Here is a list of practical things you can do to stop wasting and start reusing the NPK from our poop and pee.
You can start collecting your urine, even if you don’t have a dry toilet or a a urine diversion dry toilet (UDDT). Using a funnel, simply pee into a glass or hard plastic bottle that you can cap, and transfer the urine to a larger container when full. Women can use a reusable female urinal like this one or a Missoir. Use it as a fertilizer in your flower and vegetable garden and you will see how plants will spring out of the soil like never before. Plus the water savings are enormous because you won’t have to flush the toilet when you pee into a bottle. An average toilet consumes 7 liters of drinking water per flush!
The manual titled The Use of Urine as Fertilizer is a good start to understand how to use urine safely, following guidelines established by the World Health Organization. I have followed it and can attest to its value. Check out this video.
In Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Austria you can purchase fertilizer made from human urine. The product is called Aurin and it is manufactured by VunaNexus. I have used it in my garden and it works very well and does not smell.
Acquire a urine diversion dry toilet (UDDT). It separates the urine and the feces at the source. The urine is separated either at the top or at the bottom. The image above shows a top separation UDDT. With both, you can use the urine as a liquid fertilizer fairly quickly. Feces are stored separately and can either be left to dry or can be composted. The new toilet from Finizio is a good example of a top separation UDDT. The CompostEra designed by Carl Lindstrom is a good example of a bottom separation one. It is ideal for rural or suburban areas. Its precursor, invented by his father Rikard Lindstrom, is the equally sustainable Clivusmultrum with installations throughout North America. Check out the offers of UDDTs from Natural Event and Kompotoi. There are many more options that are within reach with a simple Google search.
Set up a system that can compost both urine and feces. Urine is safer to handle than feces because it has a low bacterial count. Therefore, to set up a system that also composts feces, one has to be more attentive to the process. GiveLove, the organization that played a role in the African chapters of the film, gave us permission to share with you Learning About Compost Toilets: A guide for humanure composting in schools and homesteads. It explains in simple but scientifically accurate language the basics of composting human excreta. To get deeper into the composting science The Humanure Handbook by Joseph C. Jenkins is a must read. It has been translated into 21 languages and is regarded as one of the most authoritative guides on the topic. Joe Jenkins who is also part of the GiveLove advisory board has been influential on the film’s content.
But as I show in the film, it is still illegal to use composted human excreta as fertilizer in commercial agriculture. That needs to change, which is why we must pressure national and state authorities to legalize the use of composted excreta as fertilizer, and petition to establish local collection centers where people, even those with flush toilets, can bring their urine to be recycled into fertilizer.
We must also demand from our government to make compost toilets and localized treatment systems that generate energy, the first choice in all new constructions.
We must also demand from our wastewater treatment plants to stop using sewage sludge or biosolids as fertilizer.