Adding human urine to your compost pile is a free and non-toxic method of adding moisture and essential minerals to your heap. Our urine contains substantial amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, which your compost pile needs anyway.
Studies show that urine can be a good substitute for commercial fertilizer, so read on to see why peeing on your compost may be a good idea.
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Can you add human urine to compost?
It is possible to compost urine. Since it contains a high nitrogen level, it should not be added to a compost bin with a significant amount of nitrogen-rich materials, such as food scraps or grass clippings.
Adding plenty of carbon materials, such as dry leaves, sawdust, straw, and cardboard, is important. Adding urine to a pile of leaves can act as a starter for compost, encouraging the decomposition process.
Due to its high nitrogen content, urine has long been established as a free compost “activator”, sometimes referred to by avid gardeners as “liquid gold.”
Even though human urine may contain “salts,” chemicals in the sodium family, there is probably not enough to cause problems unless you are seriously ill, so you may safely pee on your compost pile once in a while.
The Pros and Cons of Adding Human Urine to Compost
|More nitrogen in compost||Risk of pathogens|
|Higher moisture level||Foul smell|
|Deterrent for raccoons||Higher level of salts and sometimes toxins|
1. Increases Nitrogen & Other Minerals
As plants grow, they draw nitrogen from the soil. They use it to produce amino acids, complete proteins, and even DNA. As plants die or are consumed and pooped out by wildlife, nitrogen finds its way back into the soil.
As a result of humans’ tendency to consume plants, poop in toilets, and plant more plants in the same spot, nitrogen-depleted soils have become more prevalent, which is one of the main reasons why farmers rotate crops. Compost plays a vital role in replenishing nitrogen in your soil.
By adding urine to your compost, not only will you be able to balance your ratios and fix a slow or stinky pile, but you will also be adding nitrogen to the compost itself, where it will remain until it has been incorporated into the soil.
2. Urine Can Add Moisture, However…
Hot composting differs from dry composting primarily due to its moisture content. The reason your pile is slowing down is that it has become less hospitable for the microbes that are doing the heavy lifting.
You should keep your compost moist and damp and turn it regularly to ensure it is aerated at all times. It is important to note that a large pile such as the kind needed for hot composting requires a significant amount of moisture. It is always a good idea to keep a hose nearby when working with a pile to add moisture as you turn it.
You will probably not be able to add enough moisture to your pile on your own unless you are urinating on it each time you need to go throughout the day.
3. Deter Some Animals with Urine
To keep animals and pests away from their yards and gardens, many gardeners swear by using urine.
Theoretically, animals that scavenge through your compost would smell your urine, recognize you as a giant smart ape many times their size, and stay away. In some cases, it does work.
Human urine deters some animals, particularly raccoons. Nevertheless, larger predators, such as bears and mountain lions, are often attracted to the smell of urine and its salt content. It does not seem like a wise decision to exchange raccoons for bears.
1. Microbial & Disease Risks
Many people say that urine is sterile, and they are partly correct. Urie itself is sterile as soon as it leaves the kidneys. Nevertheless, pathogens can be introduced into the bladder and enter the compost.
In addition, adding a significant amount of urine to your pile can reduce microbial diversity and allow acid-loving microbes to flourish.
In most cases, this is only of concern if the compost will be used on plants that will be consumed, especially if the plants will be consumed by someone who did not produce the urine.
The smell of urine is unpleasant. Actually, the urine itself does not smell. It’s the fermentation of urea into ammonia that produces a strong odor.
It is not a problem if urine is neutralized or diluted, but if you add large amounts of urine over a long period of time, you will probably smell it.
3. Toxic Substances & Salts
As you can imagine, urine is one of how the body rids itself of substances that it does not want. Thus, urine is often high in salt and contains toxins such as heavy metals.
Generally, this won’t be a problem if you are judicious in using urine, but salt and heavy metals can accumulate in your soil over time, making it less hospitable.
Health concerns and solutions
Human urine is considered sterile, and in most cases, you cannot get sick from your own urine as anything in your urine is already in your body.
There is, however, a small risk of getting infected by other people’s urine, so exercise caution when using urine in your compost heap or bin.
To use urine safely, it is essential to avoid fecal contamination. While pee is almost always sterile, feces contain potentially harmful pathogens.
Be sure to obtain a stream of urine that is 100% pure by peeing in a plastic bottle. Urine from a composting toilet runs the risk of contamination.
Here are some tips for mitigating most of the above risks if you decide to use urine in your compost and garden:
- Fresh urine should be used. If urine is kept around, it quickly becomes stale, grows pathogens, and develops an odor. Urine should be discarded or stabilized if it cannot be used within a day. If adding urine to your garden directly, it’s best to add diluted urine, not straight urine, as too much urine can burn your plants in the same way as adding too much chemical fertilizer does.
- Please don’t overdo it on salt. They don’t need a ton of salt in their diet either.
- Moderation is key. A little bit’s good, but too much isn’t. Most of the drawbacks can be avoided by only peeing on your pile or adding pee to your garden occasionally.
- Make sure you don’t add it directly to plants. Urine’s high nitrogen content can burn most plants. Before it can be used effectively, it has to age and dilute.
Is Urine Green or Brown Material?
In compost, urine counts as a green material because it is organic matter high in nitrogen.
Every compost needs both green and brown matter to succeed, so if you have too much brown matter, human urine may be helpful to get the carbon to nitrogen levels balanced correctly.
How to Compost pee
Composting urine is easy. Because it’s high in nitrogen, it counts as a “green” in compost and shouldn’t be added to a compost bin already high in nitrogen.
Make sure you add plenty of carbon-rich materials, like dry leaves, sawdust, straw, and cardboard. To start the decomposition process, you can add urine to a pile of leaves.
A straw bale bathroom lets you urinate directly on the straw until it decomposes, and the compost can then be added to your compost pile or directly into the garden.
How to use compost with human urine
The secret to safely using compost with human urine is to ensure the compost is aged. Then, once the composting process is finished, you can add it to your garden without concern.
However, when adding compost with urine to your vegetable garden, wait a month before eating the crops just to be safe.
Veggies benefit from this type of compost, but since it contains human waste, it is best to give it some time before harvesting the edibles.