Are We Giving Crap a Bum Rap?
‘WE HAVE TO LOOK AT WASTE AS A RESOURCE,’ PROF SAYS
As Don Mavinic takes a sip of hot tea, he mulls over a question that’s been around since the first human ran behind a nearby bush to pee.
How can you possibly turn that into a business?
Soon enough, many of the basic elements of Mavinic’s morning drink, along with whatever he grabbed for breakfast, will be flushed away.
The best that’s often done in Canada, after ringing the toilet bowl, is it’s cleaned up a bit before being jettisoned down a river or into a harbour.
But is Canada wasting all that waste? Have we been giving crap a bum rap?
Mavinic, a civil engineering professor at the University of British Columbia thinks so, and so do a growing list of experts pondering the future of our feces.
“We have to look at waste as a resource,” says Mavinic, who ten years ago came up with a way to get rid of a bothersome and expensive precipitate that clogs the pipes of most wastewater treatment plants.
Instead, the solid crud, called struvite, was mined for important nutrients plants need to grow, including phosphorous — which is a non-renewable mined resource.
What were once the dregs of the dregs became an environmentally safe and slow-release fertilizer. Five years ago, it all turned into Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies Inc., a company that lists Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on the board of directors.
The technology is now being used in Edmonton, Portland, Oregon, York, Pennsylvania and only recently in Suffolk, Virginia.
Read the full story at www.torontosun.com