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LIQUID GOLD: Researchers Suggest ‘Peecycling’ To Alleviate Global Fertilizer Shortage

KEVIN FULTON/via REUTERS

Mary Rooke Staff Writer
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Researchers at the French research institute OCAPI suggest that farmers use recycled human urine to combat the global chemical fertilizer shortage.

The research from OCAPI found that recycled human urine, “peecycling,” could be a “liquid gold” replacement for widely-used chemical fertilizer, reported Business Insider.

The OCAPI research and action program, launched in France in 2014, studies the management of human nutrient excretion in Paris, France, according to the group’s website.

The group proposes collecting human urine as fertilizer for farmland desperate for nutrients during the global chemical fertilizer shortage. (RELATED: Farmers Issue Huge Warning To All Americans)

OCAPI engineer and coordinator Fabien Esculier told Euro News that recycled human urine is the solution to combat the financial and environmental cost of the industrial fertilizer shortage. Urine contains nitrogen, phosphate and potassium, which plants need to thrive, Esculier told the outlet.

Vermont researchers from the Rich Earth Institute hope their research on “peecycling” will help reprogram how people think about human waste collection and its use.

Rich Earth Institute researchers collect human urine from around 200 local volunteers to determine its viability as a fertilizer as global inflation and fossil fuel prices continue to affect the affordability of chemical fertilizer, reported The New York Times (NYT).

“Urine contains most of the fertilizer found in human waste, containing 80-85% of the nitrogen and 66% of the phosphorus that we flush away each day,” the group’s website stated.

“Adults produce between 100 and 150 gallons of urine per year, containing about 9 pounds of nitrogen and 0.8 pounds of phosphorus,” according to Rich Earth Institute. “Used to fertilize grain, this is enough to grow wheat for making a loaf of bread every day of the year.”

Co-founder of the Rich Earth Institute Kim Nace told the NYT their institute is actively producing results for consumers. “Human waste is already being used to fertilize foods you find in the grocery store,” Nace told the outlet. Rich Earth Institute collects the human urine to be used by local farms in place of industrial fertilizer.

Nace says the nutrients in urine are better for the environment than chemical fertilizer, which contains ammonia and can potentially pollute the environment, reported the NYT.