Here's a novel idea for people into sustainable living: How about installing a bio-digestor in your plumbing? A bio-digestor will collect all the waste from your kitchen and bathroom alike and transform it into two useful substances: compost for the garden and methane gas for your appliances. That's about as good as it gets when it comes to reducing, reusing and recycling. Read on to learn more about these devices and how you can put them to work.
The Magic of Aerobic Bacteria
A bio-digestor is basically a personal sewage treatment plant. It's installed in place of a septic tank, so it collects all the food scraps, human waste and all the other solid matter that gets flushed down the pipes in your house. Instead of just filling up the tank until you need to have it pumped out, however, the bio-digestor takes all that waste and transforms it into useful material.
The process works because bio-digestors let air flow into the waste, which allows aerobic bacteria to break down the sewage into less offensive and more useful forms. A good bio-digestor can transform waste to the point where it can be safely discharged into the environment, but a conservation-minded homeowner will take advantage of the materials it produces and put them to good use.
Healthy Gardens and Free Fuel
The material comes in two forms. One is compost, which you can use to enrich the soil for the non-edible plants you grow in your yard. All those bits of food from the kitchen contain powerful nutrients that will help your garden thrive. However, since the mix contains human waste as well, you shouldn't use it in the vegetable garden due to health and safety risks.
The other useable material is methane gas. As the waste breaks down in the bio-digestor, gas rises to the top and can be piped into your house to power a clothes dryer, stove or grill. This can save you money on your fuel bill by supplementing or replacing gas or electricity you would otherwise need to purchase from the grid. This is not a DIY project – make sure you have an expert assist you with the installation if you do decide to harvest gas so you avoid potentially deadly safety hazards.
From Developing Countries to You
Bio-digestors are popular in off-the-grid communities in developing countries, and are often powered with animal manure to create enough methane gas to fuel stoves and other burning appliances. They can also provide great benefits to North American households looking for sustainability, waste elimination and alternative energy sources. If you’re interested in installing a bio-digestor, contact a plumber who can help you with the specifications and make sure that your setup complies with local building code regulations.