Nothing Cools You Off on a Hot Day Like a Big, Foaming, Cold, Refreshing Glass of Piss.

Presto change-o

I think it was on my 8th-grade class trip to the New York Hall of Science in Queens that I first learned our astronauts, in order to conserve precious water while in space, recycled their pee.

The fact was so startling then that I don’t think, mentally, I’ve ever made it to the next, obvious step: Reflexively grokking what pee, in one’s mouth, would actually taste like. The factoid just rests in my brain as an odd, disgusting byte, to be activated every now and then, like, for example, with the August 2007 news that trapped Chinese miners survived nearly a week by eating coal and drinking their own piss.

Now, two artists—the aptly-named Britta Riley and her partner Rebecca Bray—are investigating “the role our bodies play in larger ecosystems” through their drinkpeedrinkpeedrinkpee project. (Thanks for tipping us off, City Dirt and Eyebeam. Why these activists call their site “drink pee” x3 when it seems more about reprocessing urine, I don’t know.

One of their key demos is a “Urine to Fertilzer DIY Kit,” pictured above, enabling the user to “derive houseplant fertilizer and ocean-safe water from your pee!” Notes the diuretic duo:

We all think of human pee as gross and something that ought to be vigorously “cleaned up” or sanitized. However, human urine is actually sterile (unlike faeces, urine is bacteria-free). This liquid by product of our daily lives can be a rich food source if it gets into the RIGHT part of the right ecosystem. Now, most human urine travels untreated into the waterways and is a significant cause of eutrophication, a toxic condition caused by harmful algae blooms, in the oceans. The excess Nitrogen and Phosphorus in our urine overfeeds algae (like Red Tide) and effectively suffocates fish. However, a pioneering biological waste treament process being used in Switzerland can extract this phosphorus & nitrogen for use as a fertilizer, leaving the rest of urine almost harmless to aquatic life. This kit gives users the opportunity to replicate the new technique at home and fertilize their plants with their own pee.

In their own spelling-challenged words, here’s how it works:

Users will test their urine before the reaction. Then, they will add an enzyme, wait for their urine to hydrolyse, and then add Magnesium Chloride. A sediment will build up at the bottom of the jar. Using a filter, they will pour off and flush the liquid, leaving the fertilzer in the jar. They can add water and the seeds included in the kit to grow their own watercres hydroonically in the glass container used for the reaction.

Groovy details. Unfortunately, they give none on how to rebuild burnt bridges when your retch-dumping friends flee the premises, upon hearing how you grew their garnishes.



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