Night Soil, is untreated, uncomposted human excrement (aka raw poo). It was commonly used as a fertiliser on farms in the United Kingdom until around 60 years ago. It’s still used in some Asian countries, but comes with risks as faeces can be a vector of human disease transmission.
Today, science has shown us that composting human manure will eliminate the potential risks, rendering it safe, and additionally, compost is generally better for the soil than manure (better structure, less nutrient run-off etc, greater bio-availability of nutrients to the plants etc.).
Using a compost toilet is not taking us backwards hundreds of years, because we apply modern scientific rigour and know that composting is an essential and desirable aspect to dealing with human ‘waste’ and turning it into a safe and valuable resource.
Creating and using ‘humanure’ compost is an essential aspect of a natural, circular economy in which we can start to balance outputs and inputs.
The Night Soil man has had their day (thankfully), but the day of the compost toilet is just dawning!