If you like drinking pee, you're going to love the Roskilde music festival. The Danish celebration of rock and roll recently launched a program that recycles festival-goers' urine in order to make beer. It's not as gross as it sounds.
While it's natural to assume that turning piss into beer would involve converting the wastewater into clean water to brew the beer, that's not what the industrious Danes are doing. With the help of the Danish Agriculture and Food Council, the Roskilde Festival is catching people's pee in special storage tanks and then sending it to nearby farms, where it will be used to fertilize barley. From that grain, beer for the 2017 festival will be brewed.
"Beercycling is about changing our approach to waste, from being a burden to being a valuable resource," said the DAFC's Leif Nielsen in a statement. "Today, the huge amount of urine produced at the festival is having a negative impact on the environment and the sewage system and treatment plant in Roskilde. Beercycling will turn those many litres of urine into a resource."
If you think that sounds bad, definitely don't go to Oregon. A wastewater treatment company in Portland has been trying to get a local brewery to turn actual piss into beer — not just using it as fertiliser but purifying wastewater that contains human pee. Drinking toilet water is one thing, but purifying urine in order to make a tasty beverage is a bit much. In fact, it's against the law in Oregon — for now. You know those wacky Portlandians will do anything for sustainability.
It's a noble goal. That said, when you're heading to a cool music festival with your friends from college and an irresponsible amount of molly, "Beercycling" is probably not the activity you're anticipating. It's not as gross as it sounds, but it's still pretty gross.