Urine compost accelerator – really?!

  • Date: May 14, 2022

Composting can be a long process. Depending on the waste items you want to breakdown it can take months or even years. Luckily, this process can be sped up with the introduction of different substances. These are known as compost accelerators or activators and are available commercially or can be homemade. Urine compost accelerator is one of the most popular. Being free and readily available, what’s not to like?! Here we will look at the reasons why urine (from humans or pets) make a great compost accelerator and some of the logistics…

What is in human urine?

The main component of urine is water – it accounts for approximately 95 percent of your average human pee. It also contains a decent amount of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium – amongst many other components. It actually has been found to contain up to 3000 metabolites.

Is urine good for compost?

As well as other uses in the garden, such as repelling some animals, urine makes a wonderful addition to the compost pile. It is not referred to as ‘liquid gold’ for nothing! 

Urine is such a good compost accelerator as it gives the compost a nitrogen boost. This is, generally, the basis for compost activators/accelerators. As well as speeding up the process it also makes the resulting compost even more rich in nutrients.

Is urine ‘green’ or ‘brown’ compost ingredient?

Urine is classed as a ‘green’ composting material due to its high level of nitrogen, as opposed to a ‘brown’ composting material (such as twigs and leaves) which add carbon into the mixture. If your compost pile/bin is already particularly rich in other ‘green’ ingredients such as food scraps or grass clippings hold back on the urine for a while. It may be better to add more brown materials in this instance such as twigs or sawdust. As with adding anything to your pile it is not an exact science – trial and error will be required. But do try and adhere to the green to brown ratio as much as possible to keep your pile healthy. If you are new to composting there is some beginners info here.

How often should I pee on compost?

Keeping your compost pile the right level of moist is really important. Too wet and it could end up pretty smelly. Too dry and an ant infestation could occur. There is no exact amount of urine that you can add – it depends largely on your pile and what is in it. Ensure that you monitor the moisture regularly and you can pee on the compost accordingly.

Well hydrated compost should be the consistency of a wrung-out sponge. Grab a handful (make sure you have gloves on – especially important due to what we are adding to this particular pile…) and give it a squeeze. If it does not ooze water, or have a crumbly texture you should be on the right track. If you are new to composting, it might take a while to know exactly what you are looking for – but with some practice and experience it will come!

Should I dilute the urine for the compost pile?

There is no need to dilute the urine for the compost pile – simply add it in its original form. Either directly or collect it in a container. However, if you are adding urine directly to the soil make sure that you dilute it. Urine will vary in concentration due to different factors such as dehydration and time of day but the ratio of 10 parts water to one part urine is often recommended.

Can dog urine be used in compost?

Dog poop needs to be treated very carefully when it comes to composting – the pathogens it contains means that extra precautions need to be taken. The same does not apply to dog urine though – add it to the compost pile much like human urine. Good luck collecting the urine though…

Things to consider when adding urine to compost

If you have a urinary tract infection you may want to avoid adding your urine to the compost pile to avoid unwanted bacteria being added. Also, metabolites of some medications can be found in your urine – if you are on any meds you may need to do a bit of further research! As mentioned, feces contain pathogens that you don’t want in your compost pile. Be careful to avoid any contamination.

The bottom line

Human urine, and that of your pets, can be added to the compost pile. The high level of nitrogen it contains makes it an excellent compost accelerator. Diluted and put straight amongst the plants or undiluted in the compost pile, it will give your garden a boost. It costs nothing, and you will reduce the water you use in your garden and use less chemicals as a result. Wins all round! Good luck!