Don’t flush that toilet! There’s gold in them there golden showers.
So maintains Kim Nace, co-director of the Rich Earth Institute in Brattleboro, Vt. — a non-profit dedicated to recycling urine (aka pee-cycling).
According to the Burlington Free Press, Nace’s efforts have resulted in hundreds of urine donors
pissing pitching in to do their part.
“Why waste it?” asks Nace, whose research is partially funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Nace has demonstrated that pasteurized urine is a first-class fertilizer.
Nace carries out her work in a garage fitted out with a reverse-osmosis filtration pump — similar to those used in the maple syrup industry — that concentrates donated urine, readying it for pasteurization and distribution to several local farms.
And the donors? One of them, 62-year-old Tom Miller, is described as driving up to the “lab” with a 5-gallon plastic jug of amber-colored liquid in tow. Miller is quoted:
This is three or four weeks’ worth. Not all, of it, of course. When I’m away from home, I don’t hold it ’til I get back.
Abraham Noe-Hays, the institute’s co-founder, is a walking encyclopedia on the benefits of urine, delivering these factoids:
- Urine typically makes up less than one percent our wastewater volume, yet accounts for more than half of a system’s nitrogen and phosphorus load.
- Our daily output of urine contains considerably more nitrogen and phosphorus — than our feces.
- Pee from healthy adults is virtually pathogen-free. It contains very few heavy metals. It’s relatively safe to handle, even by amateurs. The same can’t be said for poop.
- Some of the residual pharmaceuticals we excrete ends up in our urine. Diverting and removing potentially harmful remnants of our chemical intake is much easier before urine is diluted and flushed into a bigger reservoir of sewage.