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The Rich Earth Institute turns human urine into fertilizer. This pioneering work supports sustainable agriculture and protects vital water resources. Learn More

Our Vision

A world with clean water and fertile soil achieved by reclaiming the nutrients from our bodies as elements in a life sustaining cycle.

Our Mission

The Rich Earth Institute engages in research, education and technological innovation to advance the use of human waste as a resource.

Through research, demonstration, and education projects, we strive to illustrate the positive effect of this approach in important areas including water quality, food security, energy use, soil health, economic sustainability, carbon footprint, public health, and emergency preparedness.

We seek to bring together the knowledge of many disciplines and professions in order to create workable solutions. For this reason, the various perspectives of sanitary engineers, farmers, water quality advocates, businesspeople, agricultural scientists, and regulators are all represented among our board members and collaborators.

The Institute was founded in 2011, and is developing quickly. Since 2012 we ha

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Meet some of our urine donors at the depot and learn more about our ongoing pharmaceutical research funded by the EPA.

The Facts

9 billion pounds

Amount of chemical fertilizer that could be replaced with the urine Americans produce each year.

320 pounds

Amount of wheat that could be grown in a year with the fertilizer from one adult’s urine.

125 gallons

Approximate volume of urine an adult produces each year.

More than 15,000

Water bodies in the US impaired due to nitrogen and phosphorous pollution.

80 percent

Portion of the nitrogen and phosphorous pollution in wastewater caused by human waste.

1.2 trillion gallons

Amount of drinkable water we use each year to flush toilets.

4000 gallons

Amount of water you could save per year by diverting urine for fertilizer.

270 percent

Increase in phosphorus fertilizer price between 1993 and 2013.

Our Work



The Rich Earth Institute conducts original research in collaboration with academic and industry leaders, examining the safety and efficacy of using urine-derived fertilizers in agriculture.

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Rich Earth volunteers marching in the Strolling of the Heifers

The Rich Earth Institute has an extensive outreach agenda, educating diverse stakeholders on the science and technology behind this new approach to sanitation.

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Urine recycling does not yet have an established regulatory pathway. The Rich Earth Institute collaborates with regulators at the state and national level to develop new policies, codes, and rules to govern urine based on its unique characteristics.

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UD Summit

2017 Summit Participants

The Rich Earth holds an annual gathering to advance urine recycling through connection and collaboration. A growing national team of experts is building momentum in this emerging field of study […]

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Latest News



Written by richearth. Posted on November 1st, 2017

Kim spent some time on Skype with these amazing students from Michigan. Please read their guest blog post and watch their video… Hi! We’re the Biozoners (Andrew, Annabelle, Jack, Johanna, […]

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