Your urine is a precious resource. The fresh water you flush away with it is a precious resource. Find out why and what you can do about it.
Let me get to the bottom line first. The main thrust of this article is that it is ecologically insane to flush our pee down the toilet. We are wasting massive amounts of fresh water and literally pissing away perfectly good nutrients that could be used to grow stuff. The fact is that human urine is packed with nutrients that are in the right form for plants to use.
Make your plants thrive with diluted urine.
Instead of flushing your pee down the toilet along with 6 – 10 L of water (depending on your cistern), use it to water and fertilize the plants around your home.
For garden plants, mix 100ml of pee with 1.5 L of water
For pot plants dilute 100 ml of pee with 4L of water.
You don’t need to fertilize your veggies or pot plants every day – they can have too much of a good thing. Just a couple of times a week will do the trick. The rest of the urine can go on larger trees and lawns.
Fresh urine is sterile
Some people may be concerned about the health risk here. Nothing to worry about. Fresh human urine is sterile. So, if you are in a survival situation and you injure yourself and need to clean your wounds, the best thing to use is your own pee. I am not suggesting here that you use pee to clean your home with. The point is though, that fresh diluted pee is not a health risk. You will not be spreading harmful pathogens about by using your pee to fertilize your plants.
So why is saving urine an ecohack?
So why is this article in the eco-hacks section of this site. What’s the big deal. Let’s look at some figures and the answer will be clear.
Every years Australians flush away billions of liters of fresh water with their urine.
Every year the population of Australia (a small country in terms of people) flushes away 246 billion litres of fresh water with its pee. If we include the water in pee, that comes to about 258 billion liters of water wasted every year. Water that we cannot really afford to throw away.
This is crazy, in Australia we have resorted to using greenhouse gas emitting fossil fuels to create fresh water to keep up with domestic and industrial demand. Meanwhile we are damaging our natural ecosystems as we divert freshwater resources to irrigation. Worldwide we are facing a looming water crisis as we continue to pump our fossil water reserves dry (they are not replenished) for agricultural and industrial purposes. Meanwhile, 1/5 of the world’s population lives with water scarcity.
The fact is, water is precious
Urine is an excellent plant food.
Now lets look at nutrients:
We go to great expense, in terms of energy use, not to mention the cost to the environment, to create chemical fertilizers, particularly the big: 3 Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium. We apply thousands of tons of fertilizers per year to our gardens and crops.
Every year the population of Australia alone pisses away valuable plant fertilizers:
21,600 tons of sulphate
14,400 tons of phosphate
1200 tons of magnesium
18,000 tons of potassium
240,000 tons of Urea
Imagine if the world’s population treated urine as a precious resource instead of something to afraid and embarrassed of.
Use your pee to grow stuff