You may know that you can earn $13,000 a year selling your own feces, but now it seems that the U.S. government stands to make bank on your solid waste, as well. According to new research presented at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society, the itty-bitty particles of gold, lead, copper and other valuable metals found in biosolids (which you probably just call poop) could be worth “mining.”Put your tiny pick-ax away and flush the toilet: It’s not that simple. Led by Kathleen Smith of the U.S. Geological Survey, the team of researchers initially set out to find better ways of extracting foreign particles from human waste. They weren’t looking to mine that silver and gold, but rather to toss it out. Once human waste is treated, about half of it (3.5 million tons, in the United States) is used to fertilize farms and forests across the country. The primary goal is to get metals — which get into our waste by way of their presence in cleaning agents, beauty and hygiene products, and clothing — out of this fertilizer end-product to keep them from impeding its usefulness.
Who’s the crazy one for keeping all our poops in jars now, DAD?! But seriously, who knew that we were literally flushing gold and other precious metals down the toilet every day? As someone who is barely tiptoeing over the poverty line this is just a real punch in the colon.
My main question is who are these weirdos sifting through loaf after loaf of peoples droppings? There are scientists out there who have dedicated their lives to studying a disgusting albeit hilarious topic. Maybe these guys checked the wrong box on the scientist form that must exist somewhere. (I don’t really know how scientisting works)
The big winners here? People who own porta-potty rental companies. They are getting it coming and going. Just a bunch of stinking-rich poopsmiths.
PS- I was going to make a Tywin Lannister joke before I remembered that most people aren’t reading the billions of pages that George RR Martin churns out. Don’t worry I already gave myself a wet-willy.