The Potential of Human Waste: SOIL Featured in Newswise

Compost team pictured with SOIL’s organic, agriculture-grade compost made from human waste.

Our world creates an enormous amount of waste, and that waste exists in many, many different forms. There’s food waste, liquid waste, hazardous waste, solid waste, and what we at SOIL care most about, human waste. A recent article published in Newswise, titled (Human) waste not, want not, highlights the topics discussed in a presentation by Rebecca Nelson, Cornell University, at the 2021 ASA, CSSA and SSSA Annual Meeting on a new vision for the reuse of human waste. Nelson, a plant pathologist, shares a sentiment on the incredible and largely untapped potential for a circular bionutrient economy and the positive impacts this could have on greenhouse gas reduction.  In fact, SOIL’s regenerative circular-economy sanitation solution was mentioned in the discussion!  

“There is a big opportunity to solve a raft of problems, from water pollution to food insecurity to lack of sanitation, through the recycling of nutrients in human excreta,” -Rebecca Nelson, Cornell University  

The presentation and article address the correlation between poorer countries, like Haiti, and lack of access to adequate sanitation, which threatens public health and livelihoods. At the same time, Nelson discusses the consequences of climate change and the ways in which human waste, both liquid and solid, can act as a remedy and help improve soil health.  

“Climate change causes many problems, including floods and droughts. In many parts of the world, soils are depleted of nutrients and organic matter. Poor soil causes plant stress, which lowers yields and makes crops more prone to disease. We have an opportunity,” says Nelson. “We can recognize human excreta not only as a problem, but also as a resource and an opportunity to reduce greenhouse gases.”    

For us, at SOIL, human waste isn’t waste at all; it’s sustainability, it’s nutrients, it’s ecological power, and it’s the future! We are grateful to Newswise and Nelson for highlighting our work and raising awareness on the immense power of human waste. If we truly want to create a better future for people and the planet, we need to rethink world views around human waste and tap into this abundant and beneficial resource! Check out the full article here.      

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