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Human Waste as Fertilizer

Hello everyone, this article just came out today and it has my friends asking, “why don’t we use human feces to fertilize our plants?”. Personally, I was informed by my awesome niece last year not to buy Garlic from China because they grow it in human poop!

People are asking why not? Well … anyone know why not if the human were on no meds and ate organically vegetarian? Is the chemical make up of our feces different from herbivores due to gut bacteria and acid? I think so but I don’t know.

I thought this would be a good place to start a convo about it!!


I wouldn’t use human fecal matter directly. As the article highlights, this is an easy way to spread diseases. Feces are a great microbial incubator, and there is an ample chance for whatever is in that fecal matter to also get on the plant. Cholera, most famously originated from human sewage. Even if you ate organically and weren’t on meds, diseases can still rapidly spread through human fecal matter.

That said, composting with proper temperature controls (as the article suggested) could make human waste feasible as a fertilizer without much risk of disease. Good temperature design and microbes in the compost will kill the most harmful stuff.

Graywater (water without feces in it) can be useful in growing situations as long as you know what’s in it. Urine, for example, is generally sterile when it comes out of the human body. That said, it’s also high in salts, which might make it inappropriate for gardening unless diluted.

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Reminds me of the movie The Martian:


I recommend looking at Rich Earth Institute - they are doing deep research into use of human urine for crop fertilizer.


I knew a grower who used to urinate on his compost and then let it merry. But he’d only do it when he was eating completely clean and on no meds.

Urine Therapy is a thing in India after all.

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