A guest post by a friend, jamshed.
Below is a photo of him adorned with a flower i found on the ground —->>
Although many of us recognize the importance to re-use, recycle and compost, as opposed to carelessly throwing stuff away, few of us realize the damage caused by sending our bodies’ pee and poop into wasteful and polluting sewer systems through the flush toilet. Our bodies so called waste is a part of what makes soil fertile so that plants can flourish.
The materials that we pay to be brought into the world are far more difficult to recycle than for us to actually recycle our pee and poop into soil. The work of processing rubbish and recycling is passed onto others that are often in far away places with poor working conditions. In the current system the only form of recycling is downcycling, that is except for metals, which means glass and plastics get a brief detour before joining the heaps of materials discarded out of sight and out of mind into landfills. Using a car, plane, train, or even a computer creates waste we do not deal with or even see, just like a toilet. Humanure, composting for our poop, does require a suitable size garden and the creation of a non-flush toilet system, pee though is a different story which we can easily take care of and which may be even more important to do.
Unlike feces, which can carry bacteria like salmonella and e-coli (which if present are effectively and easily removed with the humanure composting) urine poses no health risk. Pee is sterile when leaving the body. All we need to do is pee into a jar or bottle and empty it in a suitable place. Here are my suggestions for what I consider to be useful places, and I know there are more not listed here.
- Use as a fertilizer in a garden-Although this idea may be new to many, it’s actually a pretty old one, farmers for millennia have employed the use of urine. Urine contains very significant levels of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (typically an N-P-K ratio around 11 – 1 – 2.5, quite similar to commercial fertilizers!) These are essential plant nutrients that are usually mined from the earth or air for conventional agricultural use, and with organic fruits and vegetables fields are fertilized with animal manure, blood and bone meal, and fish emulsion and fish meal (from the fishing industry).Studies conducted in Sweden show that an adult’s urine contains enough nutrients to fertilize 50-100% of the crops needed to feed one adult. Rather than importing nutrients for gardening, and exporting nutrients via the toilet, we can help close this loop by keeping our urine in the local food cycle. It can be especially beneficial for fertilizing in city environments where other local forms of fertility may be scarce due to lack of green spaces.Dilute fresh urine 5:1 to 10:1 ratio depending on the strength of your pee! and apply to the root-zone of fruiting plants like tomatoes, melons, squash, zucchinis, peppers,and eggplant, or to leafy crops like cabbage, broccoli, spinach and lettuce every two weeks or as needed, corn plants love pee too! Dilute fresh urine at a weaker level for seedlings and new transplants. Plants Love Pee. In Finland researchers found that greenhouse tomatoes fertilized with a mixture of human urine and ash yielded nearly four times more tomatoes than non-fertilized plants. The tomatoes fertilized with urine, alone, actually yielded a bit more but the plants did not grow as tall or strong and the tomatoes contained less magnesium than those fertilized with both ash and urine.They concluded that one person could provide enough pee to fertilize roughly 6300 tomato plants a year, yielding 2.4 tons of tomatoes. This clearly shows what a waste flushing pee into a sewage system is.
- In composting as an activator/accelerator- gardeners who have practiced peeing in the compost know it is the thing to do by judging the results of their actions. The uric acid present in urine speeds up the compost process and gets you to the end product faster. Even the National Trust in England provides “pee bales” in strategic places in public gardens and parks that the horticulture staff can use. Pee, poured or directly deposited on a compost pile or in a compost bin starts to speed things up and adds moisture.
- Nourish local plants and trees- many people do not have easy access to a nearby garden or compost bin. There are usually nearby green areas or trees where we can deposit our pee, dogs urinate regularly outside and often in the same places, we can deposit ours in different places discretely 🙂 Any slight odor dissipates almost immediately once urine is applied to the soil. Fresh human urine is sterile and thus free from bacteria. This is a simple action to move away from being part of a system that is so wasteful and polluting. Many people regularly carry a bag of dog poop in their hand, which came about mostly from legislation brought in to protect humans from the bacteria and viruses in dog poop. Dog poop contains many bacteria types and parasites that are transmittable to humans. How about carrying your own safe pee in a bottle for a short time to a suitable location. Carrying pee may not be fashionable or required by law but certainly is a part of a change to a more healthful world.The high nitrogen levels in urine are favorable for plant growth, which can actually pose a major environmental hazard when we flush urine down the toilet into the public water systems. After we flush, part of the nitrogen is removed during an energy-intensive denitrification process. Any remaining nitrogen often makes its way to natural waterways, where it can off-balance the ecosystems through a process called eutrophication: the excess nitrogen causes increased algae and aquatic plant growth, and as these plants decompose the oxygen supply that is needed by aquatic animals is depleted, often causing death. So it’s preferable to cycle the nutrients in our urine through terrestrial environments rather than aquatic environments, by fertilizing trees, bushes, wildflowers, lawns.
Urine accounts for only 1 percent of the wastewater going into treatment facilities , yet it contains most of the nutrients: 88 percent of the nitrogen, 71 percent of the potassium, and 61 percent of the phosphorous. Algae thrive on these; that’s why such nutrients, especially the nitrogen, are purposely removed from the so called wastewater with Biological Nutrient Removal (BNR) procedures that use a large amount of energy as well as the usage of chemicals. Other nutrients are also removed in various processes using chemicals such as ferric chloride, alum and lime. The resulting phosphate rich sewage sludge is dumped in landfills or used as fertilizer/soil amendment but not for growing food for humans. The final disinfection of water can include ozone, chlorine, ultraviolet light, or sodium hypochlorite. Want to avoid causing all of this energy consuming polluting infrastructure then take care of your pee yourself.
Our poop and pee is the most obvious waste we create and the easiest for us to deal with ourselves without additional help. So why is it that people concerned about environmental issues pee in toilets? I think the biggest reason is that people do not understand how valuable pee is and also are ignorant of the detrimental effects of using a flush water toilet. Then there is getting over what might appear to others as our peculiar behavior, but what is more peculiar and wasteful than peeing into loads of drinking water?!
There is lots of information online and in literature about how to compost our waste to enrich the earth.
Humanure Handbook by Joseph C. Jenkins is in paperback or free to read online here:
To see part of what goes on to deal with pee flushed down toilets:
A big step to being independent of using such a system, which can start today for virtually any person, is to use a receptacle to daily collect urine in, your peeceptical! When you pee you can have the added pleasure of knowing you are part of a process of food production and consumption that ends up nourishing the earth and not polluting it.
Above is shown a woman very sensibly adding pee to
her garden and using a washing line too! 🙂