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Pee Your Way to Greenery.

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Public Urinal Feeds Plants With Pee

by Sami Grover, Carrboro, NC, USA  on 06.20.11

when nature calls urinal image
Image credit: Tuvie/Eddie Gandelman

The idea of urine separation to ward off peak fertilizer is not exactly new. But while some of us get to pee on our garden mulch, or urinate on our compost heaps, infrastructure for large-scale urine collection in an urban environment still seems a ways off. But here’s a more decentralized option from designer Eddie Gandelman in the form of a public urinal that filters pee on site, and uses it to feed plants.

Posted over at design site Tuvie, the When Nature Calls urinal is in the concepting stages right now. While us TreeHuggers may focus on the tantalizing idea of resource efficiency and offsetting fertilizer needs, the primary motivation of the designer seems to be making public toilets a more pleasant place to be, and pee:

By setting up the restroom in pod format with 4 urinals on every pod, the users can enjoy more space and privacy. This system as well paves way for both peeing and watering the plants. Approved by a professor of toxicology, the project employs 3 processes. The urine thus collected is filtered, which is then used for the plants. Peeing, besides being a waste process becomes a nurturing one, which appears to be a great advantage here. This idea will certainly make the very notion of urination a better experience.

We’re not the only ones to wonder if this could be taken a step further though. Michael Hines over at Trend Hunter writes about When Nature Calls, suggesting that restaurants and bars could could grow vegetables or fruits, cutting “costs and carbon at the same time.” Of course some fairly careful monitoring would need to be done to ensure that the systems’ filter mechanisms can get rid of potential pathogens or medications. And whether or not the public would be ready to accept such a direct and immediate connection between human waste and food remains to be seen—however safe it proved to be.

4 X Harvest of Tomatoes.

Tomatoes Love Urine: 4x increase in Yield!

Research shows a huge benefit from using urine as fertilizer.

Sami Grover

By Sami Grover
Fri Sep 18, 2009 15:55

tomato plants photoSami Grover

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It looks like my DIY biochar/urine experiment may have been a good idea. A very good idea. According to PopSci.com, researchers from Finland are claiming that tomatoes fertilized with urine show a four-fold increase in crop yields. And it doesn’t end there – the same tomatoes also showed higher beta-carotene than unfertilized ones, and much more protein than traditionally fertilized plants. A panel of (presumably unsqueamish) blind tasters also attested to the fact that the flavor was just as good too.

In a way it’s no surprise – studies have already shown that urine in the garden is a good thing, and Josh has given us some guidance on how to garden with pee. But a four-fold increase in fruits?! That’s huge.

And for those wondering why I’m mixing urine with charcoal – there’s some evidence to suggest thatDIY biochar can help retain nutrients for longer, and it can also provide a habitat for important microorganisms. I’ll let you know if it works out for me.

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About pfiddle

Fiddle teacher - mostly Irish trad. Fiddle, mandolin and concertina. Eco-warrior, won E.U. Green Flower Award for Eco Accommodation. Also Irish (Gold) GHA. Green Hospitality Award. Mad keen on self-build - especially straw-bale and cob. 55 with a full head of (slightly) graying hair. No tattoos or piercings. Fond of animals - but legally so. Fond of food - I eat nothing else. Vegetarian by choice, Irish by the grace of birth, Munster by force of (rugby) arms.

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