Want to Know More About Peecycling?

A peecycling advocate shares more about the project, along with a video about the research behind it all.
Want to Know More About Peecycling?
As shown in the video, a volunteer brings urine to the institute to be recycled for fertilizer.

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“It’s kind of incredible when you think about it,” says Kim Nace, referring to her work at the Rich Earth Institute.

“We started something here which we affectionately refer to as peecycling. We’re recycling urine. And you really need every piece of the puzzle in place in order to make it work, which includes a farm, septic hauling companies and then people that are collecting urine. But the collector, the pumper, needs to have a farmer who’s set up and willing to take it.”

The Rich Earth Institute is a research and demonstration facility that is attempting to look at all the barriers to this project and address them in terms of how we as a society can reclaim the nutrients in urine, instead of just flushing it down the toilet. Located in Vermont, the institute is working with the state watershed department and working with permits in order to use urine legally on the farms after pasteurizing it. The urine is then applied as a liquid fertilizer.

So far it’s a regional project, with about 200 donors within a 50-mile radius of the headquarters in Brattleboro, Vermont. Nace says there is a lot of potential in this endeavor. “We often get requests, ‘How can we do this where we are?’ and we’d really like more and more people to do it.

“If any septic haulers or pumpers are approached by anybody, whether it’s a research scientist or farmers or anyone who wants to talk about it and explore it, saying they want to get involved, they should definitely jump at the chance to do it,” she says. “Because it’s really going to be the next wave of what’s going to happen. Septic haulers are the perfect people to be able to do this and help change it. People have made some phone calls to pumpers who haven’t been very positive about it and that’s a shame because when they are, it really will turn their business around. It’s a great green marketing strategy to tell people that when they’re renting a portable toilet their urine will be recycled. People around here at least who’ve been hearing about the project really like that idea.”

Nace and her colleagues are happy to act as consultants to anyone hoping to replicate the project in their own area. Rich Earth Institute also contributed to a video created by researchers at the University of Michigan about the peecyling project.

Nace was very pleased with the results. “We’re excited about the video. It really showcases what we’re doing. It makes people comfortable knowing it’s not some kind of far-out Vermont thing; it’s based on science and research,” she says. 


For more on what pumper Jeff Ruggiero is doing to contribute to the project, click here.  

Click here to learn more about the Rich Earth Institute.


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