Making King’s Day More Sustainable

Margherita Olivo
April 26th 2016

On the 27th of April, The Netherlands celebrates the birthday of the king Willem-Alexander. This holiday is called King's Day, or Koningsdag in Dutch. Everyone wears orange clothing, tourists invade Amsterdam, people set up stalls to sell second-hand goods, boats parade in the canals, but beer-drinking remains the main activity of the day - with everything that entails. Between 600.000 and a million visitors are expected in the Dutch capital and local authorities developed a strategy to make this annual street-party more environmentally friendly.

The local water board is inviting male visitors to urinate in specific locations, in order to collect their body waste and use it as fertilizer. Their hope is to collect 25.000 liters, which can be then distilled to extract phosphate. Human's urine is free from bacteria, in fact it's only after 24 hours that the urea turns into ammonia. It is one of the most excellent sources of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium that help plants and crops to grow more quickly.

“We want to show what terms like ‘sustainability’ and ‘a circular economy’ really mean” city alderman Abdeluheb Choho told to the Dutch newspaper Het Parool. This is not the first time that Amsterdam tries to collect urine to turn it into fertiliser. A similar project took place during last summer’s Sail event. On that occasion, they manage to collect only 5.000 liters of liquid, despite the 10.000 planned by the organizers. Let's hope this time they will get better results!

Source: Het Parool. Image: Fest300

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