Written by Teresa Bergen
Should we be flushing perfectly good fertilizer down the toilet? Some eco-minded folks are proposing a circular water economy that puts urine to work.
Urine is packed with nitrogen and phosphorus, which are valuable to agriculture. The problem, of course, is that urine isn’t all that goes into the average toilet. Feces is a major source of pathogens, and not what people want to add to their lettuce. The solution? A urine diverting toilet. These toilets that separate number one from number two are used for various reasons around the world — one of which is to collect urine for use as fertilizer.
Worried about fecal mixing? According to the World Health Organization, if you store urine at room temperature for six months, it will self-sanitize enough that you could safely apply it directly to raw produce. Not that we’re advising it.