Can Human Waste Be Used As Fertilizer – All Explained 2023

Have you ever asked where your excreta go when drained from the soakaway pit? Probably it’s dumped somewhere or used for one purpose or the other.

But since farmers use animal feces as manure, can human waste be used as fertilizer? This post will explain everything you need to know.

Is it safe to use human waste in composting for plants you can eat?

No, it is not safe to use human waste in composting for edible plants. Human waste can contain harmful bacteria and pathogens that can contaminate the compost and the plants grown in it, making them unsafe to eat.

It is best to use only plant-based materials in your compost, such as leaves, grass clippings, and food scraps, to ensure the safety and health of your plants and the environment. But it seems some people believe that human waste could be a possible way to fertilise your plans.

Proper Ways To Use Human Waste As Fertilizer

Using human waste as fertilizer has been done for centuries. It is an excellent source of fertilizer for plants.

There are proper ways to use human excreta without causing harm to plants or people.

They are:

Compost: The most common method is to compost it. Composting human waste is a great way to reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfills. There are three ways to carry out this process, namely:

Cold Composting: Cold composting is by adding human waste to a compost bin or pile along with other organic matter, such as leaves and grass clippings. The bin needs regular turning to help speed up the composting process. This process takes months to destroy the pathogens. Once it’s completely broken down, you can use them in gardens and other plantings. Thus, the product is known as biosolids.

Hot Composting: Hot composting is the process of composting human waste at high temperatures to kill pathogens. The process typically involves raising the compost pile temperature to 60 and 70 degrees Celsius for at least three days. Some hot composting systems also use additional methods to ensure that the compost pile reaches the desired temperature, such as insulating the compost or using forced air circulation. It is an effective way to compost human waste because it kills pathogens that can cause disease and is also effective in breaking down waste in large volumes for a relatively short time. However, hot composting systems can be expensive to build and operate and requires careful management to maintain the desired composting temperature.

Vermicompost: Another best method for using human waste as fertilizer is in a worm bin. Worms consume the waste and turn it into vermicompost, an excellent fertilizer. This method is the best if you have limited space because worm bins can be small and compact.

Humanure: Another way to use human waste as fertilizer is to mix it with water and apply it directly to plants. This is called humanure and It is often mixed with urine, which is high in nitrogen. To do this, urine is added to a bucket or other water container and allowed to decompose for several weeks. The water is then diluted and applied to plants. But when applying it to the soil, you should be careful because it can contain harmful bacteria.

Crops Grown Using Human Waste

In recent years, there has been an increase in farms growing crops using human waste.

The waste is used as a natural fertilizer and helps improve the quality of the soil.

Crops grown using human waste are often known as sewage sludge crops.

Sewage sludge is the solid waste produced when the sewage is treated at a wastewater treatment plant.

The crops grown using this method are often more nutritious and yield better than the ones cultivated using traditional methods.

Examples are:

  • Corn
  • Wheat
  • Soybeans
  • Fruits and vegetables.

These crops grow well because the excreta contains nitrogen and phosphorus.

Countries That Have Used It

It’s no longer surprising some countries use human excreta in agricultural fields.

They collect and treat fecal sludge to improve soil fertility and increase crop yields.

The countries are:

  • China
  • Australia
  • Netherlands
  • USA
  • India
  • United Kingdom
  • Japan
  • Vietnam
  • North Korea
  • Sweden, etc.

In addition, many Sub-Saharan African nations use human excreta for agricultural purposes.

The Pros Of Using Human Waste As Fertilizer

Below are some pros to growing crops using human waste.

  • Human waste is a natural source of nutrients and minerals that can help promote plant growth.
  • Human waste can also help improve soil structure and increase water retention, making it an ideal option for farmers and gardeners looking to improve their yield.
  • Using human feces as fertilizer can help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the amount of waste that goes to landfills.
  • It is a renewable resource, making it a sustainable option for fertilizer.
  • Additionally, human excreta is more environmentally friendly.

The Drawbacks Of Using Human Waste

While human waste can be an effective fertilizer, it can also pose risks to public health if treated wrongly.

  • Human waste can contain harmful bacteria and viruses that cause illnesses and diseases.
  • It can contain toxic chemicals that can contaminate the soil and water.
  • While some treatment options are available to make human feces safe, these treatments can be expensive and may not be available in all areas.
  • Another potential con is the smell: Human waste can be very smelly.When it’s not well-treated, the odor will cause some health challenges.
  • Finally, human waste can contain toxins that could potentially harm plants or animals that come into contact with it.

Caution: You should apply human waste in moderation.

Too much can harm plants and the environment. It is best to consult with a local expert to determine the quantity your soil can safely handle.


Human waste can be used as fertilizer. It has many nutrients plants need to grow.

However, it must be well-treated before using it on plants.

Otherwise, it may contain harmful bacteria that can infect plants and people.

The above ways are safe and effective for your plants, but you must choose a method that is best suited for the situation to avoid any health or environmental hazards.


What’s the duration for human waste to compost?

The duration for human waste to compost can vary depending on a number of factors, including the type of composting system being used and the temperature and moisture levels of the compost.

In general, it can take several weeks to several months for human waste to fully compost.

Composting systems that use bacteria and other microorganisms to break down the waste can be more efficient, but they may require additional management and maintenance.

It is important to follow the instructions for your specific composting system and to monitor the compost regularly to ensure that it is composting properly.

Is human waste hazardous?

Human waste, also known as feces or excrement, can contain harmful bacteria and pathogens that can cause illness if they come into contact with other people or the environment.

For this reason, human waste is considered a hazardous material and should be handled with care and as directed by your local authorities.

Is it safe to dispose of human waste in the recycle bin?

No, it is unsafe to dispose of human waste in the recycle bin.

Human waste can contain harmful bacteria and pathogens that can cause illness if they come into contact with other people or the environment.