Make America Peeable Again: The Great Urinal Debate That Wasn't

As readers of this blog may recall, nearly six months ago to the day I posted the fifth installment of the ongoing Dr. Pooper Papers series, Make America Poopable Again: The Great Toilet Debate That Wasn't. That piece worked off of the lacklustre transgender toilet debate that had been going on in the United States at the time, pointing out that the debate that wasn't going on was one over the usage of the modern, industrial flush toilet versus the ecological practice of using compost toilets. That post, unfortunately (albeit rather unsurprisingly), didn't quite catch on.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Funny! But I think the vast majority of urbanites are way too clueless, and way too unwilling to deal.

Thanks for the reminder of how much we could de-oil if we recycled our pee and manure. Less money for Saudi Arabia! What’s not to like?

Yeah, for the most part I’d say you’re right. Although to be fair I’d say that most ruralites are also clueless and/or unwilling to change, what with all those septic systems and such.

And your mention of Saudi Arabia reminds me of something about the biofuels boondoggle. It was often mentioned that corn-sourced biofuels would lessen/eliminate the need for fossil fuels from the Middle East. But of course growing all that (fertiliser-gorging) corn would require a lot of nitrogenous-based fertiliser. And where was all that urea going to come from? Middle Eastern natural gas.

Very funny, but unfortunately our failure to set up comprehensive systems to cycle nutrients properly is no laughing matter. Too late now, since such systems would require the re-plumbing of all urban centers. Even using pee from cities is tough to do.

Haber-Bosch was only necessary because we opted to forgo using a good source of most of the nutrients we would need to provide sufficient food for the intake end. Add animal manures to the mix and we could have done without Haber-Bosch altogether. Just another example of human foolishness, among many.

Yeah, I’d say you’re unfortunately correct on all counts. And while I’m aware of how night soil was collected a couple of hundred years ago, you just made me realize that I’ve never given a thought to night… rain (?), which is where most of the weight is. I suppose it could be more easily used on premise (until you started burning up all your begonias with too much nitrogen), but ultimately that nitrogen would would also have to be returned to the (farm) land. Hmmm.

Having said that, many (if not most) of us have by now heard of Deliveroo, the food delivery service. But how many of us have heard of Delivepoo, the – well, I think you can guess what that one’s about. :wink:

I heard a while back Sweden had installed a lot of dual toilets and was collecting urine in apartment building sized containers that were vacuumed out every so often, for the fields. Has anyone heard how that system is doing?

When I was growing up, cesspools in villages, manure piles, and dry toilets were still very common. Probably changed for the worse by now.