Liquid Gold

How to utilize urine

Logically, we should recycle our urine to capture its many nutrients for growing new food. Here’s a fuller case for that argument, and if you buy it, how to practically accomplish this export on the small scale of a homestead. Most likely you’ll be the only person in your neighborhood mining “liquid gold,” but you may also be an outlaw, two issues this book anticipates.  The small book is also chock full of urine lore, including the historical medical, cooking (!), chemical, and agricultural roles urine has had. This small booklet changed my mind.

-- KK 08/29/11


Hakan Jonsson fertilizes his lawn with a device he made that distributes urine evenly through perforated pipe while he dilutes it with a garden hose.
Urinals for women are not new, but the demand for these has been limited.

Lately, women's urinals have popped up at music festivals where disposable cardboard personal urine diverters, such as the P-Mate (below), are provided with which to use them.

The advantage: More service in a smaller space and shorter waits for portable toilets.
The largest ears of corn on the left were fed a 3:1 water-urine mixture three times a week. The others were fed far less.

According to sanitation researcher Caroline Schonning of the Swedish Institute of Infectious Disease Control, humans rarely excrete disease-causing organisms, orpathogens, in urine. Also, most pathogens die when they leave their hosts, either immediately or shortly thereafter. The only significant urine-transmitted diseases are leptospirosis (usually transmitted by infected animals), schistosoma, and salmonella. The first two are rare--usually found only in tropical aquatic environments--and the last is typically inactivated shortly after excretion. The more likely health risk is urine contaminated by feces that were misplaced in a urine-diverting toilet.

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