Thursday, May 14, 2015

Gee, Whiz!

As you know, Dear Readers, ol’ Bilbo does not flinch from bringing you the most interesting and useful of information, without regard to the boundaries of … well … good taste. In the past we have reported on the properties and use of toilet paper around the world, the Poo2Loo movement in India, which is trying to teach Indians not to defecate in public, and – earlier this week – a summary of everything you ever wanted to know about bathroom behavior. What’s left?, you wonder.

Funny you should ask.

Upon reading the bathroom behavior post, my daughter forwarded to me this very interesting* article from Can Human Urine Replace Chemical Fertilizers?

The article discusses the activities of the Rich Earth Institute of Brattleboro, Vermont, which encourages the use of urine as a natural replacement for chemical fertilizers. The Institute’s website notes that Americans produce some 30 billion gallons of urine each year, with each person’s individual contribution containing some 5 kilograms of usable fertilizer. The Institute further observes that instead of harnessing the potential of this resource, we use 1.2 trillion gallons of drinkable water to flush it away. They have a goal of collecting 6,000 gallons of donated urine for testing purposes in the coming year.

Other cultures are evidently more in tune with this effort than are we. Many cultures have collected and spread “night soil”** as fertilizer for thousands of years, and Sweden has introduced high-tech toilets which divert urine to holding tanks for later collection and use as fertilizer. In America, though, the ick factor may be difficult for many to overcome***.

Not all, though. I remember that one of my father’s attempts to scare deer away from his tomato garden involved requiring us during each visit to urinate into jars, which he then arranged scientifically among the potted tomato plants. The theory was that the deer would smell the odor of humans and seek sustenance elsewhere … the reality was that it didn’t do much to discourage the deer after the first 24 hours, although it did seem to divert the attention of door-to-door salesmen and itinerant religious proselytizers.

The theory of using human urine as fertilizer appears to be sound, but there are some drawbacks besides that “ick factor” … not the least of which is the presence of pharmaceutical residue+ that might contaminate the soil. According to the article, the EPA has selected Rich Earth for funding to conduct a study of residual drugs in urine, with the help of the University of Michigan and SUNY Buffalo.

So …

Stop just being the middleman between beer and the potty … collect that valuable liquid for future use. There’s a reason it’s golden in color, after all.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.


* Well, "interesting" is a subjective term, I suppose.

** Don’t ask.

*** Even considering that we watch Faux News and listen to people like Ted Cruz.

+ That would be drugs, prescription and otherwise.


eViL pOp TaRt said...

Bilbo, you got it right: the "ick" factor will be hard to overcome, not to mention the odor. On the other hand, it provides new scope for toilet humor.

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

There will be the odor problem severely multiplied. Some additional places would smell like men's rooms!

Linda Kay said...

Well along with their innovative idea for recycling, those scientists will also have to find a way to divert the pee to some sort of collection system. Imagine the cost that might be involved in collection, conversion to fertilizer, etc., etc. Sounds like a definite government project.

Duckbutt said...

That's a great title!

bakku-shan said...

A very interesting post!

The Voice of Authority said...

Using human wastes for fertilizer is such a good idea that I hope that people will eventually come around to it.

Mike said...

We may have to start collecting our urine BECAUSE of the prescription drug residue in it.

allenwoodhaven said...

Very interesting. I heard of an invention from a new ideas for the developing world contest. I don't remember if it won, but it converted urine into energy for a portable generator. Some student came up with the idea and figured out how to make it work. We need more brains like that!

Grand Crapaud said...

This is a great idea. Why not people drop a deuce while watching network news?

Anonymous said...

That is amazing. But so is collecting the methane from cow farts.

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

This makes getting pissed off a good thing.