is a by product of degrading urine. Ammonia is effectively absorbed by there being a lot of dry organic matter, but this also sets up the hot composting process, which once again is bad for the worms. They can't take too much heat. They also drown in too much liquid, if their bedding gets to wet for prolonged periods. Dry organic matter like sawdust soaks up this liquid. In a normal compost pile they can move in and out as the heat, moisture content and chemistry of the pile changes. Find a way to facilitate it draining, and add dry organic matter like sawdust from untreated wood, so that the feces remain damp but not swimming in any loose liquid, there is some aeration and adding of material is slow it should be feasible. Many tiny house owners have worm toilets, but they add some organic matter to absorb ammonia, a little sawdust on each pile. I also advise that you add the fecal matter slowly, so that the worms have time to process it before there is a thick layer that traps heat, ammonia and cuts off oxygen. If you can manage these things then you should have solved the problem. I know of people who have worms visiting their composters. They have a bucket system, collecting a bucket at a time of feces, urine and sawdust, which is emptied into a conical plastic composter. Worms visit this system, but one needs to note several advantages. The system is not airtight, the worms can migrate out of the bottom or top if conditions are unfavorable, there is a lot of dry sawdust to absorb moisture and ammonia and excess liquid will drain out of the bottom. I myself have fed all my own humanure to worms for over six months. However, I separated the urine off, put the feces in shallow, well aerated worm trays, on a bed of predigested vermicast and organic matter, and only seven or so poops per large A2 tray, moving to a new tray every week. In two months the worms had done their good work. After this the vermicast must stand for at least a year before you use it on the garden, as this brings down the pathogen count enormously. It is especially important where cross infection between groups of individuals can occur and is thus governed by state legislation, and perhaps checking on local legislation first will determine the direction you take.

Kind regards

Stephan Kloppert

Author of "How to start a profitable worm business on a shoestring budget"

Editor of

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How worms recycle human manure