(NPR) — Let me guess how you feel about your urine: Get that smelly stuff away from me as fast as possible?
A small group of environmentalists in Vermont isn't as squeamish. Instead of flushing their pee down the drain, they're collecting it with special toilets that separate No. 1 and No. 2.
Then they're pooling the urine of the 170 volunteers in the pilot project (a quart or so, per person, daily) and eventually giving it to a farmer, who's putting it on her hay fields in place of synthetic fertilizer. The goal is to collect 6,000 gallons this year.
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The logic driving this avant-garde project of the , based in Brattleboro, Vt., is that it's foolish and wasteful to part with the precious nitrogen and phosphorus that moves from the food we eat right through us — especially when farmers have to buy fertilizer at great expense to put those very same nutrients back into the soil.