Take the POOP Nutrient Challenge and get paid $30K for your crappy ideas! The EPA, along with Ben & Jerry’s, the USDA, and a host of other heavyweights have launched a competition for craptastic concepts to deal with the dung overtaking our planet.
Want to be a part of an exciting opportunity to save the planet, feed the world, and make some cash? Want to get in on the ground floor of a revolutionary re-imagining of epic proportions? Are you a problem-solver with earth-shattering-innovations to offer? Then answer the call of the Nutrient Recycling Challenge $30K giveaway, brought to you by such movers and shakers as the EPA, USDA, WWF, NMPF, WERF, ASABE…FHJASNk-dkaj……AND BEN & JERRY’s ice cream!!
I know! I’m excited too!
What’s that you say? What IS nutrient recycling? Well, let me tell you! It’s… it’s…
If there’s one sure constant in this world, it’s that everyone poops. And while discussion of poo is a social taboo (couldn’t help myself) and some people act like theirs doesn’t stink—a sure sign they’re full of it—the biggest deuce denial of all is that surrounding the most monumental poo-producers of all time: farmed animals.
In the United States, for example—which is surprisingly not number one in number two—it is estimated that livestock animals produce 130 times more waste than the human population—almost 1.4 billion tons [1.2–1.37]. That comes out to roughly 5 tons of farmed animal waste per U.S. citizen.
With animal excrement piling up in the U.S. alone at an alarming-yet impressive rate of 116,000 lbs/sec, [52,616.715kg] meaning 7 million pounds/minute [tweet this] [3,175,146.6kg], it’s safe to say we’re a bit up the proverbial creek without a paddle.
This astronomical amount of toxic waste is 100 times more concentrated than raw human sewage and more than 500 times more concentrated than treated human sewage, making it important to note that no treatment facilities exist nor are required for livestock waste.
The greatest offenders of all are pig and dairy farms, with a 2,500-head dairy cattle operation producing a waste load similar to a city of 61,000 people, and the 35.1 million pigs slaughtered in 2015 by a single pork producer, Smithfield Farms, accounting for a very conservative estimate of 95.2 billion pounds [95,191,200,000lb / 43,178,002,011.144 kg] pounds of pig poo. Check out this video post for a showcase of Smithfield shoveling it on pretty thick with their public relations pork propaganda.
But where you may see a devastating health hazard of ground water contamination, air pollution, and antibiotic-resistant-pathogen proliferation, causing everything from respiratory illnesses to decreased lung function, to cardiovascular ailments and even premature death, or perhaps an environmental nightmare of nitrogen-flooded ocean dead zones, habitat destruction, and decimation of streams, tributaries, and wetlands,  the Environmental Protection Agency and its crew of—shockingly—pig and dairy farmers see opportunity!
See, it’s not toxic waste, it’s “animal manure containing valuable nutrients.”
It’s not a mounting global crisis, it’s “a tremendous opportunity to generate environmental and economic benefits from manure.”
And it’s definitely not about the legal trouble industry leaders face with repeat violations of the Clean Water or Clean Air Acts, because obviously they’re launching this exciting challenge together with the EPA and USDA, the very organizations charged with regulating their illegal activities.  So obviously, everything’s great!
They’re not irresponsible entities pawning off their problems, they’re “the Seekers.”
And you’re not doing their job for them at a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of their salaries, you have the honor of being a “Solver.”
(Thank goodness for euphemisms, the potpourri of vocabulary, perfect for masking the smell of impropriety!)
And certainly don’t worry about the fact that this miraculous manure—or nutrient goldmine, as it were—is typically a completely unbalanced fertilizer for plants, containing far too much phosphorous.
And most of all, don’t be intimidated by the enormity of the problem, nor the fact that it long ago hit the proverbial fan.
All you have to do is suggest something better than the current system. Which is basically storing slurry in giant swimming pools of sewage called lagoons before literally launching it straight up into the air in glorious fecal fountains that put Las Vegas to shame and shower local residents with a refreshing mist of eau de poo. [tweet this] In other words, the bar is low.
While phase I of submissions has already passed, the implementation of the lucky winners is yet to come. So hold onto the edge of your toilet seat—I know I will—to see where the excitement will lead!
While the United States is the only country I’m aware of that’s created an official challenge for dealing with it’s crap [tweet this]—which is, after all, the American way given our obsession with reality TV—yet another unstoppable influx of sh-ining examples of brilliant entertainment!—before you lay the stink of the world at America’s back door, it’s important to note that this is a global issue.
From the gut of Germany, through the intestines of India, and fecal channels of China, into the bowels of Brazil, past the colon of Columbia, to the nether regions of the Netherlands, and out the anus of America, animals are everywhere—and every one of them poops.
Now if you think this is just some craptastic video that I’m pulling out of my—well, y’know—rest assured that I’m nothing if not anal about my fecal facts.
Because regardless of the brevity of this bowel-movement-homage, I spent many hours performing a virtual investigative colonoscopy on the waste management world to ensure this sh-ow was tight. [this video & post took approximately 58+ hours to produce]
I’d encourage you to check out the mountain of shi-mmering citations and resources below! And if you want to help me make more quality crap, check out the support page.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this steaming pile of a project proposal in the comments below. Just dump em’ right down there. Really let it all go.
If you liked this admittedly corny nugget (okay that’s a bit much), give the video a thumbs up and spread it around with the fury of the factory farm fecal fountains themselves!
Now go live vegan, call the industry on it’s—you know by now—and I’ll see you soon!
— Emily Moran Barwick