Waste Disposal During An Emergency

Waste disposal is still important during an emergency situation because the environmental crisis is still imminent. The improper disposal of wastes negatively affects the quality of water and soil, hence affecting life.

Dirty water has been causing health problems like cholera and dysentery. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), water-borne diseases are responsible for up to 4,000 deaths each year. Water is commonly contaminated by fecal matter and this remains to be the leading cause of the spread of illnesses like diarrhea and intestinal parasites.

Soil is likewise affected by improper waste disposal. It becomes the carrier of diseases that affect human health. They also negatively impact agricultural life forms. For many years, garbage was just dumped in random spots and this led to unhealthy soil. This snowballed into poor sanitation and the spread of illnesses.

The Bubonic Plague spread from China through Europe during the Middle Ages. The carriers of the disease include flies and rodents that flourish from improper waste disposal. The same plague killed about a third of the entire population of Europe.

The aforementioned just proves how important it is for everyone to dispose of their wastes properly. According to the USEPA or the US Environmental Protection Agency, the average American generates and disposes of about 4.6 pounds of garbage per day. If left to accumulate in random places, this garbage will definitely negatively impact the environment and human health.

Composting Toilets

One of the major wastes you need to tend to as a survivalist is a fecal matter. You can’t just dump it anywhere because you might use soil and water as a medium to spread illnesses. It is also extremely unsanitary.

One of the easiest, environmentally-friendly, and efficient way to dispose of your fecal matter is through a composting toilet. This also caters to liquid human wastes. One of the most popular brands of composting toilets is the C-Head. These toilets are designed to provide you comfort wherever you are. These models compost human wastes.

Other Methods Of Sewage Disposal

Not everyone has the luxury to purchase a composting toilet. If your house has its own septic tank, then you no longer have to rely on the sewage disposal system of the local government. Just make sure to minimize your toilet paper usage and avoid flushing the sheets down the toilet to prevent clogging. It’s better to burn or bury your toilet paper. It’s inconvenient but it’s safer for your home sewage system.

Instead of toilet papers, you can also try using bidets. This is a hose that emits water for you to clean up with. You can use it with soap to stay hygienic. This is so much more sustainable than using toilet papers. This is also better for the environment.

During a state of crisis, the water supply might be cut off. That means there might be no supply of water in your toilet so that you can flush it out. You can manually flush your waste by pouring down a bucket of water. It’s better to use “gray water” for flushing your toilet. “Gray water” refers to used water, like the water you showered in or used to rinse the dishes. Instead of letting it go to waste, you can be a true survivalist by repurposing it into something you can flush your toilet with.

There will come a time when your septic system will be filled to the brim. Septic tank cleaning services might be unavailable during a crisis. When this happens, you should dispose of your human waste by burying it in the soil. Make sure to bury it in a spot that’s far from any water reserves because you can contaminate the water and spread illnesses. It also helps to be very picky about the water you drink. Don’t drink it if it came from an untrusted source.

Another way to dispose of your wastes is by building an outhouse or latrine. For this, you’ll need a deep pit that will house your wastes. Make sure to have a lid to cover the pit when it’s not being used. If you feel like going to an outhouse every time you need to go is too inconvenient, you can get a slop jar. This is like a makeshift indoor toilet with a fitted lid. Once full, dispose of its contents in the outhouse.

How To Construct A Latrine

Latrines are constructed for proper human waste disposal and to avoid water contamination. Pick a site for your latrine. Make sure it’s about fifty feet or fifteen meters away from any other water source, like a water reserve or a lake. If there’s a deep well, make sure to set the latrine at a lower ground than the well so that it won’t contaminate it.

The top area of the latrine should be at least 6 inches above ground level. This prevents it from getting flooded when it rains. Attach a fitting lid that seals the opening. This prevents flies and rodents from entering. Any stagnant water can serve as a breeding ground for mosquitoes, flies, and other insects. Cover the excreta with four inches of soil every few days to keep it as dry as possible.

Dig the pit to be five feet deep. There’s no need to make the pit opening wide so that it’s easier to seal shut. You can cover it with a sturdy board that people can safely walk on. This prevents anyone from falling in.

Once the latrine pit fills up, take the soil you dug out and place it on top of the pit. This seals all the waste in and over time, it will turn into nourishment for the soil. You can follow the aforementioned steps to dig another pit. Make sure to watch out for power lines or water pipes that you might hit while you are digging the latrine.

Garbage Disposal And Management

There are three main things to remember when disposing of garbage: reduce, reuse, and recycle.


The best way to properly dispose of your garbage is by reducing the amount of garbage you produce. You can do this in a million little ways that’ll add up in the long run. Prepare only the exact amount of food that will satiate you so that you won’t throw out anything to waste. Opt for foods that are “cleanly” packaged that uses paper instead of non-biodegradable plastic. It’s also healthier for you and the environment to eat whole foods instead of processed foods. Processed foods involve so much more energy to create, hence emitting more carbon dioxide wastes than whole foods.

You can also incorporate these greener choices in your long-term habits. Instead of storing your food in plastic buckets, opt for glass jars that are reusable. Save the cans from your consumed canned goods and bring them to a recycling center after the crisis has ended. These conscious decisions will positively impact the environment.


Reusing your garbage means repurposing them so that you’ll get one last use out of them before they turn into waste. This is the least desirable method of garbage disposal because it only delays the inevitable, but it’s still better than nothing.

Take your empty water bottles and reuse them to contain your drink for the time being. You can wash out glass bottles and use them to store various liquids. The extra usage saves you from purchasing more bottles or containers in the future. It also offsets the amount of carbon dioxide emissions generated when producing the bottles.


Recycling is turning something that’s supposedly waste into something that’ll benefit you. You can use leftover food and animal remains and turn them into compost. This will nourish the soil which eliminates the need for chemical fertilizers to nourish your plants. The same principle can be applied to many other wastes.

What About The Rest Of My Garbage?

There are some wastes that you just can’t reduce, reuse, or recycle. In this scenario, you have two options: burn it or bury it.

You can burn your wastes and use it as fire fuel for when you’re cooking or you need a source of warmth on cold nights. One problem you might encounter is that these burning wastes may emit unpleasant odors. That’s why it’s advisable to use covered enclosures like a chimera. This contains the fire and lessens the likelihood of starting a wildfire.

Waste Disposal Check List

This checklist will help you get ready to be in full control of your garbage disposal and management during a crisis.

  1. Slop jar, composting toilet, or portable toilet
  2. Burning enclosure or chimenea
  3. Shovel
  4. Compost bin
  5. Plastic buckets

Chris Green

Chris has always had an adventurous soul, and his love for the outdoors eventually led him to become a professional life skills advisor. He explains a multitude of different topics ranging from disaster preparedness and wilderness survival to self-sufficiency.

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