“P” Cycling

Pee-cycling.

There is no way to dance around this subject because it is exactly what it sounds like.

Human urine contains two ingredients essential to thriving vegetation.

Any expert gardener can tell you phosphorous and nitrogen are fundamental components for fertilizers and composts. When contained in urine, however, these elements can be in excess and may cause damage to the environment, generally through algae growth in still waters.  The algae chokes out oxygen from animal and plant life resulting in dead waters, useless to all.

Fortunately, today’s water cleaning processes prevent excess nitrogen and phosphorous from human waste re-entering our water systems. But why not utilize the excess for what it can help?

Many places have been successfully testing fertilizing methods of sustainable pee-cycling for years.

Amsterdam, Africa, Finland, France, and Sweden are all on board with this in community scale projects including urine and poo separating toilets.

The movement has even caught waves in the U.S. as Vermont and the University of Florida have successfully implemented pee-cycling into their green regimen by treating it and using it as fertilizer for farms.

This advancement seems to be the anecdote for many problematic issues.

  1. Recycling pee reduces reliance on chemical fertilizers making it an affordable and sustainable substitute for the latter.
  2. Precious resources – including water and phosphorous – will be preserved and help restore our environment to its natural health.
  3. When correctly diluted, pee can act as fertilizer for home gardening making it accessible and feasible for every person.

If communities everywhere catch on to this and make it a global program, the possibilities to help underdeveloped countries are plentiful.

EcoRI news offered these interesting facts from Salve Regina University regarding the matter:

• Human urine is nearly sterile in healthy individuals.

• A year’s worth of urine from one adult contains enough fertilizer to grow 320 pounds of wheat in a year — enough for a loaf of bread a day.

• The United States uses 1.2 trillion gallons of portable water annually to flush urine away.

The perception of urine as waste has been challenged. As it turns out, even our waste can be wasted!

The fact that pee has been proven to save the environment and help feed people now makes it a valuable asset.

It may be a bit daunting – not to mention a bit vomit inducing – but given a little research and understanding, pee-cycling is a no-brainer.

References:

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/02/140202-peecycling-urine-human-waste-compost-fertilizer/

http://www.ecori.org/green-tip/2014/3/20/vermont-institute-researches-benefits-of-peecycling.html

http://grist.org/food/wish-you-could-fertilize-crops-with-pee-urine-luck/

http://www.treehugger.com/lawn-garden/p-is-for-phosphorus-as-well-as-human-urine.html

http://www.trueactivist.com/pee-cycling-to-fertilize-green-roofs-in-amsterdam/

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