Peecycling - The Power of Urine
Most of us here know the power of our urine as a fertilizer. Wish the general public did.
"According to the World Health Organization, human urine makes up less than one percent of the domestic wastewater treated at a facility such as Blue Plains, but contains 80 percent of the nitrogen and 55 percent of the phosphorous. When these nutrients get into our rivers and streams, they can cause algal blooms, for the very same reason that they're so great for farmers' fields: because they enable growth.
With enough nitrogen and phosphorous, algae can grow until they have consumed all of the available oxygen in the area, making it a "dead zone" in which nothing else can survive. This problem led to a provision in the 1972 Clean Water Act that requires wastewater treatment facilities to largely remove these nutrients before the water is released back into our rivers, a process that is both costly and energy intensive.
"If you can keep the urine out of the wastewater, you don't have to waste the resources in removing the urine downstream," Abraham Noe-Hays, Rich Earth's other founder, explains.
Although urine is perfectly sanitary after pasteurization, and effective for agricultural use, many still feel a significant "ick" factor when it comes to using urine to grow food.
"We're all afraid of our own waste," Chris Peot, manager of resource recovery at DC Water, explains. But he thinks that response can be worked around—the necessary paradigm shift is already underway. "This is sort of our new mantra: There's no such thing as waste, only waste of resources," Peot says."