University of Michigan’s botanical gardens will soon be flourishing with student urine.
An anti-sales pitch if you ever read one.
But don’t turn away just yet.
The garden isn’t a fluorescent homage of sorts. It’s taking recycling to a whole new level with a technology that will convert urine into fertilizers. Think of it as a way of recycling your goods into the environment; taking your brightest brights and helping the green be, well, greener
The research endeavour is part of a $3 million dollar National Science Foundation project, which is the country’s biggest program on urine-based fertilizers. It aims at saving money and pollution reduction.
In the campus’s Engineering building, a urinal and toilet are adapted with split-bowl technology. The design allows solid waste to be sent to a treatment plant, while urine is sent to a holding tank in the university’s ground floor.
The urine will be treated to remove bacteria, pharmaceuticals and viruses, which will eventually make it a viable fertilizer for the university’s botanic gardens.
What makes our pee green friendly?
Urine has nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. These are crucial nutrients for plant growth. Researchers believe that using urine for fertilizer is a cyclical process, whereby we recycle the nutrients from the food we eat into agriculture.
Recycling bodily fluid is mind over matter. Many people are apprehensive, repulsed even. As such, part of this initiative examines public perception.
Students who use these toilets and urinals will be able to submit their opinions using tablet computers located in the bathroom. It is the university’s way of letting students immediately convey their thoughts just as they flush their goods and services down the innovative drain.
The university isn’t the first to convert pee using fertilizing technology. In fact, various environmentalists and green enthusiasts recycle urine.
Health and lifestyle factors influence how good of a candidate your urine is.
Diets rich in protein will produce more nitrogen. Before using urine on crops, hydrate yourself to rid the urine of salt. The larger amount of water in the urine, the better it serves.