‘From Piss to Pilsner’ recycles urine to make beer
Under a cloudless sky, shirtless Vikings with plastic cups of beer in hand are queuing excitedly along a patch of sawdust-covered earth to urinate in a metal trough. Their “contributions” are being collected in specially designed storage tanks, which will then be transported to nearby fields to fertilize malting barley for brewing beer.
An estimated 100,000 visitors to the Roskilde Festival in Denmark this summer had the unusual opportunity to recycle their urine into beer. “From Piss to Pilsner” hopes to ignite a new movement called beercycling, transforming 25,000 liters of festivalgoers’ pee into kegs of frothy beer. The collected urine will be used to fertilize beer’s building block–barley.
Beer served at The Sinking Ships stall at the Roskilde festival in Denmark. Punters in 2017 could sup lager made with the help of urine from this year’s attendees. Photograph: Torben Christensen
In a partnership with the Danish Agriculture and Food Council, the Roskilde Festival organizers decided that saving the thousands of liters of visitors’ pee was a golden opportunity. Each year, waste from the festival weighs heavily on the local environment, and on the small town’s sewage system and treatment plant. In order to alleviate this impact, the DAFC wanted to come up with a way to recycle, rather than treat, the waste from this year’s festival attendees.
Recycling bags stacked in front of a refund stand at the camping area of Roskilde. The festival already prides itself on its green culture.
Thinking outside the box, the DAFC came up with “beercycling.” All over the festival grounds, guests were asked to “donate” their urine in well-appointed troughs for men and “she-wees” for the ladies, a sort of funnel that directs urine to its target. The collected urine will be transferred to local farmers, who will use it to fertilize their barley fields. The program will not only help the local water table, but will also encourage festivalgoers to use urinals, rather than peeing on the lawns.
Visitors will then be able to reap the fruits of their labor, and test out their special brew beer in 2017.