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Liquid Gold
The Lore and Logic of Using Urine to Grow Plants

by Carol Steinfeld Illustrations by Malcolm Wells
5.25 x 8.25 • 96 pages
Many illustrations and photographs
Color cover, black and white and color pages
ISBN: 0-9666783-1-1


It's a golden opportunity.

Every day, we urinate nutrients that can fertilize plants that could be used for beautiful landscapes, food, fuel, and fiber. Instead, these nutrients are flushed away, either to be treated at high cost or discharged to waters where they overfertilize and choke off aquatic life.

Liquid Gold: The Lore and Logic of Using Urine to Grow Plants tells you how urine—which contains most of the nutrients in domestic wastewater and usually carries no disease risk—can be utilized as a resource. Starting with a short history of urine use—from ritual to medicinal to even culinary—and a look at some unexpected urinals, Liquid Gold shows how urine is used worldwide to grow food and landscapes, while protecting the environment, saving its users the cost of fertilizer, and reconnecting people to the land and the nutrient cycles that sustain them. That's real flower power!

Liquid Gold details three ways to use urine hygienically and productively for plant growth, with studies that show the science behind this practice. Several advocates of urine diversion and their gardens are profiled, demonstrating that using urine for fertilizer is a feasible, safe, and cost-saving way to prevent pollution and save on fertilizer costs.

Whimsical drawings by Malcolm Wells (world-renowned architect, artist, and author of several books, including The Earth-Sheltered Home, Classic Architectural Birdhouses, Recovering America, InfraStructures, and How to Build an Underground House) throughout the book make this a must for every bathroom library, a great gift for gardeners (and anyone who urinates), and an enlightening problem-solver for environmental planners dealing with the nutrient pollution of water.

Author Carol Steinfeld is projects director for Ecowater Projects, a nonprofit project that informs the public about ecological wastewater management solutions. She is the co-author of The Composting Toilet System Book and Reusing the Resource: Adventures in Ecological Wastewater Recycling. Her articles have appeared in The Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, and Natural Home Magazine.