Today’s Solutions: December 10, 2023

Here’s something you probably never thought you’d hear: the price of urine per 25 liters has risen from $1 to $6 since the start of the War in Ukraine. This is because there’s now a shortage of agricultural chemicals, and farmers and providers have turned to human urine as an abundant source of fertilizer. 

Human pee is rich in nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus, all of which plants love. According to the Rich Earth Institute of Vermont, an average adult produces about 125 gallons of urine a year which could fertilize 320 pounds of wheat. 

The Rich Earth Institute actually supplies free funnels for collection from donors and runs a collection center in Brattleboro. Here donors can bring in their soon-to-be fertilizer by the gallon, which takes some getting used to. However, donors are not just helping to produce food, they are helping the environment. 

Going green and yellow

By being a urine donor, you’d actually be saving over 4,000 gallons of drinkable water every year by not flushing. Additionally, when pee goes down the drain, all those nutrients that would’ve gone toward fertilizing wheat actually spurt algae blooms. So, by donating urine, people are actually helping the environment while producing fertilizer. 

Vermont isn’t the only place where programs like this are taking off. The city of Paris plans to install urine-diverting devices in toilets in 600 new apartments. They plan to use the fertilizer from these new apartments to feed the city’s green areas. 

While there might not be a donation center and the infrastructure for you to make donations in your area yet, you can still help your environment and your water bill by fertilizing your own plants. Just make sure it’s in the privacy of your own backyard.

This story was part of our Best of 2022 series highlighting our top solutions from the year. Today we’re featuring business-focused solutions.

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