Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Bag 'em or Burn 'em ?


At our remote Cabin in Northern Canada, 
we have no regular toilet or sewage disposal system. 


What to do with used Ostomy pouches & flanges ? 

We do have the finest outhouse on the lake, 
but it's only used for 'natural composting'. 

The plastics on ostomy pouches and flanges 
would not compost for decades, 
so I needed to find another method of disposal.




Actually, our outhouse isn't really a convenient place for 'ostomy changes'.  I found our workbench attached to the woodshed is best.

  • It is outside so smells drift away. 
  • The bench is at the right height. 
  • And there is a special freedom about changing in wide open spaces!



I leave on the workbench a plastic pail containing toilet paper, disposal bags, and pouches. 
Everything I need, and all in one place.


But how to dispose of the full pouches? 
Digging a hole to bury them is impractical because it's all rock, and holes can't be dug. 

One option is to bag them.  Each day I leave a full pouch (sealed in a disposal bag) in my plastic pail ... along with my ostomy supplies. When I leave the cabin to return to the city, I just move the disposal bags into a large garbage bag, and drop it into a regular garbage container in the city. This method works fine, but I am cautious with handling and transporting.  It would be an unpleasant clean-up if the garbage bag broke.

A 1-week Collection                                                  Garbage Bag to Transport


Second option is to burn them.  Each day I just toss the disposal bag into the fire in our wood-burning stove. This may sound gross, but experience says it's very practical. 

  • There is no smell, as the chimney draws all smoke and gas upward and out the top of the cabin.
  • Bag contents dry and burn, and completely disappear within minutes.
  • And 'disposal' is complete every day ... avoiding a collection of bags to be transported home at the end of the trip.

Of course this method only works on days when we have a fire to heat the cabin.  On hot summer days we don't want the extra heat in the cabin, so I revert to the first option of bagging them (later to be burned at a campfire or in the wood-burning stove).


My easy conclusion, based on years of experience  ... Burn 'em



5 comments:

  1. Hi Paul,
    Have you tried the caps for the pouches from http://www.ostosolutions.com/ ?

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  2. nice setup bro, i burn em, i can but dont get fire season permits to do so, but i would check out a cheaper incinerator. the fumes eat metal faster than wood burning

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  3. Thanks for the link. I read about the OstoSolutions cap and think they would be usefull and eliminate the need for a disposal bag.

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  4. Hi i went on a trip to maine this past summer and they had an electric burner for their toilet system i but i was afraid that might not work on the bags so when i changed my bag i just bagged them up and put them with the trash have you had any experiences with that type of system?

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  5. We have no electricity at our cabin, so no experience with the electric burner system. I think that burning plastic would smell worse than the contents :)

    ReplyDelete