Fertilizer Shortage? Try Peeing On Your Plants, Say Experts

If you’re worried about the international fertilizer shortage, urine luck!

The war in Ukraine has affected global production and transport of commercial fertilizers, sparking fears of a worldwide shortage that could hurt food production. But experts claim human pee contains key nutrients found in commercial fertilizers such as nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus and is much better for the environment, according to USA Today.

“If you save all the urine that you produce in a day, there’s enough fertilizer in there to grow all the wheat that you need to make a loaf of bread,” said Abraham Noe-Hayes, research director at Rich Earth Institute. “It’s a huge amount of nutrients, and it could grow a significant portion of our dietary needs just from from the nutrients in our urine.”

Sanctions on Russia as a result of its invasion of Ukraine have wreaked havoc on the fertilizer market, and U.S. farmers are feeling the squeeze. Russia and and ally Belarus previously produced 40% of the world’s potash, one of the key ingredients for fertilizer. Russia is also a key producer of urea and ammonium nitrate. Before the war, Russia and Ukraine combined to export 28% of fertilizers made from nitrogen and phosphorous, as well as potassium, according to Morgan Stanley.

Noe-Hayes’ Vermont-based institute operates the country’s first community-scale urine recycling program and was researching the pros and cons of replacing chemical fertilizers with pee before the war-driven shortage. While human pee might not be the immediate answer, but Noe-Hayes believes it is a long-term win all around.- READ MORE